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 began with some charts to show progress of the virus in the state, including some regional breakdown.
Before making an announcement that Phase 2 would begin Monday June 15th, Hutchinson reviewed our experience since Phase 1 of reopening. “Arkansas from the very beginning took a different path and did not shelter-in-place, but we did put in place targeted restrictions on certain face-to-face businesses that were necessary,” he stated. “On May 4th, over 35 days ago, we lifted the public health restrictions so the state could go into Phase 1 of the ‘Opening America Again’ blueprint that’s been provided by the White House task force.”
The Governor said restaurants opened at one-third capacity, and gyms, bars, casinos, and tattoo shops are now open, with restrictions on size and spacing limitations. The state has also reopened youth activities, camping, and many outdoor and indoor venues.
“And of course we’ve seen most recently, large gatherings through the form of protests across Arkansas and our nation,” said the Governor.
Hutchinson said our state’s experience with the COVID-19 virus is the same as in many other states – more testing and therefore we have an increase the number of cases.
“Americans are on the move and they can’t be tied down and they can’t be restrained,” he said, “unless they make a voluntary decision that ‘this is right for me and my health or my family.'”
The state has come to the conclusion from the data that the growth rate in cases is not the result of lifting restrictions, because businesses are taking precautions, and they’re following the public health guidelines.
With that, Hutchinson announced that Arkansas is moving as a state into Phase 2, but that residents should continue to following CDC guidance for containing the spread of the disease.
He warned, “We are still in the heart of the woods. We’re not out of the woods when it comes to this health care emergency.”
He also said he is continuing the emergency order for additional 45 days after it would originally have expired in mid-June.
While continuing to be careful with guidelines, restaurants and other venues will be able to move to a two-thirds capacity.
The guidelines for phase two will be on the Arkansas Department of Health website on Friday. All venues that have been at one-third capacity can go to two-thirds capacity, and also limitations on dental practices will be spelled out.
“What we have learned in the last 3 months is that COVID-19 is highly communicable in certain settings… like prisons… and nursing homes,” said Dr. Smith. “But we’re also we’ve also seen that if we do the things that we know work, maintaining physical distancing, especially the mask for source control, reducing the number of people who are breathing one another’s are, then we can continue those activities safely with minimal risk of spread of COVID-19.”
Dr. Smith listed the current statistics for COVID-19 patients below:
- 10368 total cases, up 288
- 60 corrections
- 288 community
- 181 hospitalized, up 8
- 165 deaths, up 4
- 3087 active cases
- 138 in nursing homes
- 199 in corrections
- 2750 in community
- 49 on ventilator, up 5
- 7116 recovered, up 241
- Top counties
- 51 Pulaski
- 44 Washington
- 37 Benton
- 16 Crittenden
- 15 Sevier
- 13 Craighead
- 4420 yesterday
- 37907 so far for June
Statistics for Saline County as of the end of the day yesterday were:
Total Positive: 159
Active Positive: 45
The link for case numbers the entire state is: https://adem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f533ac8a8b6040e5896b05b47b17a647