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NWA Covid-19 Information/Resources (Updated Daily)

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Recent Podcast Episodes Discussing Covid-19

Episode 59: NWA Leaders discuss Impact of the Coronavirus at Virtual Town Hall Meeting

Interview with Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce during Covid-19

Episode 60: Edafio shares IT and Cyber Security lessons to help you deal with Covid-19

Episode 61: Hunkering Down for Week Two – Covid-19

Episode 63: Don’t Give Up!

Bonus Episode with Onyx Coffee


Impact NWA Resources

Find the support you need during this COVID-19 Pandemic here in Northwest Arkansas – Impact NWA


Daily Message from Governor Asa Hutchinson 8/10/20

During today’s daily COVID-19 update, Gov. Hutchinson reported the state has 50,028 positive cases, an increase of 645 from yesterday. Of those, 13 are in correctional facilities. Hospitalizations decreased by 6 for a total of 508. Arkansas has 555 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 11. Gov. Hutchinson said about half of those are a result of delayed reporting. In the last 24 hours, 5,341 tests were conducted.  To watch the full briefing, Click Here

Governor Gives Briefing From Jonesboro 5/27/20

Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his daily coronavirus response briefing from Jonesboro. He reported 97 additional cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours out of more than 4,000 tests, which is the smallest total increase in several days. The cumulative coronavirus count in Arkansas stands at 6,277 with 120 deaths. Of that total, 1,733 cases are active and just fewer than 1,200 of those are considered to be in the community. The others have been attributed to correctional facilities and nursing homes.

The briefing also included remarks about the economy as the state remains in the first phase of gradual reopening for businesses. As he’s done during almost every briefing since discussion of reopening businesses began, the governor emphasized a methodical approach to commerce. He also addressed the safety of elections in November. Hutchinson said he believes he has until August to make a decision regarding “no-excuse” absentee voting. To watch the full briefing, click here.

State Reaches Goal of 60,000 COVID-19 Tests in May 5/26/20

At today’s coronavirus response briefing, Gov. Hutchinson confirmed 6,180 known cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas, an increase of 151 over Monday. Of that total number, 1,729 cases are active, 107 are hospitalized with 18 people on ventilators. Of the new cases, 29 were in Washington County and 16 in Benton County. The governor also confirmed two additional deaths, bringing the total number of known deaths to 119.

Hutchinson said nearly 3,000 tests have been completed in the last 24 hours with an overall positivity rate of 3.3 percent. The national standard is 10 percent. The governor said Arkansas was above that standard with more targeted testing, but below it with more widespread testing seen this month. The state has surpassed its goal of 60,000 test in May. Hutchinson said nearly 62,000 tests have been conducted over the course of the last few weeks.

Secretary of Health Nate Smith noted that is he is concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Hispanic community, but mentioned this could be attributed to the increase in testing in the last couple of weeks. He also mentioned there are currently 301 cases of coronavirus linked to poultry-related work. Among those, Benton County has 69 and Washington County has 44.

Hutchinson said he was pleased with the way the majority of Arkansans handled themselves this Memorial Day weekend. He said he was concerned by the lack of personal responsibility exhibited by a small number of residents. The governor also stressed a rise or drop in cases and whether the state moves on to a second phase of reopening will depend on individual discipline and following the guidelines.

As of this morning, the governor said $16.8 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments have gone out to more than 15,000 claimants. He noted that 10,000 more have been found eligible, but have not yet filed their weekly claims. Hutchinson also announced Secretary Smith has accepted a position at the CDC, but will remain with the state until August 28. He has asked Dr. Jose Romero to serve as interim secretary of health. To watch the full briefing, click here.

Governor Announces Creation of Technical Advisory Board 5/23/20

Gov. Asa Hutchinson provided a brief update on what he referred to as the second peak of COVID-19 cases in the state during Saturday’s coronavirus response briefing. There were 163 new cases, including 23 in Benton County and 20 in Washington County. There were also five additional hospitalization bringing the total to 86 and two additional deaths bringing that total to 115. The governor also urged residents to continue to be disciplined in their personal safety habits especially during the holiday weekend.

Hutchinson said the additional testing done this month puts the state at a five percent positivity rate. He also remarked that Arkansas has the lowest death rate in the country from the virus and remains in a good position to handle hospitalizations since the state’s facilities haven’t been overwhelmed by severely ill patients during the entirely of the outbreak. The expanded testing has also allowed for better contact tracing and the identification of any problem areas.

As of noon, the governor said 13,000 applicants have been sent payments through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the Departments of Finance and Commerce will work through the holiday weekend to go through the applications. Hutchinson also announced the formation of a Technical Advisory Board, which has been charged with looking at new technologies that could help the state manage the infrastructure necessary to continue managing its coronavirus response into the fall. To watch the full briefing, click here

Governor Provides Update on Distribution of PUA and Ready for Business Funds 5/22/20

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Governor Asa Hutchinson gave an update on the distribution of funds from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Arkansas Ready for Business programs and stressed the importance of practicing social distancing heading into the holiday weekend. As of noon, the PUA website accepted more than 7,100 applications from unemployed self-employed workers. More than 3,000 checks should go out to approved claimants tonight. Between 60 and 70 people will be working through the weekend to expedite approved PUA claims.

Meanwhile, nearly 8,200 small business applicants have been approved for a Ready for Business grant, which aims to provide financial assistance for costs associated with reopening safely. State Secretary of Health Nate Smith said the health department hasn’t found a connection between the most recent cases of coronavirus and business reopenings. For the full briefing, click here.

State Has Largest Single-Day Increase in COVID-19 Cases 5/21/20

In today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 5,458 positive cases, an increase of 455 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 226 are community cases and 229 come from the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the FCI cases are not new. Officials knew about them, but they were not yet included in the state’s system. The state has a total of 1,433 active cases. Arkansas has 110 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 3. 

Dr. Smith said more targeted testing will be implemented across the state. He said in many cases these targeted testing events will be conducted in partnership with community health centers. Upcoming events include one May 23 in Washington County.

Gov. Hutchinson said the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance website is secure and operational. As of noon, more than 15,000 claimants have been emailed that they can file weekly claims. He said nearly 4,000 payments were sent out last night and they should arrive in accounts tonight or tomorrow. For the nearly 1,900 people who requested debit cards, their payments are also forthcoming, but will take a little longer to arrive.

The governor announced effective June 1, practice and competition will be allowed for limited-contact team sports like baseball, softball, track and swimming. These sports will have have restrictions like physical distancing and face coverings for coaches and staff. Practice and competition will be prohibited for close-contact sports like basketball, soccer and wrestling. Individual practice with your own equipment is permitted. The directive on close-contact sports will be revisited June 30. Dr. Smith said guidelines are being released today for overnight summer camps. Smith said like the team sports guidelines, the directive is complex and it should be posted online later today. 

