Friday: 691 active, 3,747 cumulative COVID cases in Ark.; Pools, water parks to open May 22


1:30 PM

Cumulative Confirmed Cases: 3,747

Deaths: 88

Recovered: 2,968

Total Active Cases: 691 active

(131 correctional, 89 in nursing homes, 471 in community)

Total Tested: 63,994 (previous update)

Source: ADH Website

Added 82 cases in Arkansas, 12 in correctional facilities, 70 as community; Hospitalizations have declined to 64; No changes in deaths; 2,355 tests in the past 24 hours

An issue on the ADH’s website Friday morning indicated that only about 2,100 had recovered. A spokesperson for the ADH confirmed to NEA Report this was a mistake and was in the process of being corrected Friday. Due to this, we do not have accurate county-by-county numbers to report at this time. Once we do, we will update this page.

1:30 PM

United States: 1,268,520 positive

76,101 have died. 195,036 have recovered.

Global: 3,907,055 positive

272,286 have died. 1,305,888 have recovered.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.

Pools, splash pads and water parks

In reference to recreational pools, splash pads, water parks, and swim beaches: Governor Hutchinson says a limited reopening will begin on May 22

  • No entry if fever, symptoms, or contact with positive patient
  • 50-percent capacity
  • 6-foot physical distancing in all areas
  • Entrance controls to avoid crowds
  • Markings to note distancing at slices, diving boards, and anywhere with a line
  • Disinfect high touch areas frequently
  • Tables, chairs moved 6 feet apart; family groups can sit together
  • Maintain pool chemistry
  • Lifeguard training can begin today

More elective surgeries to be allowed

On Monday, the next stage of elective surgeries will begin. Previously, it has been limited to day surgeries. Now, overnight surgeries with stays expected of up to 24 hours will be allowed. They were previously limited to ASA category 1 and 2; Now will allow 1, 2 and 3 (meaning patients with more health issues will be allowed to undergo elective procedures).

Commentary: Is it safe for my child to go back to daycare?

By Hilliary Sismondo, MD

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.

With the mandatory closure of all public schools in the state of Arkansas, many childcare facilities followed suit and closed their doors in response to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, essential workers have had difficulty finding childcare, and parents telecommuting from home have had to split their attention between work and parenting. Children have struggled with the change to their daily routine and lack of socialization.

Recently, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has relaxed some of the restrictions and mandates put in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19. With this, many childcare facilities have begun to re-open, but is it safe for our children to return to daycare?

There is no easy answer to this question. Daycare attendance will increase the risk that your child will be exposed to coronavirus. However, if your family’s situation requires that your children attend daycare, there are measures you can take to help keep your family safe.

Have a conversation with your childcare provider regarding what measures have been put in place to help limit the spread of coronavirus through the facility. Even prior to the coronavirus outbreak, daycare attendance increased the odds that a child would be exposed to cold viruses, stomach bugs, bacterial infections, etc., so all daycares should have already been following a strict protocol for cleaning toys, changing pads, and frequently touched surfaces.

In addition to regular cleaning and sanitizing, the CDC has developed guidelines to help advise daycares in measures to (1) promote social distancing within their facilities, (2) limit direct contact with parents during drop-off and pick-up times, and (3) screen daycare attendants for signs of illness. Depending on factors such as staffing, attendance, and space, each daycare may choose to address each of these concerns differently. Have a discussion with your childcare provider as to what changes you should expect.

If your child attends daycare, be proactive about taking measures to prevent spread of coronavirus between home and school. Remember, children are often asymptomatic with COVID-19, so it is important that we assume any child is a carrier of the disease.

First, I would encourage you to sanitize your child’s hands before they enter daycare and when they leave. Additionally, be sure to change their clothes prior to entering the facility if they are soiled. You should provide the daycare with a change of clothes in case your child soils his/her clothes while in attendance. This helps limit exposure to body fluids between children.

Second, if your childcare facility has a parent sign-in sheet, I recommend bringing your own pen or asking that the pen provided is sanitized prior to your use. Finally, at the end of the day, have your child remove their shoes outside the house and change their clothes as soon as possible.

If your daycare is not already checking temperatures upon arrival, make a habit of checking your child’s temperature prior to leaving home. Any child with a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4F should stay home. In general, children with fever or symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection (cough, congestion, runny nose) should refrain from attending daycare for at least 10 days from the start of their symptoms.

Consult with your pediatrician prior to returning to daycare if your child suffers from a chronic medical condition that could put them at higher risk of severe complications from the coronavirus. Also, elderly family members or those at high risk should not participate in the pick-up or drop-off process. Ideally, the same family member takes the child to and from daycare to help limit exposure.

There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution to childcare. The decision to utilize childcare facilities during this time is a personal one, based on your family’s current circumstances. If you are unable to keep your children at home, please work with your daycare provider to help limit exposure and prevent spread amongst your family and the community.

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 article will be updated throughout the day on Friday, May 8, 2020. Check back or refresh for the latest information.

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