LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced during a press conference Thursday that there are five additional presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, meaning there are currently 6 presumptive cases in Arkansas at this time.
Key facts to know:
- 6 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
- 20 people under investigation
- 135 recent travelers being monitored by the Arkansas Dept. of Health with daily check-in and guidance
Watch Gov. Hutchinson's Thursday press conference:
Friday, March 13:
The City of Little Rock is working with several agencies on a plan to feed students after their classes were canceled over concerns of the coronavirus.
Regardless of where a student is enrolled, they can pick up lunch at most of the Little Rock schools on Friday, March 13 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Country music star Travis Tritt has rescheduled his concert at Robinson Performance Hall due to "the growing concern over the spread of COVID-19."
Sunday Mass obligation is dispensed for all Catholics effective immediately. Public Masses shall be suspended starting the weekend of March 21-22, except for small groups at the discretion of the priest. Whenever possible Churches will be kept open during daylight hours for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration as an alternative to Sunday Mass.
Thursday, March 12:
According to Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, the horses will run in races this weekend, but no fans will be admitted to watch beginning Friday, March 13 until at least Sunday.
Canceled events include Dawn at Oaklawn, barn tours, and the Infield, but the casino will continue to remain open until further notice. You can read the full article on the racing cancellation here.
Scallions restaurant in Little Rock is now offering delivery for people affected by the coronavirus. The owner said this was the perfect opportunity to help the community in a time of need.
According to Hot Springs National Park, the 17th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.
The parade was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, in downtown Hot Springs. Read more about the cancellation here.
The Arkansas high school basketball finals were postponed Thursday by the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) due to "growing concerns over COVID-19."
The AAA tweeted that the decision is effective after the 2A championships, which take place on March 12. No games will be played on March 13 or 14. Read more about the finals being postponed here.
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the largest college in Arkansas, has elected to cancel in-person classes through the end of the semester. Read more about the U of A's closure here: Univ. of Arkansas suspends in-person classes, moving to online courses due to coronavirus
Several other colleges, such as U of A Little Rock, have canceled in-person classes until further notice.
Read more on schools closing to prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout the state: Schools in 4 Arkansas counties closed to prevent spread of coronavirus, COVID-19
Gov. Hutchinson said that Saline, Jefferson, Pulaski and Grant counties are connected to those confirmed cases, and therefore schools in those counties will be closed until March 30.
The Arkansas Department of Health said that they decide school closures on a case-by-case basis. They consider if any students or staff have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. The closures give a buffer of safety and help prevent the virus from spreading.
As for large gatherings, Gov. Hutchinson said the state isn't ready to implement anything statewide and that currently, it's in the hands of private organizers.
- 6 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
The Dept. of Health said that these are not community spread at this time and that all current cases are from person-to-person contact.
Health officials have also confirmed that these additional cases were tested over the last 24 hours and the state is continuing to do contact testing with individuals who may have potentially been exposed.
"We do not have limitless resources, but for the time being, we do have adequate materials," UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson said.
He also confirmed that the state does have more resources than needed at this time, though they are closely monitoring their supply.
Patterson also encouraged anyone who believes they may have COVID-19 symptoms to go to their website, where they have online screening 24/7 with UAMS physicians and staff.
Click here to read more about the UAMS online COVID-19 screening: UAMS now offering online COVID-19 screening tests
- Resources in the state
Gov. Hutchinson said he's looking to the federal government for help on testing capabilities and resources here in the state. He also said he spoke to the Vice President about a week ago about needing more testing capability in the states.
Dr. Smith said that the state's testing capacity has already grown within the last week, but the challenge right now is with collecting the specimen and transporting it.
"We have the capacity at the state public health lab, but not the capacity to meet all the health clinic needs in the state," Dr. Smith said. "That's why the chancellor has mentioned offering up testing so we'll have the ability at UAMS."
The CDC will provide over $6 million in funding to Arkansas in support of their response efforts to the coronavirus disease. Read more about CDC's contribution to COVID-19 resources in the state here: CDC to award Arkansas over $6 million in support of COVID-19 response