Coronavirus today: 314 new cases and a record number hospitalized. No regional easing yet, governor says. – Arkansas Times

Posted: June 8, 2020 at 4:46 pm

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REGIONAL CORONAVIRUS DIFFERENCES: But still no regional health guidelines.

Gov. Asa Hutchinsons daily coronavirus update included a new peak on the number hospitalized and he said he wasnt ready to announce a regional approach to easing of state guidelines on business operations.

Hed indicated last week he might have an announcement this week. Today, he was more cautious.

He said the regions of the state are different and their trend lines are different. But he said the future spread of the coronavirus is not predictable. He said he doesnt believe the rise in cases being experienced is related to past easing of restrictions. But he said increased testing is important. He said self-discipline and social-discipline still must be practiced. And he emphasized again that the economy must keep moving. He said these factors will influence future decisions on easing restrictions.

But nothing today. Were leaving the options open, he said. The weekend numbers clearly were a disincentive. He said hed thought earlier the state was on a decline on the whole, but circumstances changed. The options he considered Friday had some weaknesses. He said, What might be a safe region today might not be tomorrow.

The daily COVID-19 count

The state reported 314 new cases today, increasing yesterdays total of 9,426 to 9,740. Deaths rose by one, to 155. Hospitalizations increased by 26 to 171, a record so far. The rise inc ases followed increases Saturday of 450 and Sunday of 325.

4,131 tests were done over the last 24 hours.

The growth in new cases continued in Washington County (86) and Benton County (41). The governor said 41 of the cases in Washington County were clustered in 15 households. He also said the average age of those infected was fairly young, perhaps a hopeful sign that theyll overcome the illness more easily.

Health Director Nate Smith said only 2 percent of new cases had visited a restaurant in the last 14 days; 1 percent to a barbershop; 1 percent to a church, and less than 1 percent to a gym or hotel.

He said the growth in hospitalizations was concerning, but he said the state was not near its capacity. He said that, with the growth in cases, it wasnt surprising hospitalizations would grow. He said the same could be expected of deaths, a lagging indicator.

Protest news

The governor opened remarks with news on the demonstration front. He confirmed the announcement earlier that he was deactivating National Guard hed called up in support of State Police and local police.

He said the unified command structure created by his executive order remains in place, though the number of State Police dedicated to the job will be reduced. He said the Little Rock police will remain at work protecting property and demonstrators. The governor praised local demonstrators, but he said some outliers whod come in to cause trouble had been discouraged and deterred.

He also said hed been meeting with protest leaders and planned to deliver at 11 a.m. Tuesday an executive order hed promised them. He gave no details, but he said it would deal with police training, certification and standards.

Economic recovery

Steuart Walton, the billionaire Walmart heir appointed by Hutchinson to lead a recovery task force, said Arkansas is doing better than some neighboring states in economic recovery. He said his groups website is now available in Spanish. He said the group was trying to encourage businesses to get people to follow guidelines on wearing masks (they could be more effective than a vaccine in preventing contraction of the disease, he said.) and following other social distancing guidelines. He lauded the governors targeted approach to balancing health and economic concerns.

The Q&A session didnt cover much new ground, with some discussion, but little enlightenment on whether the mass demonstrations were a potential breeding ground for virus cases or whether any new cases had been reported as a result.

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Coronavirus today: 314 new cases and a record number hospitalized. No regional easing yet, governor says. - Arkansas Times

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June 8th, 2020 at 4:46 pm

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