Coronavirus in Arkansas: State officials give update on virus response

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson, Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, and other state officials gave an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus on Monday afternoon.

According to the governor, the state saw an increase of 142 cases from Sunday to Monday, making the total number of cases in Arkansas 1,923.

According to the governor and Dr. Smith, 117 of the newly reported cases were from the Cummins Unit.

Dr. Smith said 1,133 of the total cases are active cases.

Two new deaths were announced Monday, bringing the state’s total of deaths due to complications from the virus to 42.

According to Governor Hutchinson, 93 people have been hospitalized in Arkansas due to the coronavirus. Dr. Smith said there were seven new hospitalizations and two people released from the hospital.

Twenty-four people are on ventilators due to the coronavirus, according to Dr. Smith.

Of the total number of cases, 244 of them are health care workers, an increase of seven from the previous day.

The number of cases within nursing homes remained the same Monday afternoon with 128.

Dr. Smith said 749 people have recovered from the virus.

According to a graph presented by Governor Hutchinson Monday afternoon, Arkansas ranks one of the top in the country in per capita testing. The state has tested 60-90 people per 1,000 people.

Governor Hutchinson said Monday if restrictions are started to be lifted by May 4, Arkansans would still need to social distance and wear masks when they would have to be in public. The governor said the Department of Health is looking at possibly bringing back some elective surgery or medical procedures. State officials will also take a look if some recreational activities can resume. The governor said if there is a spike in cases, the restrictions can be put back in place.

First Lady Susan Hutchinson spoke Monday afternoon about how April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.

The Child Abuse Hotline is 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD, which is available 24/7 and toll-free.

The First Lady said with social distancing, some are not familiar with the signs of child abuse.

If it is an urgent matter, call local officials.

“The things that happen in your childhood last a lifetime- the good, the bad and the very ugly,” said Susan Hutchinson.

Mischa Martin, Director of the Division of Children & Family Services (DCFS), there have been 3,148 calls to the hotline, which is an almost 50 percent increase since this time last year.

Martin said if you suspect abuse or neglect, call the hotline. You do not have to know that it is actually going on.

Martin said her department has provided help to 3,500 families since March 11.

Martin also said they currently serve 4,400 children in foster care.

“Every child deserves a safe, stable family every day,” said Martin.

Martin said if there are families in need of help, reach out to the Mental Health & Addiction Services Support Line at 1-844-763-0198 Monday- Friday from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or DCFS.

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