Arkansas COVID-19 cases up 189 to 2,465

(04/23/20)  Arkansas COVID-19 cases up 189 to 2,465  At Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 press conference, the following updates as of 1:30 p.m. were shared:

  • 2,465 total confirmed cases (up 189 from 2,276 on April 22)
  • 109 confirmed cases in Garland County (from the ADH COVID-19 status page)
  • 101 COVID-19 patients in the hospital (up 4)
  • 24 patients currently on a ventilator (up one)
  • 45 COVID-19-related deaths (up three)
  • 174 cases in nursing homes (up 4); 31 facilities with active cases

Of the 189 new cases, 122 of them are from the Cummins State Prison and 67 are from the statewide community, but also include some staff at Cummins. The updated total at Cummins includes 687 inmates and 35 staff.

Gov. Hutchinson announced a two-day campaign to encourage Arkansas residents to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – fever, cough or shortness of breath. The effort, called Arkansas Surge Campaign, has a goal to maximize the state’s current capacity of testing and to meet 1,500 tests each of the next two days.

There are five drive-thru COVID-19 evaluation/testing locations in Garland County:

  • 1629 Airport Road (Garland County)
  • 4419 Highway 7 North (Hot Springs Village)
  • 124 Hollywood Avenue (Hot Springs)
  • 100 McGowan Court (Hot Springs)
  • 4517 Park Avenue (Garland County)

The campaign comes after the initial meeting of the governor’s advisory group on testing strategies in Arkansas. They also provided an initial report with four recommended strategies that the governor accepted. They include expanding testing for all patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and those with potential exposure, expanding testing for contact investigations, screening for the virus in high-risk settings and to develop a strategy for statewide antibody testing.

Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of UAMS, said that antibody testing, over the long term, may be the single most important piece of screening information that we can develop to ensure we understand how we can mitigate this pandemic and to prevent a big second bump next fall when the respiratory season reappears. He said two current barriers are that the current antibody tests are not as sensitive or reliable as they would like them to be and that we do not know enough biologically about the COVID-19 infection. For instance, we do not know if someone who has been infected could be re-infected. 

In Hot Springs, the April Solid Waste Spring Fling cleanup event originally scheduled for Saturday, April 25, has been cancelled due to COVID-19. It will be tentatively rescheduled for the fall.