Gov.: Four new deaths, but new case and hospitalization numbers show somewhat encouraging signs

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At Thursday’s coronavirus update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson presented charts showing some encouraging figures concerning COVID-19 cases in the state. One chart (below) showed a further decline of new COVID-19 cases over the past few days.

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The other graph (below) showed COVID-19 hospitalizations staying somewhat steady.

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The governor told reporters he’s pleased with the trajectory, but also that coronavirus is highly contagious and still can’t be taken for granted. And Hutchinson warned there is the possibility spikes could occur from time to time.

Also at the briefing, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston highlighted updates to the state’s unemployment system to help respond to the volume of filings throughout the pandemic.

Preston pointed potential applicants seeking more information about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to a new website:  ARunemployment.com.

There is also now a PUA email alert system that can be accessed here.

And applicants can also call (844) 908-2178 to file over the phone. Gov. Hutchinson noted 150,000 claims have been filed and processed through the crisis, but there has been a slight decline in the past few days.

Preston also noted the Small Business Administration approved over $2.1 billion to go toward Arkansas businesses related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Over 14,800 applications in the state were approved via the program.

Other news from Thursday’s briefing:

  • Four new deaths were reported since Wednesday, bringing the total number to 37. All four victims had underlying health conditions. Two were under the age of 65 while the other two were over the age of 65.
  • As of Thursday afternoon, total cases reported stands at 1,620 — up 51 since Wednesday. Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said of the 1,620 cases, 1,035 were “active” cases.
  • There have been 558 recoveries.
  • Hospitalizations are at 85 total, and there are 21 patients on ventilators. That number is down five from Wednesday.
  • There are 223 healthcare workers who have tested positive — which is up eight from Wednesday. Eighty-one healthcare workers have recovered.
  • And, Hutchinson clarified that EMS workers are not included in the bonus payments from the CARES Act discussed yesterday. The governor said he hoped there will be an opportunity to help those workers soon.

 

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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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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

LOCAL NEWS TEAM

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