Sharp, Craighead Counties see increase in cases

Walmart to add testing sites in Jonesboro, West Memphis

FULL BRIEFING 5/14: Gov. Hutchinson and ADH update for Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - State officials reported 130 new COVID-19 cases during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Thursday news conference.

Craighead and Sharp counties saw a sizable increase in confirmed cases - 14 new cases in Craighead County and 10 new cases in Sharp County.

There are 928 active COVID-19 cases in Arkansas: 305 in prisons, 101 in nursing homes, and 522 cases from the community.

The governor also announced that Walmart would be adding additional testing sites. New locations would be added in Jonesboro and West Memphis. The governor, however, didn’t provide further details.

Overall, on Wednesday, the state had 1,991 COVID-19 tests with a positive rate of 2.6%, well below the CDC’s standard of a positive rate of 10% or below.

The governor said the increase in cases and hospitalizations did give them pause when considering moving to Phase 2. He said the state will keep watching the pattern to see if evens out. He said the state will not be prepared to enter Phase 2 next week, but couldn’t provide an exact date.

Unemployment Assistance

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston addressed the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. He said barring any unforeseen issues, payments to those who applied for the PUA, authorized through the CARES Act, would receive payments sometime next week.

Preston said the state is working to make sure the payment system is secure and is working to prevent fraudulent claims.

Preston said the state’s unemployment trust fund had about $778 million. Since the beginning, the state has paid $109 million from that fund with an additional $248 million in payments provided through federal money with the CARES Act.

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