Apr 7, 2020

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Coronavirus Briefing April 7

Asa Hutchinson Briefing April 8
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Coronavirus Briefing April 7

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas gave a coronavirus update April 7. Read the full transcript of his press conference here.

 

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Governor Asa Hutchinson: (00:58)
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us for today’s COVID 19 update. As you can see, I wore my mask in to the room today and yes it was a Razorback mask. I’m happy to wear multiple other sports mask as they are provided to me, but we’re practicing that when you cannot appropriately socially distance they and trying to set a good example. I’m delighted to be joined today by Dr. Nate Smith, our Secretary of Health, of course. Today also by Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas state police. Special guest, today. I’m very honored to be joined by Mayor Frank Scott who will make remarks shortly as well. With that, I first want to give special thanks to our childcare workers in our state, that during this time are taking special effort to make sure that they can provide childcare for our healthcare workers for those that are in essential services for our first responders and others.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (02:10)
And I know that they’re practicing social distancing within their childcare facility, but I wanted to recognize them for their work and for them supporting the community that has to be out there and working during this time. Yesterday I reported 875 cases in Arkansas, with 74 hospitalized and 16 deaths. As 875 cases yesterday, there’s an additional 71 cases have been added today for a total of 946. Two new counties have been added, Logan County and Clay County. And Dr. Smith will be providing more details on these. We have completed over the last 24 hours, 1400 tests in Arkansas, which is the largest number of tests in any 24 hour period. And so as you can see, that continues to accelerate. I received a text this morning from a friend who said, “Just returned from our local Harps store. Most shoppers, at least 3/4 had masks on and respecting social distancing.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (03:28)
That’s what brings us success in Arkansas. That’s what’s going to beat this virus. And I applaud all of those who are taking this seriously and helping us out. One of the reasons of course that we try to slow the spread is that we minimize hospitalization and we flatten the curve. And you know that I like to look at the charts, I like to see where we are and I think the public does as well. So if we could put up … Hope we can go down to the each one of those charts separately if we can. Where’s the one with each one? There we go. All right. Let’s first look at where we are with our cases per 100,000. This cases per 100,000 and as you can see, here we have our surrounding states cases per 100,000, and there it’s in a bar graph form as to where Arkansas is in relation to our surrounding states, with Arkansas having 31.8 cases per 100,000 which is on the low side of cases.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (04:37)
Louisiana obviously has 327, which is one of the hotspots. Texas at 28.9, Oklahoma 35.4, Missouri 39, Tennessee has a larger problem 59, and Mississippi 58. You can see where we are in relation to our cases. And then of course, people will say, “Well that is reflective of the tests that you do and what you know about the tests.” And so if you look at our tests, here are, these are tests per 100,000. And here again, Arkansas ranks about in the middle of our testing. And so the testing challenge is really mirrored across the country. Now Louisiana has the most tests because they have the greatest challenge and the greatest number of symptomatic people. Texas is 339 tests per 100,000, Arkansas has 454, so we’re more than Texas, way more than Oklahoma at 73.3 per 100,000, Tennessee has more tests, they have a greater number of cases.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (05:49)
And you say, “Well, those can be disputed different ways.” And so the key thing that’s really hard to say is not a good measuring stick is the number of people who are hospitalized. Because if you’re ill, you’re hospitalized. And so here shows us with our surrounding states, hospitalizations per 100,000. Here, Arkansas in the bar graph is right at the very bottom. We have 2.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people compared to 9.1 in Oklahoma, 3.3 in Texas, Louisiana 39, Mississippi 11, Tennessee 5.5, Missouri 7.1. And so this is a good measuring stick as to how we compare with our surrounding states. And I go through that not to say yes, we’re doing a great job or to say we’re out of the woods yet on this because anything could happen down the road and we have to be prepared for it. But I share this because it should be an encouragement to the people of Arkansas that our targeted approach is working. That what you’re doing in terms of social distancing, wearing a mask, not having gatherings more than 15, that makes a difference in how we get out of this, how soon we get out of this and that we beat that curve. And so I want to thank everybody for paying such close attention to it and doing a good job. I also wanted to announce today that I had a call today from Dr. Bruce Murphy at Heart Hospital. And they have received from Abbott labs, as you know the quick tests that Abbott labs is producing, going to the hotspots around the country.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (07:42)
And I was able to call Dr. Smith and say the Heart Hospital is donating through Abbott labs, 500 tests for health care workers specified for healthcare workers so they can have a quick test, know whether they’ve got an issue, have it dealt with and get back in service hopefully. But that’s just a way that we can support our healthcare workers. And I want to thank the Heart Hospital and Dr. Bruce Murphy for bringing it as a resource to us. And with that, let me recognize Dr. Nate Smith for his comments and then I’ll come back and introduce the Mayor.

