April 24: Arkansas at 2,810 cumulative, 1,799 active COVID-19 cases; Dental procedures to resume May 18

There are 2,810 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 tested to date in Arkansas as of Friday night.

Arkansas plans to begin reopening the state next week by resuming elective surgeries on Monday. 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 begin relaxing social distancing plans.


11 PM

Cumulative Confirmed Cases: 2,810

Deaths: 47

Recovered: 964

Total Active Cases: 1,799

Total Tested: 35,731

Source: ADH Website; Governor’s press conference

Notes: 276 new cases from the day before, 198 from Cummins unit and 78 from the community; Now 104 hospitalized; 25 on a ventilator; 46 deaths; 2,808 tests processed in the past 24 hours – the most yet in a single day; Fulton County’s first positive test


11 PM

NEA County Numbers:

  • Randolph County: 15 positive, 9 recoveries, 432 negative
  • Clay County: 1 positive, 0 recoveries, 116 negative
  • Cleburne County: 72 positive, 52 recoveries, 143 negative, 4 deaths
  • Craighead County: 58 positive, 30 recoveries, 668 negative, 1 death
  • Crittenden County: 167 positive, 81 recoveries, 805 negative, 5 deaths
  • Fulton County: 1 positive, 0 recoveries, 39 negative
  • Greene County: 14 positive, 3 recoveries, 490 negative
  • Independence County: 9 positive, 4 recoveries, 131 negative
  • Jackson County: 1 positive, 1 recoveries, 50 negative
  • Lawrence County: 38 positive, 2 recoveries, 212 negative, 1 death
  • Mississippi County: 10 positive, 8 recoveries, 74 negative
  • Poinsett County: 14 positive, 6 recoveries, 72 negatives
  • Sharp County: 2 positives, 2 recoveries, 30 negative
  • Don’t see your county? Click here to find it on ADH’s map.

11 PM

United States: 890,524 positive

51,017 have died.

Global: 2,790,986 positive

195,920 have died.

Source: Johns Hopkins University


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 Friday, April 24 by Dr. Pat Carroll
Updated Friday, April 24 by Dr. Pat Carroll

Dental procedures planned to resume on May 18

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that dental procedures are planned to resume on May 18. He called it a goal and said it could change but indicated plans were, as of now, for business to begin resuming in that field on May 18.


Arkansas Surge Campaign

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

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced more 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.


Jonesboro hotels being hit hard by pandemic

With travel restrictions and fears surrounding travel in general, hotels in Jonesboro are seeing an extraordinary drop in business. Naz Kazi, owner of six hotels, says he has seen an 85-percent drop in business. Darrell Pickney of Comfort Suites says his hotel is running at about 10-percent capacity. Read more from The Jonesboro Sun.


Delegation Applauds Department of Education for Awarding Over $128 Million in Coronavirus Assistance for Arkansas K-12 Students

press release

 WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—applauded the U.S. Department of Education for awarding emergency relief funds to support continued learning for K-12 students in Arkansas whose educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus crisis.

The funding—totaling $128,758,638—will be released to the Arkansas Department of Education.

It is part of a nationwide disbursement of more than $13.2 billion in emergency funds allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which recently became law with the support of the Arkansas delegation.

In total, the CARES Act allocates nearly $31 billion to the Department to Education to distribute to students, K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

Education leaders will have the flexibility to use this money for immediate needs, such as tools and resources for distance education, ensuring student health and safety, and developing and implementing plans for the next school year.

“The closure of all public schools in Arkansas for the remainder of the school year is one of the biggest disruptions to everyday life the coronavirus crisis has brought upon families in our state. This funding from the CARES Act will help the state overcome some of the challenges our educators, students and parents are facing as a result,” the delegation said.


Thursday

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.


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.


5 PM

City receives $100K grant for JPD COVID expenses

The City of Jonesboro Police Department was awarded a grant from U.S. Department of Justice for $100,329 for coronavirus emergency supplemental funding, Mayor Harold Perrin announced Friday.

If approved by City Council, Jonesboro Police Department will use the money for equipment, supplies and to hire part-time cleaners to address issues related to COVID-19. The funding requires no match by the City.

“Everyone is hurting, physically and/or financially, right now, so this is very welcome news,” Perrin said. “We talk about physical distancing to get through this time, but in my office we also talk about keeping our work environments safe.

“One of the potential nightmares that this incredibly contagious disease presents is its ability to run through communities. This grant helps tremendously in protecting our police department.”

Police Chief Rick Elliott said in the money will be used for Personal Protection Equipment, foggers for vehicles and buildings, and UV lighting, as well as in-depth cleaning of all properties.

“We have three buildings we have to protect – our headquarters on Caraway and the patrol division and Justice Complex on West Washington, so we also have concerns for the public,” he said.

Elliott praised the DOJ for its quick turnaround on the grant.

“They had a formula, and this grant came to us,” he said. “It said, ‘You are eligible if you wish to pursue it.’ It was really short. The biggest thing we had to do was come up with a list of things need to buy.”


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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