A total of 62 people have tested positive in the state of Arkansas for COVID-19. Numbers increased from 33 to 62 in one day.

A total of 62 people have tested positive in the state of Arkansas for COVID-19. Numbers increased from 33 to 62 in one day.

“Should we be afraid? No,” said Dr. Nate Smith, Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, during Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s public address Thursday afternoon. “This is a serious situation and we will have to make dramatic changes in our lives.”

Due to the rapid spread of the virus and to get a handle of it, Hutchinson mandated restrictions for the state of Arkansas.

K-12 schools would remain closed for an additional 3 weeks to April 17. Hospitals, clinics, and mental health facilities would screen all employees for illness. Bars and restaurants are to close their dine-in services and only allow drive-thru or carryout options. Gyms are to cease all non-essential operations and state employees have been told to work from home.

For businesses, the governor has said to telecommute, video conference or work remotely. Hutchinson also advised churches to abide by the same restrictions and cancel services, asking pastors to be creative and minister in other innovative ways like the businesses.

"As you can see from the actions taken today, we are being aggressive," said Hutchinson.

According to Smith, 23 of those cases were done in the ADH lab and 6 reported from reference labs. Pope, Van Buren, Searcy, Craighead, Clark, Independent, and Grant are the affected counties.

Two children are among the new cases, according to Smith. A total of 6 children have been confirmed. Fifteen of the cases are 65 and older and 41 of the cases are 19-64 years old.

Hutchinson said community spread of the virus has increased, meaning it is not known where or how that person became infected.

Older individuals have been advised to stay at home, avoid social contact and social gatherings.

Smith says that these restrictions are big, but appropriate steps.

“We will have to make dramatic changes in our lives,” said Smith.

For more information and updates go to www.healthy.arkansas.gov, call the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847 or email ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov.