CARES committee approves $50 million in extra funding for Arkansas hospitals, nursing homes

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,018 views 

The Arkansas CARES Act Committee on Wednesday (Dec. 2) approved an additional $50 million to respond to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The approval came the same day Arkansas hospitalizations set a new daily record after rising by 14 to 1,088.

Requested by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the increase is on top of around $180 million for hospitals and $120 million in CARES Act funding for nursing homes approved earlier this year to help those facilities respond to extra staffing and other costs related to the COVID response. The estimated $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress earlier this year to provide aid to individuals, businesses and state and local governments in response to the pandemic.

“However, the COVID-19 crisis has surged in recent weeks and hospitals and nursing facilities are struggling to maintain capacity to treat patients and protect the public and their staffs. The surge has disrupted the hospitals’ and nursing facilities’ abilities to maintain qualified staff at all levels within their organizations,” DHS noted in its request.

According to DHS, the money can be used for COVID costs incurred between July 1 and Dec. 30. Following are the three categories eligible for funding.
• Costs determined by the hospital/nursing facility to be essential to maintain staff to meet health and safety requirements.
• Costs related to meeting staffing and infrastructure costs due to the COVID-19 surge.
• Costs associated with the COVID-19-related development of new models of delivering patient care.

In addition to the record number of hospitalizations, Wednesday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) showed that total deaths rose by 10 to 2,522, and total confirmed and probable active cases rose by 284 to 16,378. Total cumulative known confirmed and probable cases rose 2,212 to 161,521.

“I expected the return to higher case numbers today, and all indications are that the number will continue to be high through the week. With COVID-19 virus in every area of the state (and nation), we need to double our efforts to follow public health guidelines,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement released with the ADH report.

COVID REPORT – Dec. 2
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 140,705 known cumulative PCR cases, with 1,456 new community cases and 51 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 20,816 probable cases, up from 20,111 on Tuesday
• There are 12,399 active cases, down from 12,409 on Tuesday
• There were 10,095 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 2,764 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 647 positives.

Deaths
• 2,312, up 9
• 210 probable COVID-related deaths, up 2

Hospitalizations
1,088, up 14

Ventilators
186, down 9

Recovered cases
125,975

The top five counties with new known cases reported Wednesday were: Pulaski (258), Benton (166), Washington (158), Craighead (119), and Faulkner (84). The counties accounted for 54% of the 1,456 new community cases.

As of Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., there were 13,869,301 U.S. cases and 272,552 deaths. Globally, there were 64,304,782 cases and 1,488,513 deaths.

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