Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held a news conference on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 to update on the COVID-19 pandemic.
SEE VIDEO BELOW.
Hutchinson stated that he was just on a call with Vice President Mike Pence, and relayed that he felt confident that when Arkansas needs ventilators, we will have ventilators. Dr. Deborah Birx, the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy joined the conference call and said she is delighted with what Arkansas has done with social distancing and restrictions in place, and the success in flattening the curve. The Governor said he asked Dr. Birx to help with modeling and Arkansas will be submitting data to them.
The Governor stated there have been 65 tests done by UAMS in the past day, along with 147 tests by the Arkansas Department of Health and 691 tests by commercial labs, totaling 903 tests.
He also announced a partnership between the State, Walmart, and Quest Laboratories to initiate a pilot project for a drive-thru testing facility in Benton County that will be focusing on first responders and healthcare workers who show symptoms. If this project goes well, they hope to expand it to the whole state.
Regarding parks, the Governor stated that social distancing continues to be an issue. Therefore, beginning Friday, April 3rd, state parks will limit use to day trips only with no overnight use. Also, when the parking lots are full, the parks will be closing the gates where possible and those parking outside the gate are subject to getting a citation. Park Rangers will have the authority to enforce these restrictions.
Some problematic trails will be closed. Specifically, Big Cedar trail at Petit Jean State Park and the East and West Summit trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
At Buffalo River National Park the Governor stated about 60% of the visitors are from out of state. He will be recommending to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to closed through this emergency.
Dr. Nate Smith, State Secretary of Arkansas Department of Health listed the current statistics for COVID-19 patients below:
- 7124 tests processed in Arkansas to date
- 584 cases total
- 10 deaths
- 56 hospitalized
- 25 currently on a ventilator
- 42 recovered
- 50 diabetic
- 40 heart disease
- 26 lung disease
- 12 kidney disease
- 1 liver disease
- 18 immuno-compromised
- 84 healthcare workers
- 51 in nursing homes