March 25: 308 cases in Arkansas; Social gatherings larger than 10 banned by governor

7 PM

Confirmed cases in Arkansas: 308

Recoveries: 12

Deaths: 2

Numbers released Wednesday by the Arkansas Department of Health showed more positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas. 308 confirmed cases were reported as of Wednesday’s latest update. No new NEA counties were added to the map.

  • 8:45 AM: 1,286 total tests had been performed with 1,050 coming back negative. 236 positive.
  • 12:30 PM: 1,717 total tests have been performed with 1,437 coming back negative. 280 positive.
  • 6:45 PM: 1,752 total tests have been performed with 1,451 coming back negative. 301 positive.
  • 7 PM: 1,777 total tests have been performed with 1,469 coming back negative. 308 positive.

Nationwide, 65,778 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 942 have died. Source: ADH.

Globally, 467,594 cases have been reported with 21,162 deaths and 113,770 recoveries. These numbers are as of 7 PM on Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.


1:50 PM: Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued a directive banning social gatherings of 10 or more. Was previously a guidance; Now mandatory

“Whenever there is a directive, it does carry the power of law,” Hutchinson said. “If someone sees an event with 100 or 200 people in which there’s close contact, that allows an enforcement component to it. This is not a heavy handed part of the law. This just gives us the ability to say, ‘You all need to disperse. This is not consistent with public health directives.'”

The governor said his hope is that this will prevent the need for a mandatory shelter-in-place order to be issued.


DEAL! Lawmakers reach compromise on $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

Shortly before 1 AM early Wednesday morning, headlines broke that a deal was reached between Democrats and Republicans to provide direct financial checks to many Americans, expand unemployment insurance, and to offer health-care providers more resources.

The legislation is still being written, so the exact wording is unavailable as of this update. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told colleagues in an early morning letter that businesses controlled by any major figure in government, including President Trump, would be exempt from receiving funds from the stimulus.

The Washington Post reports that it is expected to be voted on Wednesday afternoon in the Senate. The timing for the House is not certain. More. 


Prince Charles tests positive for novel coronavirus

The 71-year-old heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, has tested positive for COVID-19, reports the Washington Post. His office said he has mild symptoms and remains in good health. More.


Wall Street had a good day Tuesday

While the stock market remains extremely volatile, some good news came for investors Tuesday in the form of the biggest single-day point gain on the Dow in history. The Dow gained 2,112 points, an eleven percent increase. the S&P 500 gained over 9.3 percent and the NASDAQ over 8.1 percent. More.


Arkansas State Police continue temporary license testing

The Arkansas State Police will continue Class D (conventional motor vehicle) driver license testing under the temporary and limited adjustments made effective on March 18th. State police commanders had planned to re-consider the schedule adjustments on March 27th. That date has now been extended to the end of business day, Friday, April 3rd.

No changes have been implemented, nor planned, relating to commercial driver license applicants. CDL testing is continuing on a regular schedule.

Changes to the Class D schedules became necessary as city and county government buildings where state police driver license testing occurred began to temporarily close or limit public access.

Driver license testing is now restricted to Arkansas State Police Troop Headquarters (with the exception of Troop J at Clarksville). Testing in the River Valley area is limited to a testing center operated in Russellville at 765 Hob Knob Road. Only the knowledge portion of the Class D driver license is being administered during the temporary schedule. No skills tests are being offered.

A directory of Arkansas State Police Headquarters with addresses and telephone numbers can be found at https://asp.arkansas.gov/divisions/highway-patrol/


NOON

State Update

  • The governor signed a proclamation for a special session of the general assembly to be held on Thursday.
  • 12 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized; 4 on ventilators
  • The guidance to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more is being changed to a directive

A 1:30 PM press update from the secretary of health and governor:

https://www.youtube.com/c/GovernorAsaHutchinson/live


1:15 PM

Pocahontas dentist creates graph showing new cases in Arkansas

While many graphs show an increase in the overall cases to date, Dr. Pat Carroll in Pocahontas wanted to see how many NEW cases were coming in each day. He has created a graph on his website, DrPatrickCarroll.com, which can be found here.