Gov. Hutchinson also announced the Crater of Diamonds State Park reopens tomorrow with restrictions like a limit of 500 visitors per day.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Arkansas Surpasses 5,000 COVID-19 Cases 5/20/20

Today’s COVID-19 briefing was led by Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith because Gov. Asa Hutchinson was in Washington D.C. to meet with the president and vice president. Dr. Smith reported the state has 5,003 positive cases, an increase of 80 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 79 are community cases and 1 comes from a correctional facility. The state has a total of 1,044 active cases. Arkansas has 107 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 5. Four of those deaths were nursing home residents.

Dr. Smith said Arkansas set another record for tests. He said yesterday 4,396 tests were conducted and 1.9% of those were positive. Dr. Smith also announced the Arkansas Department of Health’s website has new dashboards that illustrate information like the number of deaths associated by county of residence and the number of active cases per county.

The Secretary of Health offered a summary of cases at correctional institutions around the state. At the Cummins Unit, 951 inmates and 65 staff have tested positive. At the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, 231 inmates and 15 staff have tested positive. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 609 inmates have tested positive, an increase of 24. Dr. Smith said 17 staff and one contractor have tested positive as well.  While the CDC has completed testing at the facility, Dr. Smith said they are still awaiting some more results so those numbers could increase. 

Dr. Smith said an expected announcement regarding overnight summer camps and team sports is being rescheduled for tomorrow when the governor returns.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

All Nursing Home Residents, Staff To Be Tested In June 5/19/20

In today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,923 positive cases, an increase of 110 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 106 are community cases and 4 come from correctional facilities. The state has a total of 1,082 active cases. Arkansas has 102 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of two.

On Saturday, 550 tests were conducted in Forrest City. Gov. Hutchinson says 500 test results have come in with 32 of those positive. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the CDC has completed testing at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City where 585 inmates and 17 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Hutchinson announced a goal to test all nursing home residents and staff starting June 1. He said that will result in 40,000 to 50,000 new tests. As of today, 192 facilities have 0 cases, 18 facilities have 1 case, 10 facilities have 2 to 5 cases, 1 facility has 6 to 10 cases, and 6 facilities have 11 or more cases.

The governor also announced allocated funds for enhanced payment of direct-care workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are being distributed. The first payments went out May 1. Payments, which are approved through May 22, total $21.8 million and are being distributed to more than 8,000 employees.

Regarding the state’s PUA website, Gov. Hutchinson said he does not have a timeframe on when it will reopen. He said an email has been sent to applicants informing them of the situation.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 100 in Arkansas 5/18/20

In today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,813 positive cases, an increase of 54 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 53 are community cases and 1 comes from correctional facilities. The state has a total of  1,068 active cases. Arkansas has 100 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of two.

On Saturday, 550 tests were conducted in Forrest City. As of today’s briefing, Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said officials have 290 test results and of those, 24 were positive. Dr. Smith said he expects to have the remaining test results by this evening.

Gov. Hutchinson announced bars in restaurants can reopen effective May 19. Freestanding bars can reopen May 26. He said the Arkansas Department of Health will be issuing specific restrictions for those businesses as they reopen. 

The governor says the FBI is involved in the investigation of a vulnerability discovered in the state’s Pandemic Assistance Unemployment website. Lindsey Millar, a reporter from the Arkansas Times, said on Friday he alerted the Division of Workforces Services about the vulnerability after an applicant called the Arkansas Times to notify them of the problem. According to Millar, the applicant said they reached out to the Arkansas Times after calling at least two state agencies first to report the issue.

Gov. Hutchinson has been invited to the White House Wednesday to speak with the president and vice president. The governor said he sees it as an opportunity to illustrate what Arkansas is doing to open up the economy. He said they will also likely discuss food processing plants in the state.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here

State PUA System Breached 5/16/20

In today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,578 positive cases, an increase of 115 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 40 are community cases and 75 come from correctional facilities. The state has a total of 1,008 active cases. Arkansas has 98 deaths related to the coronavirus, the same as yesterday. 

At the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, 515 inmates have been tested. Of those 231 were positives, 155 were negative and 129 tests are pending. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the CDC is concluding its testing at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City today. He said so far there is a total of 473 positive cases there, an increase of 138, and it will take some time for those numbers to be reflected in the state’s database. At the Cummins Unit, of the 872 inmates that tested positive, 860 are now considered to have recovered.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last night an applicant illegally accessed the state’s new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system. Because of that, the system had to be shut down. Forensic analysis is being conducted and if any applicant’s date was compromised, Hutchinson said they will be notified and a credit monitoring program will be offered. He said more than 100 staff members continue to work through the weekend, as they have past weekends, to get the system back up so they can start issuing checks in the coming week.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here

 Lodges, Cabins at State Parks Reopen for Weekend Reservations 5/15/20

In today’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,463 positive cases, an increase of 97 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 79 are community cases and 18 come from correctional facilities. The state has a total of 975 active cases. Arkansas has 98 deaths related to the coronavirus, the same as yesterday. 

The governor announced the launch of a new website where you can locate a COVID-19 testing location nearest to you. Beginning May 18, local health units around the state will offer testing. This month, 29,389 tests have been conducted. The governor has a goal of 60,000 tests by the end of the month.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said elective procedures have required patients to be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the procedure. Beginning May 18, that will be extended to 72 hours when 48 hours isn’t feasible.

As of today, state park lodges and cabins are open for weekend reservations. Stacy Hurst, Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said the East and West Summit Trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park will reopen at 5 p.m. today. Parking will be limited to designated parking lots.

Sec. Hurst said the Ozark Folk Center Craft Village will open May 19. She also announced the National Endowment for the Arts is awarding nearly $500,000 to Arkansas. The funds will be subgranted by the Arkansas Arts Council to nonprofit organizations. Gov. Hutchinson said applications will be available following legislative approval.

Gov. Hutchinson also said starting May 18, there’s no retail business that’s not allowed to be open other than bars. He said an announcement about bars will be made Monday. 

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Officials Report 130 New COVID-19 Cases 5/14/20

In today’s daily COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,366 positive cases, an increase of 130 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 113 are community cases and 17 come from correctional facilities. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said more testing is being conducted at the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff.

The state has a total of 928 active cases. Arkansas has 98 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 1 from yesterday. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said nearly $358 million has been paid out through unemployment assistance programs since the pandemic began.

Gov. Hutchinson announced Walmart is adding four more testing sites at Jonesboro, Hot Springs, Texarkana and West Memphis. The governor also said contract tracing is the most effective defense against the virus and is encouraging Arkansans contacted by the Department of Health to be responsive and cooperate with officials. 