Dr. Nate Smith: (08:26)
Thank you, Governor. Before we go over the numbers of cases and the detail on those, I’d just like to give a little bit more detail to what the governor said about our testing. Yesterday we receive results from 1,436 tests and we had a 1.6% positivity rate. This is the greatest number of test results we’ve received in a 24 hour period to date and the lowest or one of the lowest at least, positivity rates. Now most of those tests were reported from commercial labs, 1,285 of those. The Arkansas Department of Health Public Health Lab did 73. Now we were doing targeted testing in high risk populations and so our positivity rate was 16.4, 16.4%. UAMS did 78 tests and they had a 2.6% positivity. We are increasing our testing in the state and we are actually seeing lower positivity rates even though we’re able to test more people.

Dr. Nate Smith: (09:42)
Of the 946 cases that we currently have, that is a 71 increase over yesterday. We have two new counties, Logan and Clay counties. We have the racial breakdown of those cases. 67% white, 23% African American. Of those 946, 21 are children less than the age of 18, 237 or 25% are older Arkansans age 65 or older. And the full age range breakdown will be on our website later today. We have 134 healthcare workers who have tested positive. That’s 12 more than yesterday. We have 61 nursing home residents. That’s two more than yesterday. We have 74 currently hospitalized. That’s the same number as yesterday. Although, we had people discharged from the hospital, we had people admitted to the hospital. We’ve had 148 who have ever been hospitalized. Currently on the ventilator, we have 26, which is…

Dr. Smith: (11:03)
… utilized. Currently on the ventilator we have 26, which is four more than yesterday. We have 18 deaths. That’s two more than yesterday. Both of those deaths were in the age range of 65 and older. We now have 152 who have recovered, that’s 50 more than yesterday and I want to take a moment just to talk about criteria for recovered.

Dr. Smith: (11:26)
For people who are outside of a hospital setting, if they have been seven days out from the onset of their symptoms and at least three days free of fever, we consider them to be recovered. It doesn’t require that they get tested again, in fact, sometimes it’s difficult to interpret those tests. Now, if a patient’s in the hospital, we have a test-based criteria because we’ve got more concern about infection control in that setting, but for those who are outside of the hospital, seven days after the onset of fever and three days free… seven days after the onset of symptoms and three days free of fever is the criteria we’re using, which is from the CDC.

Dr. Smith: (12:12)
Of the healthcare workers we now have 16 physicians, that’s one more than yesterday. 41 nurses, that’s five more than yesterday. And 19 CNAs, that’s four more than yesterday.

Dr. Smith: (12:28)
I want to give a brief update on the Federal Correctional Institute in Forest City. We now have 24 inmates there who have tested positive and five staff. The CDC team is expected to arrive this evening and hopefully it will be on site tomorrow. We are continuing to work with that facility.

Dr. Smith: (12:51)
A couple quick issues that I wanted to bring up. One is I’ve gotten questions about parking lot services, whether they be Sunday morning services or prayer services in the evenings during the week and concern about that. Parking lot services where people drive in their cars and stay in their cars, that’s a good way for people to be together and without risking the spread of COVID-19, so those are to be encouraged.

Dr. Smith: (13:19)
Now, if people get out of their cars and they start interacting with each other without social distancing, well that’s another story. That could be a problem. But those parking lot services are a good way for people to be together without having that risk of COVID-19 transmission. Likewise, I’ve gotten calls about a parking lot full. It’s not cars in a parking lot that transmit COVID-19, it’s people being too close to each other and so we have some very good examples of retail stores.

Dr. Smith: (13:53)
The governor’s mentioned Walmart before. Lowe’s has put in some good practices to help keep social distancing within their store. We have now captured some of that guidance, best practices and we will be putting out guidance for retail stores later today that gives some best practices to implement as well as some frequently asked questions. And with that I’m going to turn it back over to the governor.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (14:27)
Thank you Dr. Smith. As we go through this emergency, I have to work with a lot of people. I get to work with a lot of people and there’s not been a better partner than Mayor Frank Scott of Arkansas’s largest city. And he and I have worked together closely and I invited him here today to address the importance of compliance with our directives and with his mandates as well. And I would add that I recently amended our executive order that gave cities the flexibility in imposing curfews and closing city or county owned parks and facilities, so long as they do not impede commerce and that they coordinate that with our office. We want to have some common approach to this across the state, but this gives the mayors some flexibility to deal with the special issues in their particular community. With that Mayor Frank Scott.

Mayor Frank Scott: (15:33)
Governor, thank you so much for this opportunity. First and foremost in times where we have uncharted waters, unseen opportunities and unbelievable times, partnership and trust is key as we fight through this pandemic and public health emergency and more so partnership between state and local government.

Mayor Frank Scott: (15:56)
And so we are grateful for the opportunity to lead together as we work through a number of different issues that may be different in Little Rock than it is with Fort Smith. And so when we had this ability to be creative and to issue our own executive orders, helps us to navigate these waters as successfully as possible.

Mayor Frank Scott: (16:17)
As we all understand the different things that happened this past weekend in Little Rock and we issued a caravaning executive order alongside our curfews and things of that nature. We know from a public safety and a public health standpoint, we have to move from education to engagement and now towards enforcement.

