Arkansas unemployment numbers rising with spread of COVID-19 - ADH 3/22 update
WATCH: Gov. Hutchinson’s March 22 briefing on COVID-19 in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Saying he’s never seen a global economic downturn like this in his life, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the last several days 8 to 10,000 Arkansans have filed for unemployment.
He said there might be even more if the system was working properly.
The state, according to labor officials, will begin working 24/7 on processing unemployment benefits, both online and through its hotline.
The hotline will be up and running on Monday. Those seeking unemployment benefits can call 1-844-908-2178.
“Our system wasn’t designed for this,” Hutchinson said.
This revelation also comes as the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus made its largest single-day jump from 118 to 165.
Hutchinson released those numbers during Sunday’s daily COVID-19 briefing from the Department of Health in Little Rock.
Of those testing positive, Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Department of Health, said that 10 were children, 93 were 19-64 years of age, and 62 were 65 and older.
More women than men have tested positive by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.
Forty-four nursing home workers and residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, Smith said. The greatest number is at Briarwood in Little Rock where 35 residents and 6 staff members have tested positive.
Smith pointed to the increase in testing corresponding with the increase in positive and negative results.
“Two weeks ago we were testing 5-10 people a day,” Smith said. “Yesterday we tested 139 people.”
Beginning Monday, UAMS will begin testing for COVID-19.
UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson echoed Smith’s prognosis: “As we increase testing capacity, the number of cases will increase.”
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