“It gives a slightly different way of looking at the situation and it’s growth rate,” Carroll said.


An effort to help hair dressers in NEA

With the Arkansas governor mandating closures of beauty schools, nail salons, barber shops, and hair salons by noon today, several are hoping to help those who are facing financial strain.

Heather Shrader is organizing the effort from her Facebook profile and is hoping to get the public to chip in, help out, or just share the post with someone else who might be able to. Her goal is to help beauticians pay for their booth rent, which she said can run from $80 to $150 a week, depending on location.

To help, comment or message her or reach out to your local hair dresser, she said.


1:30 PM

Scammers Create Frenzy with Fake Government Checks

Press Release – Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge

LITTLE ROCK – As Congress works to complete the COVID-19 economic stimulus package, con artists have also been working non-stop to identify new ways to take advantage of Arkansans concerned about the economy. These scammers impersonate government officials and reach out to Arkansans by phone, email or social media demanding the victims’ personal and banking information to verify their eligibility for the government’s stimulus check.

“Bad actors come out in bad situations and will do anything to make a quick buck on the backs of concerned Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The federal government will never reach out asking for personal and banking information in order to confirm your eligibility for payment.”

Attorney General Rutledge has provided the following tips to keep you and your pocketbook safe.

  • Only rely on official government websites (.gov) for economic relief information.
  • Never give out your personal information over the telephone or email.
  • When information becomes available, the Attorney General’s website will direct you to reliable sources.

Arkansas residents encountering someone demanding personal information to receive federal funds or other assistance should immediately contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office by visiting ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.


1:50 PM: Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued a directive banning social gatherings of 10 or more. Was previously a guidance; Now mandatory

“Whenever there is a directive, it does carry the power of law,” Hutchinson said. “If someone sees an event with 100 or 200 people in which there’s close contact, that allows an enforcement component to it. This is not a heavy handed part of the law. This just gives us the ability to say, ‘You all need to disperse. This is not consistent with public health directives.'”

The governor said his hope is that this will prevent the need for a mandatory shelter-in-place order to be issued.


7 PM

Mayor issues statement on COVID-19

Statement from Mayor Harold Perrin:

“Official reports of our COVID-19 case numbers have not changed this week, I take little comfort in those statistics. While our hospitals have been testing patients, Arkansas and many other states have lacked the capability to actually run the tests.

“It is my understanding that more laboratories are starting to be able to run the tests, and as they do, it’s logical that they will find more positive cases. So I am proud of our majority of responsible residents who are practicing social distancing and washing their hands often. Still, I am confident we are only beginning to see the impact of this disease.

“With that in mind, I praise those who are mindful of spreading it to family and friends. I am not pleased by occasional reports of those who are not, and I hope everyone heard today’s speech by Gov. Hutchinson. He has mandated no gatherings of more than 10 people. Our police force will strictly enforce the governor’s order. And I remind people even when they meet in small groups to maintain that 6-foot distance.

“I am highly displeased to learn of reports of fake tests being offered by opportunists who lack a moral compass, taking advantage of innocent and often fearful residents of Jonesboro. JPD is coming after these people, and I will not tolerate their activity in our city. If someone offers you a test, please call the police department.

“I also want to remind you that if you feel sick, call your doctor. This is how the process works: You will answer questions, and the doctor or a nurse will tell you whether you need to be tested for COVID-19. Do not run to the doctor’s office or a hospital. That risks spreading an infection. And we have to ensure the safety of our health providers just as everyone else.

“Finally, I want to stress that this is not spring break. Please reinforce that to your children. This is a time to show how resilient and vigilant Jonesboro can be.”


This story will be updated throughout the day on Wednesday, March 25. Check back/refresh for more information. 

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