During Governor Asa Hutchinson's COVID-19 press conference Wednesday, 61 additional cases were added totaling 584 positive cases in Arkansas.
Jefferson County nursing home COVID-19 cases continue to increase as the Villages of General West in Pine Bluff and Waters of White Hall have two new additional cases.
During Governor Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19 press conference Wednesday, 61 additional cases were added totaling 584 positive cases in Arkansas.
Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith announced four of the new cases were at nursing homes. Villages of General Baptist West now has a total of four cases and Waters of White Hall now has a total of eight.
“We are very concerned about our nursing home population,” said Smith, “They are a very vulnerable population.”
According to Smith nursing home facilities is a place where COVID-19 can quickly spread and he is happy they have not seen a quick explosion of spread where the positive cases are at.
Arkansas has also recorded two additional deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 10.
Out of the 584 cases, 56 are hospitalized and 25 are on ventilators. Eighteen patients are children, 396 are adults under 65 and 170 are adults 65 and older.
A total of 32 patients have required ventilators so far in the state of Arkansas, and according to Hutchinson, he has been assured by the president and vice president more ventilators will be available for Arkansas when they needed.
Smith said there is no proven treatments for COVID-19. “There are things that have been tried and some that have more promise than others but the major and most important thing is support of care,” said Smith.
Smith adds those who are sick and hospitalized are given IV fluids, oxygen, ventilators and ICU care.
“These are things that we know get people through and help them to survive,” said Smith.
ADH responded to a recent concern when it was reported physicians were prescribing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
“Pharmacists should exercise caution dispensing these medications in a community setting,” said the March 21 release.
The release continue saying there are no FDA-approved or clinically proven therapies for treatment of COVID-19. At present, the FDA has not approved use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for COVID19 prophylaxis. If used, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should be restricted to patients who are admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 infections.
Smith pointed out that testing capabilities had increased with 903 tests administered on Tuesday by UAMS, the Health Department and commercial labs combined.
The state has also partnered with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics for a drive-thru triage for first responders and health professional who have symptoms or believe to be infected.
Hutchinson said the pilot project is expected to happen as soon as next week in Benton County.
Hutchinson’s concern for out-of-state visitors was addressed during his daily public address. Hutchinson said 60-percent of visitors to Arkansas’ State Parks were from other states, potentially coming from hot spots.
Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said based on actual visitation data, observation of day use and best procedures from other states, Arkansas state parks would eliminate overnight visits and operate during the day only beginning Friday, April 3.
"We want to keep parks open but only where it is safe and manageable to do so," said Hurst.
Hurst added additional measures would be put into effect including onsite parking only and on approved lots. Citations would be issued to visitors parked along the highway.
Hutchinson said the new rules would limit out-of-state travelers from surrounding states.
Also, a previously issued directive regarding casinos was extended to April 30, which orders them to remain closed.