Governor Hutchinson hopes to test 2% of population by end of May

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Another significant day of testing for the state of Arkansas as the Governor hopes to test 2% of the population by the end of May.

2,355 test results came back from the past 24 hours and only at a 2.1 positivity rate.

Now the Governor laid out some ideas for the state to increase those numbers without really going out of the way to achieve that goal.

ADH local health units will start testing.

Expecting mothers will now begin to be tested, this is something UAMS already has in place.

ADH Minority Health Commission will now have a mobile lab going into those specific areas along with UAMS’ mobile lab unit and the Abbott point of care machines now have greater supply numbers so those tests that need to have results within hours will now be in greater number.

Obviously a lot of this depends on people needing the test and actually getting it done.

“And of course this depends upon people who have the symptoms going in and getting their test and it should be a much smoother process during this month,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson.

“We’d like to see testing continue to roll out to where we know who’s positive, who is negative, who is exposed, who is not exposed because that’s the best way for us to control this outbreak. It’s not so much the numbers, it’s how we use our testing capacity that’s important, but what we want to do is to identify those who are infected and stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives,” said Dr. Nate Smith from the Arkansas Department of Health.

Also officials expanding slightly on what will be required of casinos to begin operation.

There’s a directive that is similar to what the indoor venue directive looks like, but casinos will have to submit a plan of operation and it will have to be approved by the Department of Health in order for them to reopen.

Dr. Nate Smith saying that there are a lot of different factors when it comes to casinos so it’s not prudent to fit them in general with all indoor facilities.

Those plans will be made public but expect to see cleaning protocols, how certain games will be spaced out and operated, and what the handling of game pieces will look like such as cards and chips. Dr. Smith saying that the casino will have different plans for its facilities hence why they are taking this route with that industry.

Also, today it was announced that swimming pools, water parks, splash pads, and swim beaches can resume operation on May 22 aside from common guidelines. These will operate at half capacity, pH levels must be tested twice daily, and lifeguard training can begin immediately.

Elective surgeries will also now expand into allowing patients to stay in the hospital for up to 48 hours. Previously it was outpatient procedures only.

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