Statewide cases at 584, up 61

(04/01/20) Statewide cases at 584, up 61  At Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 press conference, updates were given regarding the crisis that included the state’s current total number of cases: 584. This total is up 61 from yesterday’s number of 523. Today’s number of cases in Garland County was not available at the time of the press conference as the state’s GIS online COVID-19 map had not been updated.

Among the statewide total of 523, there are 18 children (ages 18 and younger), 396 adults (ages 19-64) and 170 older adults (ages 65 and above). There were an additional two deaths from COVID-19, and both were stated to be in the older adult group. The number of healthcare workers who have tested positive is up five from yesterday to a total of 84. There are two additional current coronavirus patients on ventilators, bringing the current number to 25. A total of 42 have recovered.

Dr. Nate Smith shared that lab testing was scaled up yesterday as the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) processed 147 – their highest single-day output. The total number tested in the past 24 hours in Arkansas, including ADH, UAMS and private labs, was 903. The total tested up to date in Arkansas is just over 7,000. “We are making progress, but are obviously still not where we want to be to really get a good picture of where we are in the state,” said Smith.

Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, shared that three additional measures are being taken to mitigate the spread and flatten the curve: state parks are going to day use only, effective Friday, April 3; parking will be restricted to authorized parking areas; and three popular trails are being closed – Cedar Falls Trail at Petit Jean State Park and the East and West Summit trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Hutchinson has recommended to the Secretary of the Interior that Buffalo River National Park be closed until it is safe to reopen. Approximately 60% of visitors there yesterday were from out of state.

Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, asked that those needing unemployment assistance who are self-employed, contract labor and others is this category to wait until further instructions arrive from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding how to process such claims with regards to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. He hopes to have the needed information by the end of the week. He acknowledged all the staff whose unemployment claim workflow has increased from an average of 1,000 a week to the sudden surge of around 30,000 a week.