Day 41 – Tue. Apr. 21, 2020
Here are some Key Notes, Statistics, and Video for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s news update on the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor welcomed Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Cabinet Secretary of Health and Steuart Walton, entrepreneur and Chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force.
The Governor displayed several graphs, including daily number of cases of COVID-19 (fig. 1), the rolling 7-Day cases totals with inmates and without (fig. 2 & 3), and number of positive tests – by date taken – in three central Arkansas counties (fig. 4, 5 & 6).
Hutchinson signed an executive order creating the Governor’s COVID-19 Testing Working Group, with the purpose to make recommendations to expand the capacity and performance of COVID-19 testing in the state. “This is a clear objective I’ve had from day one, acknowledging that we need more testing,” stated the Governor. He said the group consists of testing experts, doctors and officials. The working group met virtually for the first time at Tuesday afternoon.
“Arkansas’s ability to conduct adequate diagnostic and surveillance testing will affect the state’s public-health strategy and economic-recovery efforts after Arkansas reaches its peak number of COVID-19 cases,” Governor Hutchinson said. “As we prepare to shift Arkansas’s economy out of low gear, it is important for us to have more comprehensive information about the spread of COVID-19 in the state.”
The working group will include senior representatives of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Baptist Health of Arkansas, and Arkansas Children’s. These leaders will examine the state’s supply of testing equipment and make recommendations to maintain adequate testing capabilities and conduct surveillance testing across the state.
Members of the Governor’s COVID-19 Testing Working Group are:
- Dr. Nathaniel Smith, ADH
- Dr. Glen Baker, ADH
- Dr. Naveen Patil, ADH
- Dr. Katie Seely, ADH
- Dr. Jennifer Hunt, UAMS
- Dr. Jose Romero, ADH, UAMS, Arkansas Children’s
- Dr. Atul Kothari, ADH, UAMS
- Mr. Robin Mitchell, Arkansas Children’s
- Dr. Bobby Boyanton, Arkansas Children’s
Hutchinson also stated that there will be more cases in Cummins State prison as well as Forrest City Federal correctional institute. They will continue testing in order to prepare to protect the inmates, staff and the community at large.
Dr. Smith followed the Governor saying the good news is, if you take out the positives from the correctional system, the number of cases are going down. Last week, it was about 70 per day and this week it is in the 40s, according to Smith. Secondly, none of the counties shown in today’s slides – chosen because each have over 100 cases – are on an upward trend. And thirdly, Smith stated that although the numbers from Cummins are alarming, “once you know who’s positive and negative, exposed or not, a prison is the ideal place to be able to isolate, segregate and restrict individuals movements.”
Governor Hutchinson introduced Steuart Walton as an entrepreneur, innovator, and someone who is in the hospitality industry. Walton is chairman over the economic recovery task force. The first meeting was held Tuesday morning. Walton stated that there are three committees led by Arkansas cabinet secretaries as follows:
- Stacy Hurst – tourism, community and health care
- Mike Preston – commerce
- Wes Ward – agriculture, grocery and education
Walton stated that the task force is working hard to develop an initial set of recommendations for Arkansas by May 4th, the day the Governor has set to begin reopening. They plan to present an interim report by the end of May and a final report by the end of June.
Dr. Nate Smith, State Secretary of Health listed the current statistics for COVID-19 patients below:
- 2,227 total cases
- Up by 304
- 262 new cases are inmates at Cummins
- 670 total Cummins inmate cases
- 10 total Cummins staff cases
- 42 new cases are in the general population
- 1,375 current active cases
- 809 total recovered, up by 60
- 86 currently hospitalized, down by 7
- 7 new were admitted
- 14 new were released
- 43 deaths, up by 1
- 149 healthcare worker cases
- 135 nursing homes resident cases
- 7 new resident cases
- 4 new staff cases
- 29 nursing homes
- 27 on a ventilator, up by 3
The state has finished testing inmates, but they are still awaiting some results. They are testing staff now.
Statistics for Saline County as of the end of the day yesterday were:
- 45 Positive Tests (up 2)
- 586 Negative Tests (up 1)
- 24 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: