April 23: 2,599 cumulative cases, 1,632 still active

There are 2,599 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 tested to date in Arkansas.

This is as the governor plans to begin reopening the state next week by resuming elective surgeries. More announcements are expected regarding gyms, salons, and other businesses next week, too. Governor Asa Hutchinson has indicated May 4 as his target date to reopen.

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Cumulative Confirmed Cases: 2,599

Deaths: 45

Recovered: 922

Total Active Cases: 1,632

Total Tested: Over 34,551

Source: ADH Website; Governor’s press conference

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NEA County Numbers:

  • Randolph County: 14 positive, 8 recoveries, 414 negative
  • Clay County: 1 positive, 0 recoveries, 131 negative
  • Cleburne County: 71 positive, 52 recoveries, 143 negative, 4 deaths
  • Craighead County: 55 positive, 29 recoveries, 613 negative, 1 death
  • Crittenden County: 156 positive, 74 recoveries, 779 negative, 5 deaths
  • Fulton County: 1 positive, 0 recoveries, 31 negative
  • Greene County: 13 positive, 3 recoveries, 470 negative
  • Independence County: 8 positive, 4 recoveries, 135 negative
  • Jackson County: 1 positive, 1 recoveries, 49 negative
  • Lawrence County: 37 positive, 2 recoveries, 200 negative, 1 death
  • Mississippi County: 10 positive, 7 recoveries, 81 negative
  • Poinsett County: 13 positive, 6 recoveries, 77 negatives
  • Sharp County: 2 positives, 2 recoveries, 36 negative
  • Don’t see your county? Click here to find it on ADH’s map.

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United States: 869,170 positive

49,954 have died.

Global: 2,708,885 positive

190,788 have died.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

1:30 PM

Arkansas Surge Campaign

If you think you have symptoms, don’t wait – get tested.

The governor is announcing that testing is available and encouraging Arkansans to get tested if they think they may have COVID-19, or if they’re showing symptoms.

“There’s an inventory available out there for testing right now all across the state of Arkansas,” Hutchinson said.

Dr. Nate Smith said Arkansas is not fully utilizing its testing capacity in our state. He and the governor encouraged Arkansans to get tested if they have any reason to worry.

Governor to allow elective surgeries again next week

Effective Monday, April 27, Governor Hutchinson will lift restrictions on elective surgical procedures for Arkansas hospital and medical providers. These will not be patients who need overnight stays. They will be required to have no symptoms of COVID-19 or contact with anyone who is positive for the 14 days prior. They must be healthy and procedures will begin with limitations on numbers to slowly grow back to capacity.

The governor said May 4 is the target date to begin lifting social distancing restrictions, provided that cases are still growing at a slow rate. He said he intends to continue reviewing data and set several dates of note:

  • April 29, an announcement on reopening restaurants will be made.
  • April 30, an announcement will be made with regard to gyms.
  • May 1, an announcement will be made regarding beauty and barber salons.
  • May 4, an announcement regarding places of worship and larger congregations of gathering size

Some have reached out to NEA Report to ask if tattoo shops and nail salons would be included in the May 1 announcements. We are reaching out to the governor’s office for clarity.

Tracking the Growth

The latest numbers have been added to graphics by our friend Dr. Pat Carroll, who is helping us track new cases and active cases by date.

Updated Wednesday, April 22. Graphic courtesy Dr. Pat Carroll
Updated Wednesday, April 22. Graphic courtesy Dr. Pat Carroll


Seven fewer states reporting widespread outbreaks than last week

An info graphic tweeted by the CDC states that seven fewer states are experiencing widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 than the previous week, possibly indicating progress in grinding the growth of the virus to a halt.

China could have four times as many cases as they’re admitting

New research published tuesday in the health journal the Lancet blamed the low count in China of confirmed cases on their changing definition of what a confirmed case is. Their findings show that each time this change happened, new positive case results grew much slower than what had been expected.

“…we estimated that by Feb 20, 2020, there would have been 232 000 (95% CrI 161 000–359 000) confirmed cases in China as opposed to the 55 508 confirmed cases reported,” the study’s findings said. Read more from The Lancet.

Trump temporarily suspends new green cards

In a move he says is to protect American workers, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States, he announced on Wednesday. It will apply to immigrants seeking permanent residence in the United States and will last for 60 days. It could potentially be extended then. Read more from The Hill.

Vaccine expert says he was removed for questioning hydroxychloroquine

Dr. Rick Bright, who was the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, was removed from his job this week and given a position at the National Institutes for Health after he said he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted as a game changer by the president in the fight against Covid-19.

“I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way,” Bright said in a statement.

“Trials, however, suggested the drug might not be as effective as the president hoped. In mid-April, a small trial in Brazil was halted after some patients developed irregular heart rates. Then a study this week of 368 Veterans Affairs patients, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that it did not help patients avoid the need for ventilators, and that the use of the drug alone was associated with an increased risk of death. And this week, a panel of the government’s own experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said there was “insufficient data” to recommend taking it to treat symptoms from the virus.” – New York Times.

Read more from the New York Times.

China to allocate more funds to WHO after US pulls back

China is committing an added $30 million to the World Health Organization after President Trump announced he would suspend American funding to the agency. He has accused it of promoting China’s misinformation and mismanaging the pandemic.

