Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson hopes to start lifting parts of state’s restrictions May 4

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday the goal date to start lifting some of the restrictions currently in place is May 4.

The death toll from coronavirus in Arkansas stands at 37 with 1,695positive cases in the state, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced in a April 17 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:

Dr. Nate Smith annouced that over night we had 75 new cases that brought the total to 1,695 positive cases in Arkansas.

He also gave a reminder to the public to think about who we are trying to protect with these social distancing restrictions put in place.

Dr. Smith recognized Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. from Fort Smith who died of Coronavirus. He was 42 and was serving on the USS Roosevelt.

With 75 news cases there is a total of 93 hospitalized

Trump released a set of guidelines for each state to follow when they reach a certain point where we see downward trends.

Phase 1 of the plan is to relax closures, but continue to practice social distancing.

During phase one Employers still should encourage telework and return to work in phases.

Specific Types of Employers like schools and organized activty will remain closed, and visits to Sernior living facilties and hospitals remain on hold.

Dr. Nate Smith announced there are 593 cases that have recovered.

For the corrections facilities, the Forrest City Federal Facility had 7 new inmates which makes the total 57 inmates with positive cases

LR Community Corrections:
3 new inmates tested positive bringing the total to 62 inmates.

Cummins:
83 new positive cases bringing the total to 129 total positive cases.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said that we need to be goal-oriented and work on:

1. Restoring AR economy in a timely fashion
2. Protecting most vulerable
3. Maintaining healthcare, Expanding public health capacity
4. Prevent resurgence of COVID-19

He said Arkansas is meeting some of the criteria that are working towards phase one. May 4 is the current target date to begin phase one. He also said we need to continue to keep doing behavioral changes, physical distancing, cloth covering and hand washing.

Businesses can start to prepare for the reopening

He finished with a statement that “We’re still a ways away from full opening,”

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