Jefferson County has recorded its ninth COVID-19 related death as the state reaches 46 total deaths due the coronavirus. According to Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelly, a second nursing home resident in White Hall, in his late 70s, passed away due to COVID-19.

Jefferson County has recorded its ninth COVID-19 related death as the state reaches 46 total deaths due the coronavirus. According to Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelly, a second nursing home resident in White Hall, in his late 70s, passed away due to COVID-19.

The numbers of positive tests continue to climb to 2,741 with 1,763 of those cases active. Friday recorded the state’s largest single results with 276 cases.

There are 198 cases from the Cummins Prison Unit.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison said, with increased testing numbers are expected to go up.

Over 2,800 people in Arkansas tested for COVID-19 in a one day period, with a 4.1% positivity rate.

According to Hutchinson that indicates that more tests are being done considering the state was averaging approximately 1,000 tests a day. Hutchinson is encouraging Arkansans to go get tested if they have concerns by calling their healthcare provider and following their guidance and what to do next.

Hutchinson, who said he has reached out to many hospitals in the state, wants to be able to utilize the testing capacity and says this is a time that hospitals need to come together and get the testing done.

Out of the 1,763 active cases:

104 are hospitalized (up 3)

25 are on ventilators (up 1)

46 are deceased (up 1)

34 are active nursing homes

176 are nursing home residents (up 2)

102 are nursing home staff (up 3)

285 are healthcare workers (up 10)

The state has 932 recoveries.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said he is concerned with the three-day increase of positive cases among the community. He said looking from where they are coming from, it is the Northeast and Northwest region of Arkansas.

Arkansas plans to reopen the state, beginning with elective surgeries on Monday. Dentist offices have a targeted date of May 18.

On April 3, 2020, the Secretary of Health, in consultation with Governor Asa Hutchinson, issued a directive that elective procedures in the state would cease. The directive went into detail regarding considerations and exemptions.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has developed requirements for the resumption of elective procedures, so that surgical facilities could perform elective procedures based on a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

This directive emphasizes the need for facilities to understand their capabilities (e.g., beds, testing, ORs) as well as potential constraints (e.g. workforce, supply chain), while watching for possible subsequent waves of the virus, which may require a return to prior restrictions.

Elective procedures shall be limited as follows:

1. Only outpatients with no plans for overnight stay.

2. An American Society of Anesthesiologists rating of I or II. If they are a II-rating, their disease process should be well controlled.

3. No contact with known COVID-19 patients during the past 14 days.

4. Patients must be asymptomatic for COVID-19 per ADH guidelines.

5. Start with a small initial volume of cases and increase incrementally as PPE availability and number of statewide occurrences dictate.

6. Each institution must have an ample supply of PPE for resuming elective procedures while maintaining a reserve should there be a resurgence of the virus. The acquisition of PPE is a matter for each institution to address and is not the responsibility of ADH.

7. For an asymptomatic patient to be a candidate for a procedure, he/she must have at least one negative COVID-19 NAAT test within 48 hours prior to the beginning of the procedure.

According to the directive, these requirements pertain to all elective procedures, including dental, eye, nasopharyngeal, chest surgery, and colonoscopy.

Small rural hospitals under 60 beds and critical access hospitals, though strongly advised to follow this directive to maximize resources and minimize risk, are excluded from this directive.

The April 3, 2020 directive’s exemptions for medically necessary procedures to preserve a patient’s life or health also remain in effect.

Those exemptions included:

1. If there is a threat to the patient’s life if the procedure is not performed.

2. If there is a threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system if the surgery is not done.

3. If there is a risk of metastasis or progression of staging of a disease or condition if surgery is not performed.

4. If there is a risk that the patient’s condition will rapidly deteriorate if surgery is not done, and there is a threat to life or an extremity or organ system or a threat of permanent dysfunction or disability.