Gov. Hutchinson’s focus on nursing home tests will help reopening plans

More testing also affecting Arkansas Health and Human Development Centers

FULL BRIEFING 6/3: GOV. Hutchinson and ADH COVID-19 update for Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, updated the public Wednesday afternoon on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.

Gov. Hutchinson reiterated his plans to tests everyone at long-term facilities in the state.

"These residents represent the most vulnerable members of Arkansas and also our family members," Gov. Hutchinson said.

This is something state officials, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Health Care Association have been working on together.

One of the goals to do the testing at these facilities is to develop a system to keep people safe in nursing homes as they lift some restrictions.

Arkansas Health Care Association Executive Director Rachel Bunch said the CDC compared nursing home data across the country and showed the Natural State is fairing well.

Bunch also said they plan to take an individual facility approach to reopen nursing homes. The facilities will be required to complete statewide baseline testing and other expectations before they can reopen.

Dr. Smith said 55 nursing home deaths account for 39% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

Smith also released the latest numbers:

  • 249 new #COVID19 cases
  • 8,067 total
  • 2,208 active
  • 423 nursing home residents have tested positive, 289 staff
  • 138 hospitalizations
  • 30 on ventilators
  • 142 deaths (+6)

Dr. Smith also said a lot of community spread is in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, with most of the growth among the Latino community and younger people.

DHS added they are also included in the expanded testing in June and testing for their facilities will happen in the coming weeks.

Copyright 2020 KAIT. All rights reserved.