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Community Health Centers of Arkansas Commits to 2,000 Tests Each Week 5/13/20

In today’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,236 positive cases, an increase of 72 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 71 are community cases and 1 comes from a correctional facility.  

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the number of positive cases remains the same at the Cummins Unit. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 335 inmates have tested positive, an increase of 3. Dr. Smith said the CDC is conducting additional testing there this week and it’s expected to conclude tomorrow. At the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, 48 inmates and 2 staff have tested positive.

In nursing homes, 316 residents have tested positive, an increase of 17. Meanwhile, 172 staff have tested positive, an increase of 2.  The state has a total of 862 active cases. Arkansas has 97 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 2 from yesterday. 

Community Health Centers of Arkansas is committing to conducting 2,000 COVID-19 tests each week in an effort to reach the governor’s goal of completing 60,000 tests during May. LaShannon Spencer, CEO of CHCA, said they’re currently conducting about 200 tests a week, but they expect to increase that number through partnerships and because they’ve received more testing supplies.   

Gov. Hutchinson also said officials hope to issue PUA check by the end of the month.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Officials Announce Spike in Positive Cases in St. Francis County 5/12/20

In today’s daily COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 4,164 positive cases, an increase of 121 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 100 are community cases and 21 come from correctional facilities. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said at least 27 of those cases are in St. Francis County, which is the same county as the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City. 

Dr. Smith said 3 more inmates have tested positive at the Cummins Unit for a total of 900 inmates. Sixty staff have tested positive, which remains the same as previously reported. There are no new reports from the FCI in Forrest City. 

In nursing homes, 299 residents have tested positive, an increase of 10. Meanwhile, 174 staff have tested positive, an increase of 2.  The state has a total of 849 active cases. Arkansas has 95 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 1 from yesterday. 

The governor announced Arkansas is receiving enough of the drug Remdesivir for 50 patients. It will be distributed by the Arkansas Department of Health. Dr. Smith said as of yesterday, 52 patients were identitified as patients who might meet the criteria to receive the drug. 

Gov. Hutchinson said an announcement about bars that are currently closed will be made May 18. An announcement about summer camps and team sports will be announced May 20. He also announced that a cease and desist order will be issued to TempleLive by the Arkansas Department of Health. The Fort Smith music venue has a concert scheduled for May 15, three days prior to when a directive will allow large indoor venues to reopen if they follow certain guidelines.  

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Governor Delivers Daily Update from El Dorado 5/11/20

Gov. Asa Hutchinson delivered today’s COVID-19 updated from El Dorado. Last week, Murphy Oil announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters from El Dorado to Houston, Texas. The governor said Arkansas has a diverse economy and is in a good position to bounce back from the pandemic. 

Officials reported the state has 4,043 positive cases, an increase of 31 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 6 are in correctional facilities. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 332 inmates and 16 staff have tested positive. That’s an increase of 4 and 1, respectively. 

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said in nursing homes, 289 residents have tested positive, an increase of 3. Meanwhile, 172 staff have tested positive, an increase of 4.  The state has a total of 803 active cases. Of those, 278 are in correctional facilities. Arkansas has 94 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 3 from yesterday. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said he expects more than 100,000 unemployment checks to be issued this week.  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications are being accepted at www.ARUnemployment.com.  Sec. Preston said about 23,000 individuals have filed claims and he hopes to issue checks in the new few weeks. 

About 12,300 applications were filed for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program. Applicants requested a total of $147.7 million. Sec. Preston said has 94 percent were businesses with 50 or fewer employees and 46 percent were women and minority-owned businesses.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Governor Delivers Daily Update from El Dorado 5/10/20

Gov. Asa Hutchinson delivered today’s COVID-19 update from El Dorado. Last week, Murphy Oil announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters from El Dorado to Houston, Texas. The governor said Arkansas has a diverse economy and is in a good position to bounce back from the pandemic. 

Officials reported the state has 4,043 positive cases, an increase of 31 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 6 are in correctional facilities. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 332 inmates and 16 staff have tested positive. That’s an increase of 4 and 1, respectively. 

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said in nursing homes, 289 residents have tested positive, an increase of 3. Meanwhile, 172 staff have tested positive, an increase of 4.  The state has a total of 803 active cases. Of those, 278 are in correctional facilities. Arkansas has 94 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 3 from yesterday. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said he expects more than 100,000 unemployment checks to be issued this week.  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications are being accepted at www.ARUnemployment.com.  Sec. Preston said about 23,000 individuals have filed claims and he hopes to issue checks in the new few weeks. 

About 12,300 applications were filed for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program. Applicants requested a total of $147.7 million. Sec. Preston said has 94 percent were businesses with 50 or fewer employees and 46 percent were women and minority-owned businesses.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Large Venue Directive Revised 5/9/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,984 positive cases, an increase of 237 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 173 come from correctional facililties.

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the correctional institution cases are not cases that have occurred in the last 24 hours. The CDC previously conducted the tests and there was a delay in getting those numbers added to the Arkansas Department of Health’s system. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 301 inmates and 13 staff have tested positive.  

In nursing homes, 286 residents have tested positive, an increase of 16. Meanwhile, 166 staff have tested positive, an increase of 6. The state has a total of 837 active cases. Arkansas has 90 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 2. 

A directive for large outdoor and indoor venues is being updated. Effective May 18, these venues may be allowed to operate with one-third capacity. If that number is more than 50, the venue must submit a proposal to the Arkansas Department of Health for approval.  

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

$147 Million Approved for Arkansas Ready for Business Program 5/8/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,747 positive cases, an increase of 82 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 12 come from correctional facililties. At the Cummins Unit 896 inmates have tested positive, an increase of 10. An additional 6 staff members have tested positive, bringing that total to 60. Arkansas has 88 deaths related to the coronavirus, the same as yesterday. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said there has been legislative approval for up to $147 million for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program.  The program launched with $15 million and was increased to $55 after legislative approval.   

Health Secretary Dr. Smith said there were 2,355 test results reported yesterday with a 2.1% positivity rate. Beginning Monday, some elective procedures requiring overnight stays will be allowed. Procedures requiring an expected overnight stay up to 48 hours will be permitted.  

On May 22 pools, splash pads, water parks and swim beaches may reopen with restrictions including 50 percent capacity, testing the pool’s pH level twice daily, and maintaining 6 feet of distance.

This morning the Economic Recovery Task Force launched a new website that officials describe as a comprehensive resource that includes industry-specific and institution-specific information to help reopen the state’s economy in a safe way.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Arkansas Gaming Casinos Can Resume Limited Operations May 18 5/7/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,665 positive cases, an increase of 97 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 30 come from correctional facililties. Five more inmates from the Cummins Unit tested positive bringing the total to 881 cases there.

