Statewide cases up 50 to 523

(03/31/20) Statewide cases up 50 to 523  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: 523. This total is up 50 from yesterday’s number of 473. Today’s number of cases in Garland County is 31.

Among the statewide total of 523, there are 17 children (ages 18 and younger), 348 adults (ages 19-64) and 158 older adults (ages 65 and above). There was an additional death of an individual, who was stated to be in the older adult group. The number of healthcare workers who have tested positive is up six from yesterday to a total of 79. There are two additional current coronavirus patients on ventilators, bringing the current number to 23. A total of 35 have recovered.

Hutchinson showed the graph of projected cases moving forward to mid-April with a line showing actual cases up through yesterday, and the actual case line is trending lower than the projection. Hutchinson credited this trend with Arkansans being self-disciplined and following guidelines of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), which he said will save lives and get us out of this crisis and back to normal much quicker.

Hutchinson has been made aware of out-of-state visitors coming to Arkansas to continue to enjoy our state and national parks. This has become an issue as many are coming from areas considered to be hot spots of the coronavirus. He and his team are looking at ways to curtail these recreational out-of-state travelers, which may include the temporary closure of popular parks.

Hutchinson has authorized 40 additional Air and Army National Guard representatives to be activated to assist. Dr. Nate Smith, ADH director, said the National Guard has been helping to coordinate additional hospital beds to increase the state’s capacity, should it be needed.

Smith outlined how long quarantine should be, either for those who have tested positive or those who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. For those with a positive test and mild to moderate symptoms (not requiring hospitalization), a standard quarantine would be seven days past the onset of symptoms and at least three days without a fever. For those who have been exposed, the home quarantine time period is 14 days, as that is the incubation period for COVID-19. If no symptoms are present at that time, it is safe to return to work.

Hutchinson shared that he declared the Arkansas a Major Disaster State, and he expects a quick response in funding support from the federal government. He reported that there have been more than 300,000 unemployment claims to date. The next update in unemployment figures will be available this weekend.  He also has signed an executive order allowing notaries and wills to be completed through audio and visual means, rather than the standard in-person requirement.