Coronavirus in Ark.: Gov. Hutchinson announces goal to test every nursing home resident, staff starting June 1

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday afternoon a new goal of testing every nursing home resident and staff member beginning June 1.

According to the governor, this would be an additional 40,000 to 50,000 tests.

The governor said this will help better protect nursing home residents and staff.

Governor Hutchinson said each time a nursing home facility reports a case, Dr. Smith deploys a rapid response team and strategy.

According to state officials, there are 82 active nursing home cases. State officials say 192 nursing homes have no cases, 18 have one case, 10 have two to five cases, one has six to 10 cases and six have 11 or more cases.

Rachel Bunch, the Executive Director for the Arkansas Health Care Association, said now more than ever, housekeeping, laundry and dietary is very important for our long-term care facilities.

Bunch said if a nursing home resident or staff has tested positive, the entire building is tested.

According to Bunch, nursing homes have been able to identify asymptomatic residents and workers to move residents and send the workers who test positive home.

Bunch said Tuesday 72 long-term care residents have recovered from the coronavirus. One example she gave was a 102-year-old resident who tested positive for the virus, recovered and is now back in their regular room.

According to Bunch, 189 nursing home workers have recovered from the virus.

Bunch also said Tuesday 19 facilities have moved off the list of active cases because they either minimized or eliminated the spread of the virus.

According to the governor, $21,862,435.54 will be paid to more than 8,000 employees in long-term facilities this month as a part of the enhanced payment of direct care workers.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 4,923 cumulative cases of the virus with 102 deaths in the state, according to Governor Hutchinson.

Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Department of Health, said the state saw an increase of 110 cases between Monday and Tuesday. For the increase of cases between Monday and Tuesday, four are in correctional facilities and 106 are in communities.

According to Dr. Smith, three counties had more than 10 cases reported between Monday and Tuesday. Pulaski County had 19 positive cases reported, Sevier County had 14 cases and St. Francis County had 13 cases reported, according to Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith said there are currently 1,082 active cases in the state. Of the active cases, 83 are in nursing homes, 369 in prisons and 630 in the community.

Dr. Smith said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed their testing on the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City. According to Dr. Smith, 585 inmates and 17 staff have tested positive for the virus.

According to state officials, 77 people are currently in the hospital due to the coronavirus. This was an increase of one.

The state’s coronavirus death toll increased by two between Monday and Tuesday, according to state officials.

According to Dr. Smith, 3,739 people have recovered from the virus, which is an increase of 94.

Governor Hutchinson said so far this month, 39,700 tests have been done in the state.

State officials say 3,014 tests were completed Monday. This is an all-time high for testing, according to Dr. Smith. The positivity rate for Monday’s tests was 1.5%.

Dr. Smith said Tuesday the increase in testing is revealing more asymptomatic people.

The governor said 550 tests were completed in Forrest City over the weekend and 500 of those results are in. According to Governor Hutchinson, 32 people tested positive.

Dr. Smith said after additional analysis, there is not really an association in the cases with reopening. According to Smith, three people have reported being to a restaurant within the incubation period, six reported being to a barber shop or salon, 10 had gone to church, three went to a daycare, four went to the gym.

To watch the full news conference, click here.

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