The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has risen to 335, according to the department of health.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his team of health care officials confirmed the number during the daily update on Thursday.
Among the 335 in Arkansas included:
Total tests for COVID-19 were 1,839 with 1,504 negatives
14 children, 108 aged 65 and older and 213 between 19-64
60 percent female
41 hospitalizations – up from the 12 reported on Wednesday – 13 on vents
13 had met the department’s criteria for recovered
Two new counties – Lonoke and Randolph
ADH’s Dr. Nate Smith said they are encouraging those who have recovered to donate plasma, which he said has proven a promising approach to treat those with COVID-19 because of the antibodies in the blood.
“That’s a promising strategy,” he said.
During the news conference, Hutchinson also announced a $116 million package – $91 million will come from the federal government, the rest from the state – to support healthcare workers across Arkansas.
“This is geared toward this emergency specifically,” he said.
Hutchinson said the way health care is being carried out today is not the same as it was two, three weeks ago, everyone having to reengineer the practices and services they offer overall to protect the health care workers as well as the patients that they see.
He said nurses and non-physician direct care workers will receive an additional $1,000 per month, or $250 a week, and those who are working in direct contact with COVID-19 patients will receive $2,000.
“We’re going to need these healthcare workers and they’re at risk,” Hutchinson said. “We want to make sure that they are incentivized to be there, in addition to their public-mindedness.”
The money will be used to improve treatment facilities, fund training and safety programs and expand telemedicine.
It was also announced that the purchase of three million protective masks, four million surgical masks, four million gowns, seven million gloves and more than two million protective face shields for medical workers, are all scheduled to be here this weekend.