COVID-19 hospitalizations hit new record; Gov. Hutchinson said President’s infection a ‘visible’ reminder of the virus’ reach

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 640 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday (Oct. 6) that the COVID-19 outbreak in the White House has caused Arkansans to be more serious about the virus and has encouraged Arkansans to “never forget the virus that continues to be part of this emergency and the reason for it.”

President Donald Trump and at least 15 others – including members of the White House Press Corps – have tested positive for COVID, with the White House event introducing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a U.S. Supreme Court nominee cited as the spreader event. Gov. Hutchinson said the infections among those attending the event are “visible reminders” of the reach of the virus, adding that Trump’s tweet saying there is nothing to fear from COVID does not diminish how serious Arkansans view the virus.

“There is more consistent masking. There is more consistent following of guidelines,” Gov. Hutchinson said of his belief about how Arkansans have reacted to Trump’s hospitalization for COVID. “We should all be reminded of the seriousness of COVID, and as we enter flu season we have to remember that there is the potential of flu and there is the potential for COVID.”

Gov. Hutchinson was pressed on the issue by the media, noting that Craighead County Republican Party Chairman Steven Farmer died from COVID-19 and the Craighead County Republican Party Facebook page shows people – including Farmer – at meetings without masks or observing social distancing guidelines. Gov. Hutchinson said he is the leader of the Arkansas GOP and he has made it clear that masks, social distancing and other health guidelines are to be followed no matter political party affiliation.

“There is always a minority that believes in some wild conspiracy theory, that don’t follow the science, and are resisting the need to follow public health guidance. But as I said, I believe that is a diminishing minority and there are more and more people who are taking it seriously,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

COVID REPORT – Oct. 6
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 84,203 known cumulative cases, with 507 new community cases and 25 cases in correctional facilities
• 3,841 “probable” cases, up from 3,732 on Monday
• There are 5,970 active cases, down from 6,186 on Monday
• There were 6,157 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 1,059 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 133 positives.

Deaths
• 1,321, up 22, with four from nursing homes
• 148 “probable” COVID-related deaths, unchanged

Hospitalizations
529, up 5

Ventilators
99, up 6

Recovered cases
76,930

The top five counties with new known cases reported Tuesday were: Washington (57), Pulaski (43), Benton (27), Faulkner (27), and Sebastian (25). The counties accounted for 35.3% of the 507 new community cases.

As of Monday at 1 p.m., there were 7,474,312 U.S. cases and 210,464 deaths. Globally, there were 35,601,426 cases and 1,046,101 deaths.

NURSING HOME VISITS
Gov. Hutchinson also announced Tuesday less restrictive guidelines for nursing home visitations. Following are the new guidelines from the Arkansas Department of Health.
• The facility has not had a newly positive COVID-19 case in the 14 calendar days before expanded visitation or other activities are offered, measured from the date of the facility’s latest newly positive COVID-19 test result;
• The facility has adequate staff to provide enough direct care, housekeeping, and dietary services to residents to meet the needs of all residents and existing legal requirements, and the facility is not under a waiver of any state or federal staffing requirements;
• The facility has adequate PPE to meet the needs of residents and staff;
• The facility screens every visitor, activity participant, and staff prior to entry to the facility, including facility employees, contractors, vendors, and all other persons who enter the facility; and
• The facility will restrict access to the facility to all persons who meet any screening criteria for restricted access.

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