Leading up to May 4, Hutchinson said decisions regarding each industry would be announced. Hutchinson plans to have data-driven decisions on opening restaurants April 29, gyms April 30, salons and barber shops May 1 and places of worship and large venues May 4.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that elective procedures would resume for Arkansas hospitals effective on Monday, April 27 during Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference. With 1,371 active cases out of 2,276 on Wednesday afternoon, Hutchinson said he believes the state is on track to meet the May 4 goal of lifting some restrictions.
Leading up to May 4, Hutchinson said decisions regarding each industry would be announced. Hutchinson plans to have data-driven decisions on opening restaurants April 29, gyms April 30, salons and barber shops May 1 and places of worship and large venues May 4. 
For hospitals, Hutchinson said a directive would be released allowing day surgeries to resume. Patients that will be allowed back for elective procedures must first test negative for the virus 48 hours before their surgery and they should not require an overnight stay in the hospital afterwards according to Hutchinson.
Hutchinson adds rural hospitals would be excluded.
Deaths in the state decreased by one, down to 42, after a Missouri resident who died in Arkansas was removed from the total according to Secretary of Health Nate Smith.
When asked during the press conference why the ADH numbers were inconsistent, Smith replied the various reasons from the county the specimen was collected being different from where the patient lived to results coming in through a fax machine, which takes longer to get in the system.
“As the numbers grow, it’s a challenge,” said Smith.
Dr. Nate Smith summarized the cases with 23 on ventilators, 35 new nursing home cases, totaling 170; 31 facilities with active investigations and 263 health care workers that have been infected.
The number of patients hospitalized went from 86 to 97.
With 49 new cases announced Wednesday, 13 were inmates at the Cummins Unit which Smith said most of the numbers have been included in the state’s total but not all.
Smith said his team will be providing guidance and directives to bring back areas stating if you throw a party over the weekend and a bunch of people get infected, that will ruin it for everyone.
Hutchinson said the reopening of Arkansas is based solely on Arkansas data and the decision points won’t be lined up with other states.
Smith adds the turnaround time for tests are enhanced for commercial labs providing quicker results. Hospitals now have devices that can give you COVID-19 results in up to 15 minutes.
Stating to provide more information about testing on Thursday, Smith did approve the first test for patient at-home sample collections.
On Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit.
“Throughout this pandemic we have been facilitating test development to ensure patients access to accurate diagnostics, which includes supporting the development of reliable and accurate at-home sample collection options,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “The FDA’s around-the-clock work since this outbreak began has resulted in the authorization of more than 50 diagnostic tests and engagement with over 350 test developers. Specifically, for tests that include home sample collection, we worked with LabCorp to ensure the data demonstrated from at-home patient sample collection is as safe and accurate as sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site. With this action, there is now a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home.”
According to the FDA, this reissued EUA for LabCorp’s molecular test permits testing of a sample collected from the patient’s nose using a designated self-collection kit that contains nasal swabs and saline.
Once patients self-swab to collect their nasal sample, they mail their sample, in an insulated package, to a LabCorp lab for testing. LabCorp intends to make the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kits available to consumers in most states, with a doctor’s order, in the coming weeks.
The LabCorp home self-collection kit includes a specific Q-tip-style cotton swab for patients to use to collect their sample. Due to concerns with sterility and cross-reactivity due to inherent genetic material in cotton swabs, FDA says that other cotton swabs should not be used with this test at the present time.
This authorization only applies to the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test for at-home collection of nasal swab specimens using the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 home collection kit.