Arkansas has 88 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 3. Health Secretary Dr. Smith said one of those was a nursing home-related death. There were 2,174 tests conducted in the state yesterday. Dr. Smith said there was 3.7% positivity rate.

Gov. Hutchinson announced the three gaming casinos in Arkansas will be allowed to reopen with limited operations May 18. They can operate at one-third capacity with stringent social distancing guidelines in place. The governor said more specific guidelines will be released later today or tomorrow.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Governor Sets Goal to Complete 60,000 COVID-19 Tests in May 5/6/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,568 positive cases, an increase of 72 from yesterday. Of those new cases, 20 came from the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said 301 Forrest City inmates have tested positive, an increase of 37. He said those numbers are not yet reflected in the state’s database. Testing at the facility is being conducted by the CDC.

Arkansas has 85 deaths, an increase of 2. Dr. Smith said one of the deaths was a Cummins inmate. A total of six inmates from the Cummins Unit have now died. The second death was from a nursing home. Dr. Smith said the state has had a total of 33 nursing home deaths. He said officials have noticed a rapid increase in positive cases in a few areas around the state including Texarkana, Jonesboro, West Memphis and Forrest City.

Gov. Hutchinson said the CDC has committed to delivering 90,000 kits and swabs for testing to Arkansas during the month of May. The first shipment is expected this week. The governor has set a goal of completing 60,000 tests this month. He said he’ll talk more about how to achieve that goal Friday.

Dr. Smith said based on a meeting with the state’s dental advisory group yesterday, officials are changing the date that dentists can begin offering non-emergency procedures to May 11. The target date was originally scheduled for May 18.

The state’s Economic Recovery Task Force is launching a website Friday. The new resource will consolidate new guidelines into one place. Gov. Hutchinson has also signed an executive order to waive certain fees to help the oil and gas industry in south Arkansas. 

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Governor Lifts Restrictions on Most Out-of-State Recreational Travelers 5/5/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,496 positive cases, an increase of 38 from yesterday. Of those new cases, four came from correctional facilities. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said 876 inmates at Cummins have tested positive, an increase of three. Dr. Smith said more testing is being conducted at two barracks at Cummins that previously tested negative. He said that’s approximately 100 individuals.

The correctional institution at Forrest City has a total of 264 positive cases, that’s an increase of 92. Dr. Smith said those number will be added to the state’s database in the coming days. Arkansas has 83 deaths, an increase of 2. 

Gov. Hutchinson lifted restrictions on lodging for out-of-state recreational travelers from areas that are not hot spots (New York, New Orleans, New Jersey and Connecticut). The Secretary of Health has the authority to update what locations are considered hot spots.

Dr. Smith said the directive for gyms and fitness centers is being adjusted to include lap lane pools. He said officials are developing guidelines for recreational pools and will release more information later this week.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

Governor Issues Directives for Large Outdoor, Indoor Venues 5/4/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,458 positive cases, an increase of  27 from yesterday.  Arkansas has five more deaths for a total of 81. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said the Cummins unit had a total of 5 inmate deaths over the weekend. Dr. Smith reported Cummins had 18 new cases. The cumulative number of positive cases is 873 inmates. The correctional institution in Forrest City has 172 cases, an increase of 22.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced guidance for houses of worship who want to restart in-person services. Guidelines include encouraging online platforms, 6 feet of distance between people except for family groups, no classes or youth childcare, and no physical contact.

The governor issued a directive for large outdoor venues like arenas, sports venues and race tracks. Beginning today, they can reopen following guidelines like maintaining 12 feet of distance between the performer and audience, 50 or fewer performers/players/contestants, and an audience of 50 or fewer. Large indoor venues like movie theaters and bowling alleys that can meet similar criteria as outdoor venues can start to reopen May 18.

An additional $55 million has been approved for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program. The website will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.  Those who already successfully applied do not need to reapply. More than 75% of funding will go to businesses with 50 or fewer employees and 15% has been designated for women and minority-owned businesses.

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said a team has been testing out the newly-built system for applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. He said he anticipates issuing a press release later this afternoon with instructions.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here.

State Reports First Inmate Deaths 5/2/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,372 positive cases, an increase of  51 from yesterday.  Four of those are from the Department of Corrections. Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said those 4 cases are not new, they have just been entered into the state’s database. 

Arkansas has 9 more deaths for a total of 73. Gov. Hutchinson said 2 of those are inmates and 6 are related to nursing home deaths that were not properly classified and recorded. Dr. Smith said the 2 inmates from Cummins prison were in their 60s, had multiple underlying medical conditions and had been hospitalized for several days. 

Yesterday’s directive allowing hair salons and barbershops to reopen May 6 with certain restrictions has been updated to include cosmetology schools as long as they can meet those same requirements. 

The state has received a PPE decontaminator that will be able to decontaminate a maximum of 80,000 masks per day. Hospitals and clinics will be able to use the service for free. Dr. Smith says the device is paid for by the federal government and is 1 of 60 that has been deployed throughout the country.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here

Hair Salons, Barbershops Can Reopen May 6 with Restrictions 5/1/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,321 positive cases, an increase of  66 from yesterday.  The state has 3 more deaths for a total of 64.

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith says the ADH is working with the CDC on its work in the correctional institution in Forrest City. The facility has 135 inmates who’ve tested positive, that’s an increase of 34 and he noted not all of those cases have been added to the ADH’s database yet. 

Dr. Smith said 1,973 Arkansans have recovered, that’s an increase of 668. He said the large number is a result of going back through data and recategorizing people as recovered. The state at 1,284 active cases. 

A COVID-19 dental advisory group is forming to help prepare dentists who can start to resume some activities May 18. They’re expected to meet early next week. 

Gov. Hutchinson announced hair salons and barbershops can reopen May 6. Phase One restrictions include having 10 or fewer people in the facility or no more than 30 percent of stations in use for larger facilities, face coverings for staff and clients as activities permit, and maintaining 6 feet of distance between clients during appointments.

The CARES Act Steering Committee has approved an additional $85 million for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program. The changes to the program are now subject to legislative review and Gov. Hutchinson said he will report back once a decision on that has been made. 

You can watch the entire daily briefing here

Restrictions on Gyms, Fitness Centers Lifted May 4

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,255 positive cases, an increase of 63 from yesterday.  The state has 2 more deaths for a total of 61.

Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith says Arkansas had 2,520 tests reported yesterday, the most in a single day. No new cases have been reported from Cummins prison. Dr. Smith says 13 people from Cummins are hospitalized. That’s two more than yesterday. There are three people on ventilators, the same as yesterday. The correctional institution in Forrest City has 14 new cases for a total of 101. No new staff cases have been reported.

