Here are some Key Notes, Statistics, and Video for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s news update on the COVID-19 pandemic, along with updates and guidance from Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of Health.
The governor presented several charts as usual to show the progress of Novel Coronavirus in Arkansas. He then made several announcements. The first announcement is that Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro will reopen on Friday, May 22nd, with some restrictions. It is limited to 500 visitors. You can purchase tickets online at arkansasstateparks.com. Later in the press conference, Steuart Walton, entrepreneur and Chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force, said that Crystal Bridges, the museum in Bentonville is in the process of taking steps to open as well.
Next, he announced that kindergarten through 12th grade team sports – including school and Community teams (not college) – are allowed to proceed beginning June 1st. The directive details are below.
Regarding overnight summer camps, Dr. Smith stated that the directive is lengthy and will be posted on the Department of Health website by this evening. (Click for list of directives)
Hutchinson also announced that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website is back online after a security breach. He stated that as of noon Thursday, over 15,000 claimants have been emailed that the site is ready for their information. He gave the following statistics:
- 5,584 have entered a claim today.
- 3,975 had payments sent out Wednesday night and should show up in their accounts tonight or tomorrow morning.
- 1,879 claimants requested debit cards and those will be sent out as well.
When asked by a reporter about what went wrong, the governor said the forensic and law enforcement teams are still reviewing what happened to expose the flaw in the system.
Dr. Jose Romero spoke about a serious health issue related to COVID-19 that is affecting children. He is the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Chief Medical Officer at Arkansas Department of Health, and Chair of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He said there is a multisystem inflammatory syndrome of children that follows the infection of COVID-19. Romero said that children present with:
- fever for more than a day
- significant inflammation in their body
- with multiple organs involved which can include the brain, heart, gastrointestinal system, liver, kidneys and blood infections
- evidence of the virus or antibodies at the time they’re tested
The doctor said that 200 cases total are reported in the US and the treatment is the same as used for Kawasaki disease. “There have been deaths, but they are exceptionally rare,” stated Romero. “Parents should contact their physician if their children have any of these symptoms.”
Steuart Walton reminded the community that there is now a website for information about reopening the state. Look for that at ArkansasReady.com.
Dr. Smith listed the current statistics for COVID-19 patients below:
- 4,558 total cases
- 455 new cases
- 229 new cases at Forrest City Federal Correctional Institution
- 226 new cases in the community
- 3,915 recovered, up 63
- 14 on a ventilator, down 2
- 86 hospitalized, up 7
- 110 deaths, up 3
- 2,616 tests performed yesterday
- 4.4% positivity rate
- 1,433 active cases
- 543 active cases in Corrections
- 94 active cases in nursing homes
- 796 active cases in the community
- Nursing homes
- 330 resident cases, up 2
- 197 staff cases, up 2
Statistics for Saline County as of the end of the day yesterday were:
Total Positive: 83
Active Positive: 9
The link for case numbers the entire state is: https://adem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f533ac8a8b6040e5896b05b47b17a647