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State receives first round of at-home test kits as COVID numbers soar statewide

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY|dewayne@mcnews.online

Arkansas received the first shipment of 211,000 at-home testing kits with the delivery of the kits to respective distribution locations to begin soon. The kits are the first of 1.5 million requested by Governor Asa Hutchinson as Arkansas health facilities struggle to keep up with the ever increasing rise in COVID-19 cases.

Arkansas has reported 47,497 new cases in the past week has put a strain on the already overworked medical care facilities around the state. The in-home testing kits will help alleviate the workload at area hospitals.

Governor Hutchinson said that the cost of these tests is around $10 million and will be covered by existing funds available in the COVID response budget. The tests will be available at public local libraries, public health units, and other locations. Two units of Arkansas National Guardsmen have been deployed in the past week to help with distribution of the at-home kits.

Governor Hutchinson has also requested $50 million be distributed to hospitals around the state to fund extra beds which will be used to help with the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. This request was approved by the Arkansas American Rescue Plan Act Steering Committee, and the disbursement of this funding requires legislative approval.

Governor Hutchinson created the Arkansas American Rescue Plan Act Steering Committee in 2020 to make recommendations on the distribution of approximately $1.57 billion in funding from the federal government.

The proposed plan includes adding 98 COVID ICU beds and 167 COVID medical beds to be funded for timelines of 28-45 days based on the recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health. CHI Saint Vincent Hospital in Hot Springs is one of 11 state hospitals to receive funding for new beds.

Arkansas is reporting 61,121 active cases as of Tuesday morning. This is 33,959 more active cases than last Tuesday morning. There have been 622,069 cumulative cases reported, 551,411 recoveries and 9,333 COVID related deaths reported. There have been 112 COVID related deaths in the past seven days.

Montgomery County is reporting 39 active cases as of Tuesday morning, 30 more than last Tuesday. There have been 32 new cases in the past seven days with 1,230 cumulative cases reported. There have been 1,138 recoveries and 53 COVID related deaths.

Active cases continue to increase exponentially in Garland County with 1,057 active cases being reported Tuesday morning. This is 731 more cases than last Tuesday. There have been 939 new cases reported with 17,825 cumulative cases reported. They have reported 16,333 recoveries and 433 COVID related deaths.

Hot Spring County is reporting 542 active cases and 365 new cases in the past week. There have been 8,609 cumulative cases reported, 7,950 recoveries and 113 COVID related deaths.

Clark County is reporting 469 active cases and 318 new cases reported. There have been 4,068 cumulative cases reported, 3,530 recoveries and 66 COVID related deaths reported.

Howard County is reporting 255 active cases with 211 new cases being reported in the past week. They have reported 2,931 cumulative cases, 2,637 recoveries and 39 COVID related deaths.

Yell County is reporting 237 active cases as of Tuesday morning with 192 new cases reported in the past week. There have been 5,185 cumulative cases reported, 4,857 recoveries and 90 COVID related deaths reported.

Pike County is reporting 142 active cases, 108 more than last Tuesday. They have had 138 new cases reported in the past week, 1,983 cumulative cases, 1,802 recoveries and 39 COVID related deaths.

Polk County is reporting 132 active cases and 109 new cases in the past week. They have reported 3,215 cumulative cases, 2,953 recoveries and 129 COVID related deaths.

Scott County is reporting 46 active cases and 37 new cases in the past week. They have reported 1,877 cumulative cases, 1,797 recoveries and 34 COVID related deaths.

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