Gov. Hutchinson announced restrictions on gyms and fitness centers will be lifted May 4. Extra measures will be in place including face coverings for staff and patrons except for when they’re actively exercising, a 12-foot distance while working out and during training sessions and classes, as well as sanitizing equipment after each use. Team sports are still not allowed, but Gov. Hutchinson said officials will look at teen and youth sports in mid-to-late May.

The governor said the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program was posted online prematurely yesterday. Hutchinson said the program didn’t have legislative council approval and the website was taken down within an hour. Within that hour he says more than 2,300 businesses applied for over $36 million. About 92% of applicants had fewer than 50 employees. Hutchinson says none of the applications for the $15 million grant program have been approved.  He says officials won’t reopen the website until they know how much funding is left, how much funding will be put toward this initative, and until they decide if there are any changes that will be made to the program.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here

Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Funds Used Up

The $15 million Arkansas Ready for Business grant program announced by the governor yesterday has already run out of funding. According to a tweet from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the program received over 2,000 applications in an hour, exceeding the allocated funding.

The commission will make an announcement if additional funds become available.

Restaurants Allowed to Offer Limited Dine-In Service Beginning May 11  4/29/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,192 positive cases, an increase of 81 from yesterday.  There are no new cases at correctional institutions. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith says 11 inmates from Cummins prison have been hospitalized. Three are on ventilators. The state has 59 deaths, an increase of 7.

Hutchinson announced restaurants can begin to offer limited dine-in service beginning May 11. Restaurants will only be allowed to operate at a third of their occupancy during this first phase. Staff will also need to use personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. The cost of PPE may be offset by the new Arkansas Ready for Business grant program. The $15 grant program will allow $1,000 per employee up to $100,000 per company. Applications will be available later today at www.arkansasedc.com/covid19.

You can watch the full daily briefing here

State Parks Begin to Reopen for In-State Travelers May 1 4/27/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,111 positive cases, an increase of 94 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 20 come from Cummins prison. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith says 860 inmates and 51 staff members have tested positive at Cummins. That’s an increase of 4 and 1, respectively.

At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 87 inmates and 12 staff members have tested positive. That’s an increase of 8 and 1, respectively. One worker has tested positive at the Ester Unit. Dr. Smith says inmates in contact with that worker were tested and results were negative. The state has 52 deaths, an increase of 2.

Stacy Hurst, Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, says on May 1 campgrounds at state parks will reopen for overnight use for in-state travelers in self-contained RV units. Campground bathhouses will not reopen. Staff and visitors should still practice physical distancing.

Cabins, lodges and other overnight facilities will reopen to Arkansas travelers May 15. Reservations will be limited to Friday through Monday to allow for proper sanitation between rentals. State parks will also offer limited food service. Marinas will be open and rentals will be available. Some high-use trails that have been closed will remain closed for now. Sec. Hurst says if the situation becomes dangerous or problematic, they will reexamine things and make new recommendations.

You can watch the full daily briefing here

Arkansas Averages More than 1,500 Daily Tests During Surge Campaign 4/27/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 3,017 positive cases, an increase of 76 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 16 come from tests at Cummins prison. Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith says there ate 856 positive cases at Cummins. There are 50 staff members who’ve tested positives and Smith says awaiting more test results. The state has 50 deaths, an increase of 1. 

Dr. Smith says over the weekend they tested about 250 from the Marshallese community and found 4 positive cases.

Restrictions on elective procedures were lifted today for clinics that could meet certain criteria. For example, patients must be tested within 48 hours of the procedure.

You can watch the full daily briefing here

No Traditional Graduation Ceremonies Will Be Allowed Before July 1

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 2,830 positive cases, an increase of 89 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 47 come from tests on inmates at Cummins prison.  A total of 826 inmates have tested positive, an increase of 136. Officials are awaiting more results, but 33 staff members have tested positive. Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith says this is a change from the previously stated 35 staff members because some people had been double counted. The state has 49 deaths, an increase of 3. 

The governor also announced there will be no traditional high school graduations before July 1. Education Commissioner Johnny Key says they will begin accepting proposals for schools’ ideas for nontraditional graduation celebrations starting this week.

You can watch the full daily briefing here.

State Experiences Largest Single Day of Test Results 4/24/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 2,741 positive cases, an increase of  276 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 198 come from tests on inmates at Cummins prison.  A total of 690 inmates and more than 30 staff at Cummins have tested positive.  At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 79 inmates and 11 staff members have tested positive. The state has 46 deaths, an increase of 1. In the last 24 hours, the state has seen 2,808 test results, the most in a single day.

Gov. Hutchinson has signed a disaster declaration for 11 counties because of recent storm damage. He also signed a letter requesting a federal disaster declaration for the tornado that caused damage in Jonesboro March 28. The governor has announced May 18 as the target date to allow some in-office dental procedures to resume under certain conditions.

The governor is approving $1 million to support a bridge loan program. For those filing for unemployment, the EZARC website will be down for maintainence from 6 a.m. to noon tomorrow. Beginning Sunday, the call center will be open 7 days a week for those filing claims. Officials say 170,000 claims have been filed in Arkansas so far.

You can watch the full daily briefing here.

Governor Announces Two-Day Surge Testing Campaign

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 2,465 positive cases, an increase of 189 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 122 come from tests on inmates at the Cummins prison.  A total of  687 inmates and 35 staff at Cummins have tested positive.  At the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, 75 inmates and 10 staff members have tested positive. The state has 45 deaths, an increase of 3.

The governor announced a two-day surge campaign where all Arkansans with symptoms or those who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus are encouraged to get tested Friday and Saturday. Hutchinson says the goal is to increase testing across the state over the next two days. 

The governor’s working group to expand testing capacity has issued four recommendations:

1. Expand testing for all patients with symptoms and history of exposure

2. Expand testing for contact investigations

3. Screen for COVID-19 in high-risk settings

4. Develop a strategy for statewide serosurveillance (antibody testing)

You can watch the full daily briefing here.

Governor Announces Timeline for Decisions on Restaurants, Gyms  4/22/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 2,276 positive cases, an increase of  49 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 13 come from tests on inmates at the Cummins prison. As of last night, 681 inmates and 14 staff at Cummins have tested positive.  Officials have decided to test additional barracks at the prison.

Officials report 1 less death today because one person was reclassified as a Missouri death. The total in Arkansas is now 42.  As of today, 863 people have recovered, an increase of 54.  

Gov. Hutchinson announced restrictions on elective procedures in Arkansas hospitals and clinics will be lifted effective Monday. Health Secretary Nate Smith said they will issue more guidelines on the issue later today or in the morning. The governor also announced the following timeline for deciding whether or not to lift restrictions on various businesses by his May 4 target date:  

April 29: Decision on restaurants

April 30: Decision on gyms

May 1: Decision on beauty salons and barbershops

May 4: Decision on places of worship and other larger venues

You can watch the daily briefing here.

Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force Meets for First Time 4/21/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 2,227 positive cases, an increase of 304 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 262 come from tests on inmates at the Cummins prison. As of last night, 670 inmates and at least 10 staff at Cummins have tested positive.  Officials are awaiting more test results from the prison.

There has been 1 more death, bringing the state’s total to 43.  As of today, 809 people have recovered, an increase of 60. The governor also signed an executive order creating a working group on testing capacity in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force met for the first time today. Chairman Steuart Walton said the group is working to develop an initial set of recommendations by May 4, the governor’s target date to start lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Walton also said the task force will issue an interim report by the end of May and a final report by the end of June.

You can watch the daily briefing here.

State’s COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 40 4/20/20

During today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 1,923 positive cases, an increase of 142 from yesterday.  Of those new cases, 117 come from tests on inmates at the Cummins prison. There has been 2 more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 42.  As of today, 749 people have recovered, an increase of 28. 

Officials also reminded the audience that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Division of Child and Family Services reports there have been 3,148 calls to the Arkansas child abuse hotline since the pandemic started. That’s an almost 50 percent increase for the same time period last year. Suspected child abuse and neglect can be reported to the hotline at 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD.

You can watch the daily briefing here.

Officials Report State’s First Health Care Worker Death 4/19/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith reported two more deaths brining the state’s total to 40. Both people were under the age of 65. One was a health care worker who Smith said worked at Jefferson Regional and was associated with the state’s first cluster of cases.

Arkansas has 1,781 positive cases, an increase of 42 from yesterday. As of today, 721 people have recovered, an increase of 18. The count for total cases does not yet reflect the positive cases at Cummins prison. Officials report about 1,400 people have been tested at Cummins unit. There are 348 inmates who’ve tested positive, an increase of 118. Six staff have also tested positive.

The prison population has been separated into eight barracks with positive cases and seven barracks with negative cases. Governor Asa Hutchinson says they may need more space as the pandemic continues so he’s asking for a review of all nonviolent offender are not sex offenders that are due for release in the next six months. He says 271 inmates have been released from county jails across the state. 

You can watch the full briefing here

Governor Creates Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force 4/18/20

At today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 1,739 positive cases, an increase of 44 from yesterday. There has been one additional death bringing the total to 38. As of today, 703 people have recovered, an increase of 110.

The governor announced $10 million is being distributed to 27 hospitals. The funds come from a Community Development Block Grant program and have been allocated for hospital recovery. Hutchinson also announced he has signed an executive order to the create the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force. It will include 27 leaders from the private sector and public agencies who will examine the impact of COVID-19 on business and industries in the state. The task force, which will meet next week, will develop an industry-specific strategy and make recommendations to the governor for the state’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Officials Set Target Date to Start Easing Restrictions 4/17/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 1,695 positive cases, an increase of 75 from yesterday.  Deaths remain at 37.  As of today, 593 people have recovered, an increase of 45. 

The governor’s Medical Advisory Committee for Post-Peak COVID-19 Response has issued a report identifying four priorities for post-peak response. These include restoring the state’s economy in a timely fashion, protecting the most vulnerable, maintaining good public health care and capacity, and preventing resurgence.

Officials are setting May 4 as a target date for when restrictions may begin being lifted around the state.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Health Department Reports Four More Deaths Related to COVID-19 – 4/16/20

At today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 1,620 positive cases, an increase of 51 from yesterday.  There has been 4 more deaths, bringing the state’s total to 37.  As of today, 548 people have recovered, an increase of 59. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced updates for those filing for unemployment insurance including a new website (www.ARUnemployment.com) and expanded hours for the filing hotline (1-844-908-2178). Preston also announced that those who qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance can sign up here to be notified via email when and how to apply for PUA once the system is in place.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Governor Announces Approval of Medicaid Waiver – 4/15/20

During today’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 1,569 positive cases, an increase of 71 from yesterday.  There has been 1 more death, bringing the state’s total to 33.  As of today, 489 people have recovered, an increase of 45. 

Officials are relaxing testing criteria so anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can get tested. Gov. Hutchinson has also announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the state’s request to use Medicaid funds to temporarily increase the weekly income of long-term services and supports (LTSS) direct-care workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

You can watch the daily briefing here.

Governor Issues Two New Executive Orders – 4/14/20

At the time of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing, there were 88 new cases of coronavirus bringing the total to 1,498. There were also two new deaths, as well as a total of 28 nursing homes with at least one positive case of COVID-19. Ten percent of the state’s overall cases were made up of incarcerated populations. The governor said overall interstate travel was down 55 percent and the state would be launching signs on highway message boards reminding recreational travelers that recreational accommodations are banned.

Hutchinson also issued two new executive orders. The first lets first responders and frontline healthcare workers cite COVID-19 as a reason for filing for workers’ compensation. The second provides liability immunity for medical emergency responders.

Arkansas Health Secretary Nate Smith said the state’s disease tracing and tracking team now includes 78 nurses, along with ten disease intervention specialists and three epidemiologists, who are using a system called Situational Awareness and Response Assistant to help them in their work.

You can watch the daily briefing here.


Arkansas Covid-19 Map (Updated Daily)

Courtesy of Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Sharing valuable information on Covid-19 in NWA

We thought it would be helpful to amass as much information as we can to help you as you go about your day. There is plenty of information out there but we figured that if you are listening to podcasts and learning more about the area that you call home you should stay informed.


  • Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 Update Page
  • ADH Coronavirus Hotline: 1-800-803-7847 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F) After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response call 501-661-2136 
  • Washington Regional Screening Clinics  are located in Fayetteville and Eureka Springs
  • Washington Regional Screening Hotline: 479-463-2055
  • Community Clinic is offering screening at locations in Prairie Grove, Siloam Springs, Springdale, and Rogers. Call 1-855-438-2280 for more information.
  • Mercy is operating at the drive-through evaluation site at 2090 S. Promenade Blvd. in Rogers. You must call 479-717-7585 to be screened and make an appointment first.

Northwest Arkansas Council – Covid-19 Resources


Our friends over at Single Parent Scholarship Fund have put together a great resource for all of us dealing with Covid-19. This information is especially helpful for those young people that rely on Free or Reduced Meals at School.

