Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Gov. Hutchinson, ADH Secretary discuss new directive on public gatherings, give updates on hospitals and unemployment


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith discussed new cases in the state, a new directive for public gatherings, planning for hospitals and unemployment.

The state is currently at 280 confirmed cases, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

According to Dr. Smith, there are currently 12 people in the hospital, four are on ventilators, 41 are in nursing homes, and 11 people have recovered.

There are 37 cases of the coronavirus at Briarwood Nursing Home in Little Rock, which is an addition of three cases.

Drew and Hot Spring counties were added as counties with cases.

The governor also said he and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. have talked about hospitals and how to make sure there is enough space in the future. According to Governor Hutchinson, the state has 8,000 hospital beds. The governor says state officials are looking into if there are enough ICU beds and are there beds in the right places.

The governor said there are 15 medical residents who are now able to help, as well as 300 new nursing licenses and 100 new physician licenses that were expedited.

Gov. Hutchinson announced the special session will start Thursday at 1 p.m., and the proclamation has been issued.

The governor also addressed unemployment filings in the state. According to the governor, 9,000 claims were filed last week, 8,000 claims have been filed so far this week, with 700 of those being filed Wednesday morning. Gov. Hutchinson also asked for those filing to be patient because the wait to file over the phone is about 25 minutes. Hutchinson also said the online system is getting upgrades to make it work better.

The governor said the Health Department is creating a directive mandating social gatherings be 10 people or fewer. The governor said directives carry the power of law, and law enforcement can step in if a group goes against the directive.

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