Long-term care facilities across the state will reopen to visitors beginning on July 1, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Wednesday in his regular COVID-19 press briefing at the State Capitol.
Nursing homes, assisted living and residential care facilities will open on a case-by-case basis with specific criteria that must be met before opening, including that the facility has completed COVID-19 testing of all its residents; that visits are scheduled; and that residents receive a maximum of two visitors.
Additionally, outdoor visits will be preferred, with indoor visits reserved for residents unable to meet outside or due to hot weather. Hutchinson said some long-term care facilities might not be ready on July 1, but he hopes the majority will be.
The governor announced an additional 415 cases of COVID-19 since Tuesday for a cumulative total of 13,606. Three additional hospitalizations have been recorded for a total of 217. Nine more Arkansans have died from the virus since Tuesday, bringing the toll to 197 people.
Washington and Benton counties continue to lead the way in new daily cases, while Lee and Pulaski counties ranked third and fourth in Wednesday’s briefing.
Arkansas completed 7,514 tests since Tuesday, the governor said. Since the beginning of June, the state has finished 80,105 tests. The governor said the state is ahead of schedule in reaching its June testing goal of 120,000 tests.
The significant increase in testing in the state this month has led to an improved percent of positive test rate, the governor said.
Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Department of Health, said the state currently has 3,590 active community cases of COVID-19. Smith also noted that 8,996 recoveries from COVID-19 have been recorded in the state.