The state of Arkansas now has 33 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the announcement during his daily coronavirus update on Wednesday.
He said the 11 new additions from Tuesday’s 22 included three new counties – Washington, Bradley and Faulkner – and nearly all state cases were travel-related or part of the original case, which was reported in Pine Bluff.
“These are just an extension of those known clusters,” Hutchinson told media present and viewers watching online.
There were an additional 50 people in Arkansas under investigation for the virus, which means they were showing symptoms and have risk factors such as travel to an infected area.
While Arkansas has seen 33 positives, Hutchinson said, it’s important to mention the 235 negatives also received.
“I think you’ll see in the coming days the numbers will very well increase but somedays it might flatten, and it’s probably because of the irregularity of some of the testing numbers coming in,” he said. “You can see how the volume of testing is increasing and obviously most of them come back negative.”
Hutchinson said there shouldn’t be any false sense of security – it’s not over yet – but businesses shouldn’t shut down just because someone goes in for testing and it’s unconfirmed.
“We can’t overreact and panic again just because of what we hear,” he said.
While testing capability isn’t increasing as fast as they want it to, it’s still gaining traction, with UAMS’s ability hopefully going up to around 240 a day by this weekend.
A number of hospitals are performing drive-thru screening including Conway Regional Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Baptist Health, UAMS and others according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
“At this time, patient testing is directed by your healthcare provider – please contact your provider ahead of time if you are experiencing symptoms,” Conway Regional’s Facebook reads. “They will offer guidance on screening and testing.
“Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 is beneficial for both patients and healthcare workers, ensuring social distancing and lessening the risk for transmission of the virus.”
The testing is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the medical center’s west lobby entrance.
Learn more at www. conwayregional.org/covid19 testing.
Additional Conway Regional updates include:
Visitors age 15 and under are no longer permitted into the hospital.
Two visitors per day, per patient will be permitted in the hospital.
Only two visitors per patient room, per stay, allowed in labor and delivery.
Only one visitor per patient will be permitted in the patient’s room including the CCU, CVICU, emergency department and ambulatory surgery department.
No visitors will be allowed in the main OR, unless the patient is a minor. If they are a minor, one visitor will be allowed.
Visitation is suspended in the senior behavioral health unit.
All visitors must enter through the east lobby, emergency department or our ambulatory surgery department and will be screened upon arrival for recent travel, symptoms and temperature.
Several additional businesses and government entities have also altered daily routines in the current coronavirus climate, including Conway Corporation.
The company announced starting Wednesday, its customer care center would be closed to customers in order to be proactive.
“In addition, we are suspending residential and business installs for telecom services,” officials said. “We will offer support over the phone and deliver equipment for self-installation, but we are temporarily not entering homes or businesses to help keep our community healthy.”
Conway Corp representatives will be available through phone for support and the drive-thru will stay open.
While most business leaders, community volunteers and others are looking out for their neighbors during this time, there are some taking advantage of the crisis.
The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) released a statement Wednesday regarding current scams going around.
“ADEM is warning citizens that there are persons who are impersonating employees of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) going door to door and offering COVID19 testing in exchange for money and personal information,” a news release from the organization states. “ADEM has confirmed that the CDC is not going door to door for testing.
Arkansas residents who have this happen should file a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by calling 501-682-2007 or 800-482-8982 or downloading a Consumer Complaint Form at https://arkansasag.gov/forms/file-a-consumer -complaint/.
Other noteworthy changes:
Arkansas Mission of Mercy has been postponed but a new date has not been scheduled.
Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker enacted the county’s emergency management plan and continued to urge residents to help prevent the spread of the virus on Wednesday.
Plato’s Closet in Conway has adjusted its hours and will now be open 12-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-6 p.m. Sunday only.
Blue Sail Coffee has adjusted its hours and will now be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 12-7 p.m. on Sunday.
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce building is closed to the public.
City Church, New Life Church and many others have now gone online only for services.
The University of Central Arkansas Police Department is closing its prescription drug take-back receptacle, suspending fingerprinting services and is encouraging those who need police services, to call 501-450-3111 and 911 for emergency services.
The Central Arkansas Planning and Development District has canceled its March 26 board meeting.
Harps Food Stores is offering free home delivery for high-risk COVID-19 customers.
Bath & Body Works closes all U.S. and Canada stores due to COVID-19.
Palmer Music Co. temporarily suspends face-to-face lessons; moves them all online.
Central Baptist College moves to online platform for students the remainder of the spring 2020 semester after they return from spring break.