At Wednesday’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas has been approved for a Medicaid waiver to issue bonus payments for direct care workers such as registered and licensed practical nurses; some personal care and home health aides; and workers and staff at long-term healthcare facilities and nursing homes. (See the list below from the governor’s briefing.)
The governor also displayed a graphic detailing how the payments will work. (See below.)
Hutchinson said he would also be recommending similar bonus payments for direct and non-direct-care workers in hospitals, but for that, he would utilize federal aid provided for the COVID-19 fight.
Gov. Hutchinson also displayed a chart showing the number of new COVID-19 cases in the state. (See below.) He noted that after the spike in positive cases mainly due to recent outbreaks in correctional facilities, new case numbers are heading back down a bit.
The governor also noted the projected peak of April 24 for positive cases in Arkansas has recently been shifted to May 2. Hutchinson says that’s good because in flattening the curve of cases, the total number of eventual cases should not be as high as originally projected.
Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, noted that the state is relaxing some criteria in terms of testing. Those who have symptoms for COVID-19 but do not meet other current testing criteria (such as age, underlying conditions, or being a healthcare worker) will now be allowed for testing based on the particular testing facility’s abilities.
In other news from the update:
- There are currently 1,569 positive cases. That number is up 71 from Tuesday.
- There are 83 hospitalized. That’s up two from Tuesday.
- Twenty-six are on ventilators, down three from Tuesday.
- There’s been one new death reported bringing the total number to 33. The new death was in a nursing home.
- There have been 489 patients reported recovered, and that number is up 45.
- There are currently 215 healthcare workers testing positive.
- And, Hutchinson said there is an adequate number of healthcare workers and hospital beds to handle patients with coronavirus-related illnesses in the state.
The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, state Sen. Stu Smith, and state Sen. James Sturch. Download the free White River Now mobile app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.
We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air at Arkansas 103.3, online at White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the Arkansas 103.3 stream on the White River Now mobile app on Arkansas 103.3.
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