Day 39 – Sun. Apr. 19, 2020
Here are some Key Notes, Statistics, and Video for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s news update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Hutchinson welcomed Dr. Nate Smith, the Secretary of Health, and Dexter Payne, Director of Corrections. The Governor displayed two charts – the first shows the new daily cases. The last 3 days of the chart show detail with numbers of cases from Cummins state prison. The second chart shows the daily number of hospitalized patients.
The Governor stated that Secretary Kelly and Director Payne have been working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and tested almost 1,400 inmates at Cummins state prison. using the AEL labs in Memphis, 634 test results have been returned so far, and 348 of the results returned are positive. They are waiting on the rest of the results.
“The number that we will have coming out of Cummins dwarfs what we’re having statewide,” stated the Governor. he also said that once inmates have been tested, they are separated into different barracks. There are currently 8 barracks for positive cases, and seven barracks for those who tested negative. “Almost all are asymptomatic – only three have been hospitalized.”
Hutchinson stated that he has been looking at whether compassionate release might be an option for some inmates. “these inmates are there for a reason. There’s public health concerns but there’s also public safety concerns.”
He stated that the parole board has taken action over the last couple of weeks, looking at the larger prison population. He used the example that 271 certain inmates have been released from the state’s county jails. One inmate has been released who is over 70 and has health conditions. Those in maximum-security aren’t being considered for release. However, the Governor has asked for a review of all offenders that meet the following criteria:
- Not a sex offender
- Due for release in the next 6 months.
The Governor said 1,990 inmates fit that criteria. He said it’s important to make space so the inmates can be separated.
At Cummins State prison, there are currently 348 inmates and 6 staff members with a positive test result. 16 staff members have been tested and most were tested by their own physician, according to Director Payne.
Payne reiterated that nearly 1,400 Cummins inmates have been tested. There are others housed outside the main area and they won’t be tested unless there is evidence of symptoms, according to Payne.
He stated that the prisons are also reviewing their inmate roster for those with chronicle illness, and some of those may possibly be released. “if we do have an inmate who is positive and he is approved for parole or discharge, we will not be releasing that person with that positive test.” He continued, “So those that have discharged, we will probably be holding up to 3 days past their discharge date if they tested positive for COVID-19.”
Also, the parole board is going to review the inmates that have one year denials and check their program sanctions to see if there’s anything they can do to help with that population.
In response to a reporter’s question, director of pain stated that the staff in the covid-19 barracks are the emergency response team and they have special equipment and are trained for the situation.
Dr. Smith said that the death of the healthcare worker was from Jefferson Regional Medical Center, and it was part of the first cluster of cases we knew about in Arkansas. The person was under the age of 65.
Dr. Nate Smith, State Secretary of Health listed the current statistics for COVID-19 patients below:
- 1781 cases up by 42
- 88 hospitalized up by 2
- 25 on a ventilator up by 3
- 40 deaths up by 2
- 1 nursing home resident, under 65
- 1 healthcare worker, under 65
- 721 recovered up by 18
- 1020 active cases
- 60% Caucasian
- 29% African American
- 4% Hispanic
- .2% Pacific islander
- 3% other
- 5% missing info
- Underlying Conditions
- 197 diabetes
- 126 heart disease
- 77 lung disease
- 128 nursing home residents up by 3
- 237 healthcare workers up by 1
- 115 healthcare workers recovered
Statistics for Saline County as of the end of the day yesterday were:
- 43 Positive Tests (up 2)
- 500 Negative Tests (up 1)
- 23 Recovered Patients (up 1)
- 1 Death
The link for the entire state is: https://adem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f533ac8a8b6040e5896b05b47b17a647
The link for the United States is: