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Arkansas has seen it’s highest increase in COVID-19 Coronavirus cases within a twenty-four hour period with 731 cases. Of these cases, 207 are within a correctional facility in Lee County in eastern Arkansas. The remaining numbers are community cases.  The total is now 11,547 cumulative cases since the pandemic began with 3,764 active cases, 203 hospitalized and a death total in Arkansas of 176. Washington saw an increase of 220 cases, 91 in Benton County, 32 in Madison County, 25 in Pulaski County and 24 in Sebastian County. Lee County was also within the ‘largest” increase of counties in the last day.  

Cumulative positivity rate is 6.2 percent since the pandemic started. According to Governor Asa Hutchinson, it will be some time before we see the trend come down due to the particular spike Arkansas is now experiencing. “We are significantly higher in hospitalization. 

Tyson tested all employees in various facilities. Over 1,100 team members in Springdale. 199 team members were positive of the 1,102. Of the 199 positive cases, only one was symptomatic when tested. The remaining 198 had no symptoms.  Gov. Hutchinson reiterated the importance of social distancing when in public as well as washing hands often with soap and water and wearing a face covering the entire time Arkansans in public. “Wear a face covering to protect yourself and others in case you are infected but do not have symptoms,” stated Gov. Hutchinson.  

Twenty National Guard members have been activated to assist the Arkansas Department of Health in contact tracing due to the number of cases and a shortage in healthcare team members.  

“As I look into next week, I do expect the cases to continue to increase. That is natural whenever we see a pattern we have seen over the last week particularly in Northwest Arkansas. I expect that to continue to increase until we can get a handle on that and reduce that spread….We will stay tuned until next week,” shared Gov. Hutchinson. 

COVID-19 Coronavirus update numbers from Dr. Jose Romero, Interim Health Secretary 

731 new cases

207 from correctional facility

524 from community; 1/3 of 524 from Tyson 

Of the 3,764 Active cases:

144 cases in nursing homes

402 correctional facilities

3,218 in the community 

To date: 844 health care workers infected

Nursing homes: 7 new residents; 4 additional staff; 509 resident; 339 staff

203 Hospitalized

49 on ventilators

7,607 recoveries or 66 percent of cases

5,591 were tested yesterday

Total number of Arkansans tested 182,645; 43 percent of 120,000 goal

 

Businesses:

1,353 cases in poultry 

671 recovered within the poultry industry 

Less than one percent are displaying symptoms. The majority are asymptomatic, for this reason, Dr. Romero  is requesting Arkansans to wear mask/face covering while in public. “Use a mask in public, cover your cough, wash your hands and stay within six feet from others,” said Romero. 

“No indication in the increase of cases and the lifting of restrictions. That is what guides our decision … simple acts of discipline will prevent the spread,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. According to Gov. Hutchinson, vulnerable citizens should stay at home if their health may be compromised by leaving.

“We are not going to give a directive that everybody in the state of Arkansas has to put a mask on when out in public. That would not be enforceable. It’s not realistic in a rural state whenever they can socially distance. But it is important that we do it. When you are out in the public, wear the mask,” said Gov. Hutchinson. 

“The issue of going out in public in today’s environment does require the use of wearing a mask,” echoed Dr. Romero in regard to Arkansans wearing a mask.  

In regard to the upcoming fall academic school year ...  

Currently the plan is to go back to school in regular fashion supplemented by online learning as needed. Secretary Key is working with superintendents.

The Governor announced the Arkansas Ready for Learning plan.

Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, Department of Education

Arkansas Ready for Learning is a plan for returning to onsite instruction in August.

  1. A plan for return to onsite instruction in August that allows flexibility for learning options in case interruptions occur.
  2. Support for districts to prepare for the start of the new school year.
  3. An opportunity for teachers, parents, students, and the community to engage in the planning with school districts.

These factors will be considered together for the benefit of the students: Facilities & Transportation, Academics, Human Capital, Student Support, Stakeholder Communication/Family & Community Engagement, District Operations & Fiscal Governance.

Districts are encouraged to form Ready for Learning Committees.

Some of the safety measures include hand hygiene, cleaning surfaces, screening visitors, wearing masks, social distancing, and encouraging people to stay home when sick.

Districts are preparing by reviewing all systems. Some parents are wanting the option of off-site learning. Believe students can learn anywhere. Might have to pivot quickly.

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