1,047 active cases, which discounts recoveries and deaths
83 COVID-19 patients in the hospital (up two)
26 patients currently on a ventilator (down three)
33 COVID-19-related deaths (up one)
215 healthcare workers with COVID-19 (up nine)
Dr. Nate Smith shared that the testing capacity is being expanded to include criteria allowing a test for anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Previously, some symptomatic individuals may have been declined a test, but capacity has increased at the ADH Public Health Lab and especially from the commercial sector. Because of the previous limitations, tests were restricted to include high-risk populations, those who have had contact with someone who has tested positive or those with a travel history that puts them more at risk. Smith and Hutchinson both hope this increase in testing will provide a clearer picture of where Arkansas is in terms of mitigating this pandemic.
Hutchinson also announced that the state received approval from Medicaid Services in Washington to start direct bonus payments for certain healthcare workers. “This is extraordinarily good news for those that have been on the front lines, that have been putting themselves at risk, that have shown their commitment to healthcare during this natural emergency,” Hutchinson said. Payments will be backdated to April 5, and will proceed through May 30, with a possible extension based on the status of the pandemic. This will benefit workers both in public and private healthcare facilities. More information will be made available on April 15 following the press conference at the Governor’s COVID-19 updates website.