Please visit: https://www.spsfnwa.org/nwa-covid-19-resources/


NWA Business Resources

Google has experienced a 285% increase in search for Take-Out. Are you making sure that your information is up to date on Google, hours, etc?!? This article was geared to Restaurants but most businesses could benefit from updating their information with any changes to how you run your business during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

How Restaurants can better assist customers during times of uncertainty


Announcements on 4/5/20

Washington Regional Updates Screening Clinic Hours

Washington Regional’s Coronavirus Screening Clinic in Fayetteville has revised its hours to 10 a.m. from 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Announcements on 4/3/20

Walmart Changes Shopping Process to Encourage Social Distancing

Beginning tomorrow Walmart will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once. Stores will allow no more than 5 customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity. Details available here

Walmart has also announced its annual Shareholders Meeting on June 3 will be a virtual meeting only.


Malco Provides Popcorn To Go

Starting today Malco Theatres is delivering freshly-popped popcorn to your car. Participating locations include the Razorback Cinema Grill & IMAX and the Rogers Towne Cinema Grill. Details available here


Announcements on 4/2/20

Buffalo National River Scenic Area Closed Until Further Notice

The National Park Service has announced the closure of the Buffalo National River to recreational use until further notice. This closure includes the Buffalo River, trails, open space, and campgrounds. You can read the full statement here.


Announcements on 3/31/20

MANA Family Medicine South Clinic Now Open

MANA Family Medicine South has opened a separeate clinic that exclusively serves patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms, located at 2523 East Huntsville Road in Fayetteville.  The clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 479-422-2822. 


Fayetteville Farmer’s Market Spring Opening Postponed 

In order to prevent community spread of COVID-19, the opening day of the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market at the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens has been postponed until at least April 25, 2020, with opening subject to change.  Instead, customers have the option to place orders for goods online here


Walton Arts Center Rescheduling Spring Shows, Additonal Cancelations 

Performances at the Walton Arts Center are suspended through May 9, with some shows being rescheduled for Spring 2021 and some shows being canceled until further notice.  For more information, click here


Arkansas Coronavirus Cases Surpass 500

On Tuesday morning, there were more than 500 cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health online tracking system.

Announcements on 3/30/20

Mercy Adapts, Expands Services In Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

Mercy hospitals in Fort Smith and NWA will open temporary triage space near main ER entrances specifically for those who think they have COVID-19, where patients can be isolated from others with non-COVID-19 related issues.  The majority of non-emergent visits will also transition to virtual spaces in order to decrease risk of exposure, and specialized convenient care clinics for those with suspected respiratory illnesses have been opened as well.  For more information, click here


21c Museum Hotel Temporarily Closes

The 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, along with the rest of the 21c Museum Hotel properties, is closing and suspending all exhibitions and cultural programming until futher notice.  For more information, click here

Announcements on 3/28/20

State Lawmakers Pass Rainy Day Funding for Coronavirus Response During Special Session

At around 1 a.m. this morning, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a bill that created a $173 million COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund that helps fill budget holes and unexpected needs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 


Announcements on 3/27/20

 Community Clinic Adds Fifth Coronavirus Testing Location

Starting Monday, March 30, Community Clinic will open a fifth coronavirus screening and testing site outside its Springdale Medical and Pediatric location. Meanwhile, the Prairie Grove Elementary School testing site will move to Fayetteville Medical. The five sites offer testing based on current CDC guidelines. Patients with coronavirus-like symptoms are encouraged to call ahead, but can also walk up to one of the testing sites for screening. The other three sites are Siloam Springs Medical, Rogers Medical, and Elmdale Elementary School-Based Health Center. For more information about Community Clinic, click here.


Announcements on 3/26/20

Fort Smith’s Steel Horse Rally Postponed Until August

According to a press release sent out this morning, the 2020 Steel Horse Rally in Fort Smith is moving to August. The 6th annual charity motorcycle festival was originally scheduled for early May. The new dates are August 21 and 22.


ADH Issues Advisory for Travelers from New York, International Locations

The Arkansas Department of Health is recommending self home quarantine for 14 days for all travelers from New York state and all international locations. You can find details of home quarantine here

Announcements on 3/25/20

Siloam Springs Park Amenities Close, Trails Remain Open

Effective today at 3:00 p.m., the City of Siloam Springs will close all park amenities, including bathrooms.  For more information, click here


Revised Hours for Washington Regional Coronavirus Screening Clinic and Hotline 

Effective today, the Washington Regional Coronavirus Screening Clinic, located at 3318 N. North Hills Boulevard, will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The Washington Regional Coronavirus Screening Hotline (479-463-2055) will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 pm.  For more information, click here


Temporary Drivers License Testing Schedule Continues

The Arkansas State Police will continue Class D (conventional motor vehicle) driver license testing under the temporary and limited adjustments made effective on March 18.


Rogers Elementary School Student Tests Positive for COVID-19

The Rogers School District announced Tuesday that a student at Tucker Elementary tested positive for coronavirus. For more information from Superintendent Marlin Berry, click here.


Washington County Sheriff Tests Negative for Coronavirus

In a post on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Sheriff Tim Helder announced that he has tested negative for COVID-19 after his son had tested positive earlier in the week. Helder said he never came in contact with his son, but self-quarantined and was tested out of an abundance of caution.


Arkansas man dies from covid-19, deputy coroner says; death is state’s first known from illness

A 91-year-old man died at 8 a.m. this morning from covid-19 at Conway Regional Medical Center, a deputy Faulkner County coroner confirmed.
READ MORE

Courtesy of Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Announcements on 3/24/20

Mayor Jordan Announces Additional Regulations

Fayetteville’s Mayor Jordan announced a fifth policy under Ordinance 6292 implementing temporary limitations regarding developer submissions, park amenities, fishing licenses, and an upcoming ban on polystyrene.  Click here for details. 


Crystal Bridges and The Momentary Cancelations Extended

Crystal Bridges and The Momentary are extending their closure, with hopes to reopen April 17.  For more information, click here


Siloam Springs Update

The Siloam Springs District Court and Court Offices will be closed until April 3, in aim to reopen on April 6.  There will be no penalty for late payments through April 6.  Click here for more information. 


COVID-19 Cases Stand at 206 Tuesday Morning

The Arkansas Department of Health unveiled a new GIS map Monday, which you can view here. According to the latest data, there are 206 coronavirus cases in the state and seven people have recovered.


Announcements on 3/23/20

Mercy Expands Visitor Restrictions 

Beginning March 24 at 6:00 a.m., Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas is expanding visitor restrictions.  Restrictions will apply to all hospitals and clinics.  Only visitors that meet the following criteria will be allowed: 

  • Visitors must be 18 years or older for patients receiving end of life care. 
  • One visitor, 18 years of age or older, per laboring mother. 
  • One parent per pediatric patient at a time. 
  • One escort per visitor in wheelchairs. 
  • One visitor or driver, 18 years of age or older, per patient undergoing urgent procedures. 
  • Emergency Room Visitors: one visitor per ER patient deemed to be in critical condition by the ER physician; one visitor per ER patient in a wheelchair and requiring assistance; minor patients may be accompanied by one parent. 

