Governor Hutchinson announces Economic Recovery Task Force, still aims toward May 4 for reopening

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The death toll from coronavirus in Arkansas stands at 38 with 1,739 positive cases in the state, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced in an April 18 news conference. The governor was joined by Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith as they released the latest information on the impact of COVID-19 in the state. Additional details they provided:

Governor Hutchinson started by thanking EMT and ambulance workers that have been working day and night during this time of difficulty.

He then updated the positive case numbers to 1,739 cases, which does not include Cummins Correction facility.

The hospitalizations are at 86 which is down 7 from yesterday, and one new death making the total 38 deaths in Arkansas

There have been 703 recovers which is up 110 from yesterday.

The Secretary of Commerce working with rural hospitals to identify financial needs, and they are working on getting $10 million to 27 different hospitals from a community development block grant.

UAMS will receive $500,000 for telemed in rural areas in Arkansas.

Dr. Cam Patterson with UAMS said they are working on mobile testing and telemed to help with other ailments

He said that drive-thru screening is not available in all areas yet.

UAMS has put together a mobile unit under the chair of pathology for screening and testing that will try to go to three communities per week.

The Governor then announced that he gave an executive order to create the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force.

This task force will consist of:

Steuart Walton, Chair of Committee

Wes Ward, Agriculture

Mike Preston, Commerce

Stacy Hurst, Parks and Tourism

and 26 to 27 other members

The task force expectation is to meet in industry groups, and will look at guidelines consistent with public health requirements, to give the public confidence.

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