Reporting by the NYTimes says of the $5.6 billion the agency received in 2018 and 2019, $893 million came from the United States and about $86 million came from China. Read more from the New York Times.

CDC director tones down talk on second wave

At the urging of the president, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield spoke on Wednesday at the White House about a story in the Washington Post which said a second wave this fall could be worse than the first. Redfield said he didn’t say it would be “worse,” but instead “more difficult.”

1:30 PM

Commentary: Pediatric Considerations in the Time of COVID-19

Hilliary Sismondo, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and assistant professor of clinical medicine at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

Over the course of the last few weeks, most of our lives have changed drastically.  Many adults have transitioned to working from home.  In addition to adjusting to their new reality of telecommuting, they are also charged with the tasks of childcare and teaching from home. 

Teenagers also are not immune to the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 crisis.  Although they may not grasp the full magnitude of the pandemic at hand, they understand – to at least some extent – the threat it poses to older loved ones and parents.  Adolescence is, in itself, a time of transition.  Sadly, many of the events which served to represent this transition into adulthood, such as graduation and prom, have been canceled.  We, as a community, are struggling with losses of all sorts and adjusting to our current reality.

Amidst all of the stress and chaos, it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to social distancing recommendations.  After all, according to the CDC, children and young adults, as a group, have been relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis.  However, now is not the time for teenagers to congregate at local parks or for children to have sleepovers.  Although the COVID-19 virus may not have a direct impact on your child, he/she – if infected – can serve as a carrier of the virus, unknowingly infecting high risk individuals they come into contact with. 

To illustrate how this works, imagine you allow your teenage son to invite a handful of friends over to play video games.  All of his friends appear healthy. However, one of them is unknowingly infected with the virus.  He or she would be considered a carrier of the disease.  Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, this carrier infects your son and his friends.  Your son and his friends then spread the illness to siblings and parents.  Parents then go to the office for just a couple of hours and shed the virus throughout the workplace.  This ripple effect continues, and before we know it, community spread of COVID-19 is in full effect.

I also want to point out that although young people as a group seem to be in less direct harm of the novel coronavirus, you cannot predict with 100% certainty how any one individual will react to this virus.  As a healthcare community, we have certainly seen pediatric cases of COVID-19 that have resulted in hospitalization and/or death.  This further emphasizes the importance of social distancing and adhering to measures that reduce transmission of the coronavirus amongst all age groups.

So what can you do to keep your children safe and maintain the sanity of your household during this stressful time?  Go outside!  There is no better time than now to explore nature, and no better place to be than Arkansas.  In our state, we have plenty of land mass to allow for six feet of separation between individuals and still have people enjoying outdoor activities. 

Arrange an outdoor scavenger hunt for your children, go on a bike ride, or play catch in the backyard.  Let your kids get messy!  Rainy outside?  Let your young child play in the mud to help develop their sensory skills.  Some time outside can help improve mood, make learning more engaging, and can encourage more positive behavior.

Prevent boredom by adhering to a daily schedule.  Try to keep your children’s morning routine, mealtimes, and bedtime as consistent as possible.  If you are working from home, set expectations with your older children in regards to how much attention you will be able to devote to them throughout the day.  You can agree to eat lunch together or organize an evening board game. Attempt to limit screen time. However, in all reality, children’s screen time will no doubt increase during this time.  Seek guidance from teachers as to online learning platforms that are available for students.  Monitor television and online resources for quality content. Use technology for good to socially connect with loved ones and friends. 

One thing is for certain: regardless of how convenient it may be, now is not the time to ask grandparents to watch the kids while you work from home.  Although many grandparents are more than willing to help, this exposure puts them at risk of contracting COVID-19.  You can show your support for older family members by touching base with them frequently via telephone or videochat.

Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing.  Encourage your children to wash their hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available and your child’s hands are not visibly soiled, it is safe for children to use hand sanitizer under adult supervision.  Young children should not have unsupervised access to hand sanitizer as it can be harmful if ingested.

Finally, under the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, in-person, well newborn care and well-visits for children up to 24 months should not be delayed.  It is imperative that we continue to deliver vaccines according to the schedules set forth by the CDC in order to limit the incidence of vaccine-preventable illnesses during this COVID pandemic.

This is a difficult and scary time for our community, and the impact of COVID-19 – whether direct or indirect – effects everyone, from children to the elderly.  We are in this together, and we will get through it, if everyone does their part to limit spread.  I implore you to foster a sense of community in your household by keeping your children at home to protect those at greatest risk. 

About NYITCOM at Arkansas State University:

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, located on A-State’s Jonesboro campus, is dedicated to improving access to health care for the underserved and rural populations in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta Region. Arkansas ranks 48th in overall population health status due to low health indicators including obesity and number of adults who smoke. The state also ranks 46th in the number of active physicians per capita and 39th in the number of primary care physicians. NYITCOM at A-State was established in 2016 with the mission of meeting the need for more physicians in this medically underserved area.

This story will be updated throughout the day on Thursday, April 23, 2020 with coronavirus related headlines. Check back and refresh for the latest news and numbers.

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