For more information, click here


Bentonville Public Library Closes Temporarily

The Bentonville Public Library will be closed to the public until April 17.  All library programs and meeting room usage is suspended indefinitely, at least to the end of April.  Book drops at the Library and Community Center are also closed during this time.  The due date for all items has been extended to May 1, 2020.  For more information, contact library@bentonvillear.com or click here


UA Announces First Case of COVID-19

Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz sent an email today announcing officials learned over the weekend that a University of Arkansas student has been diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the email, the student, who had recently been in contact with someone who had visited from out-of-state, is symptomatic and is in self-isolation off-campus. Most students are not on campus during spring break this week. Others are in the process of moving out of university-managed housing by Apr. 3 or have already moved home to finish the semester remotely.


Announcements on 3/22/20

COVID-19 Cases Jump to 165 in Arkansas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson reports Arkansas now has 165 cases of COVID-19. This represents an increase of 47 cases since yesterday. This represents the largest-single day increase in Arkansas so far. Gov. Hutchinson says this is to be expected because it’s reflective or more tests being conducted.


Washington County Sheriff Self-Quarantines After Son Tests Positive for COVID-19

Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder announced Saturday on Facebook that he and his wife are self-quarantining after his son, who lives out of state, tested positive for COVID-19. In the post, Helder writes there has been no exposure to any sheriff’s office employees or detainees. You can read the full statement on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page here.


Announcements on 3/21/20

Governor Authorizes $30 Million for PPE

Governor Asa Hutchinson has authorized the release of $30 million to the Department of Finance and Administration for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care professionals and first responders. Details available here


City Council, Planning Commission to be Conducted Virtually

The city of Fayetteville will move to virtual access for City Council and Planning Commission meetings until further notice. The Planning Commission Meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 23 will be the ctiy’s first virtual meeting. In advance of these meetings, a sign will be posted on the front doors of City Hall (which is closed to the public) alerting people how to join the meeting. More information can be found here


Sebastian County Has First Case of COVID-19

Gov. Asa Hutchinson reports Arkansas now has 118 cases of COVID-19. That includes the first case in Sebastian County. Officials say 13 people are hospitalized 7 of whom required a stay in the ICU and 4 were on a ventliator at some point. The daily press briefing can be viewed here

Announcements on 3/20/20

COVID-19 Cases in Arkansas Jump to 96 Including First Case in Benton County

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 96 cases of COVID-19 in the state Friday, including the first positive case in Benton County.


NWA National Airport (XNA) Limits Access to Terminal Building

Starting at 2 p.m. March 20, XNA will restrict entry to the terminal to the main entrance, which is the middle of the three sets of automatic doors, directly in front of the escalators. Only individuals who are traveling will be allowed to enter the terminal.


Walton Arts Center is suspending all performances and events until May 9.  More information about ticket refunds/options is available here.


Washington Regional Medical Center Reschedules Non-Urgent Surgeries, Procedures, Tests

Washington Regional Medical Center will reschedule all non-urgent surgeries, procedures, and diagnostic tests to preserve resources, supplies, and staffing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The new measure goes into effect on March 21 and will be re-evaluated on a weekly basis.


Siloam Springs Update:

Effective March 20, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., all city buildings will have limited access to the public.  Details below. 

  • Board of Directors meetings will continue.  Comments and voice messages can be sent to cityadmin@siloamsprings.com.  Please specify that you wish for your comments to be entered into the record.  Watch board meetings here. 
  • Utility bills (electric, water, sewer, trash) can be paid online here.  Cash payments will not be accepted at this point.  Contact 479-524-5136 ext. 1 for additional help. 
  • The Transfer Station is closed to the public effective today March 20.  Trash routes will continue to operate as normal.  Recycling services are temporarily canceled but can be dropped off in the outdoor collection bins at the Transfer Station.  
  • Spring Cleaning will continue as scheduled on April 6.  Click here for more information. 
  • The Community Lobby is closed to the public.  For appointments, contact 479-373-6466.
  • The Animal Shelter is closed until further notice.  For more information, contact 479-524-6535. 
  • Public Works is closed to the public.  For appointments, contact 479-238-0921. 
  • The Police Department Lobby asks that if you need records, make an appointment at 479-524-4118 ext. 5012 or search online here.  Patrol and emergency services will continue as normal. 
  • The Public Library is closed until further notice.  For more information click here

NWACC Extends Online Classes

NWACC is extending online classes though the duration of the spring 2020 semester, as well as postponing spring commencement ceremonies.  For more information click here


Announcements on 3/19/20

ARVEST – Beginning Friday, March 20th, all Arvest lobbies and in-store branch locations will be closed until further notice to fight the spread of COVID-19.  Arvest will continue to offer a drive-thru, Live Teller, and ATM services at branches that feature these capabilities.  More information available here.


The City of Fayetteville Utilities Department will not discontinue water service for delinquent accounts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Residents can continue to drink and use tap water as usual without fear of water shutoffs for the foreseeable future. 


The City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department is closing to the public effective immediately.  Staff will be answering calls at 479-444-3471 and emails at parks@fayetteville-ar.gov.  Most park restrooms will also be closed indefinitely to limit community spread of COVID-19. 


The city of Fayetteville is suspending its curbside recycling program to limit community spread of COVID-19 beginning March. 23. 


Announcements on 3/18/20

Washington County and the City of Fayetteville have been notified of a presumptive positive test for COVID-19 for one of its residents. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today. You can watch it here


The Supreme Court of Arkansas is suspending all in-person proceedings in all appellate, circuit and district courts, subject to exceptions in this order. The suspension will last from March 18 through April 3. More information is available here.


Walmart – Beginning March 19, stores will be open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until further notice. Walmart will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday starting March 24. The store will have limits for customers in certain categories. More information available here.


University of Arkansas students are required to leave all university-run housing by April 3. This includes residence halls, university-managed apartments, and greek housing.  Students may petition for an exception with University Housing for reasons including personal safety, access to the Internet, no other available housing, academic distress or other legitimate reasons. For more details go to housing.uark.edu/coronavirus.


Announcements on 3/17/20

Tyson Foods is giving away 40,000 pounds of frozen chicken to Springdale families Friday. Details here.


Community Clinic is opening external testing treatment sites tomorrow. Sites include Siloam Springs, Rogers, Elmdale Elementary School-Based Health Center and Prairie Grove Elementary School-Based Health Center.


Samaritan Community Center is offering drive-thru food service at its Rogers and Springdale locations. A schedule is available here.

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And, Be Encouraged! This too shall pass.