Mayor Frank Scott: (16:36)
And as we ramp up other abilities to enforce, it takes resources and people resources. So we’re very appreciative of the partnership with Arkansas State Police as we address public health and public safety as it relates to many of these mandates. But more importantly, as the City of Little Rock works to reset, to restore and to rebuild after COVID-19 because we will get through this, it will be a brighter day. It will take engagement, education and enforcement so we can reset, restore and rebuild. Thank you.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (17:13)
Thank you, Mayor. And again, very grateful for your partnership. And part of that coordination is through the support of the Arkansas State Police. Whenever we hear about a violation or a community hears about somebody not following the guidelines, they can first call our Department of Health hotline. And that way they can deal with it at a public health standpoint.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (17:38)
If they still have issues, the law enforcement can be called in. And I want to bring in Colonel Bryant who’s been a important partner as we address these issues in Arkansas. Colonel Bryan.

Colonel Bryant: (17:50)
Thank you, governor. If y’all remember, I was here March 27th, 2020, in the press conference. And the governor and I shared with you, we had great conversations with our police chiefs, our sheriffs, our prosecutors, Arkansas Game and Fish on how to address this public health emergency from a law enforcement perspective. We all agreed at that time that we would do voluntary compliance, go to our Kansans, seek their voluntary compliance, and I’m glad to report the majority of our Kansans have followed that advice.

Colonel Bryant: (18:26)
But this is a serious matter and in certain circumstances we’ve had some citizens who blatantly disregarded these directives. The directives are very plain, commonsense approach to this public health emergency, but we’re prepared for those people who do not follow those common sense directives or the law that enforcement action will be taken.

Colonel Bryant: (18:45)
By statute, the Arkansas State Police is an assisting agency. This morning I reached out to the command staff of Little Rock Police Department and this goes for every police department and every sheriff’s department in this state. If you need assistance from the Arkansas State Police, we are there.

Colonel Bryant: (18:59)
Whatever tool we have in our toolbox, we are prepared to assist because our major goal as I discussed before is protect the citizens of Arkansas. We protect and serve not only police department, sheriff’s offices, but also the state government of Arkansas. So this has got to be a team effort. It’s good commonsense directives and some of these violations we’ve seen not only the violation of the health directive but it falls in some criminal statutes that could carry more stiffer criminal penalties.

Colonel Bryant: (19:29)
So I urge everybody to use good commonsense, good judgment and we have to get through this together. But Governor, thank you for your leadership and allowing me to speak today. Thank you.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (19:38)
Thank you, Bill. And with that, we’d be happy to take any questions.

Speaker 2: (19:49)
For the Mayor. I just wanted to ask, are you satisfied with the restrictions that we have in place in Arkansas and would you want the Governor to issue a stay-at-home order for Little Rock?

Mayor Frank Scott: (20:05)
Well, the Governor and I have had many conversations as I shared earlier, we visit daily if not twice a day. And that comes with partnership and trust. We have clearly had the ability to issue our curfews and things of that nature. I speak for the City of Little Rock and from the City of Little Rock’s perspective, yes, I believe that is a what’s best for Little Rock, but that may not be what’s best for Fort Smith. And so as the Mayor of this city, that’s something that we desire. However, we will work within the confines of the current laws and great partnership with the Governor. And so we are all working together to protect lives.

Speaker 2: (20:43)
Have you asked the Governor to issue a stay-at-home order for Little Rock?

Mayor Frank Scott: (20:46)
Yes, but again we have the emergency order and we’re working within the confines by being creative and respecting the current order. Thank you.

Speaker 3: (20:59)
In terms of testing, we’ve seen Utah and New Mexico, states that are fairly similar in terms of size and state budgets to Arkansas have tested quite a bit more folks than we have here. And I’m kind of just sort of wondering what’s the difference between their situations and Arkansas to where they’ve got upwards of in Utah about 20,000 more tests conducted than we do here?

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (21:22)
Do you want to address that?

Dr. Smith: (21:28)
The real issue with testing in terms of volume is whether you have a high throughput machine. I think you may remember UMS really worked hard to try and get Roche Reagents for their high throughput machine and were unsuccessful because at the time those reagents were all going to the big commercial labs that can do thousands of tests a day. If a public health lab or an academic partner happened to have one of those platforms where reagents were available or somehow were prioritized for reagents, then they would have that capability…

Dr. Smith: (22:03)
Somehow we’re prioritized for reagents, then they would have that capability. We’ve had to make due with lower volume platforms, but I think we’ve done well, we’ve scaled up, and of course, the commercial labs have really contributed by getting through their backlogs. We’re hopeful that we’ll continue to be able to scale up and perhaps either through these point of care tests where we can do lots of them in different places or potentially getting one of these high throughput instruments and reagents that we can dramatically scale up here as well.

Speaker 5: (22:41)
Are the labs, are they starting to get tests done quicker or is this data that’s still a week and a half, two weeks old, that we’re getting from them?

Dr. Smith: (22:51)
Again, I don’t have a way to absolutely know their turnaround times because we only get notified when they have a result. But what I’ve heard from federal partners and from also those ordering tests around the state is that those turnaround times have decreased. In cases where we’ve known when the test was ordered, we’ve seen it come down. Some of them are within a couple of days.

Speaker 5: (23:20)
In terms of the most recent modeling that you guys have done, is there kind of a ballpark on when Arkansas should be peaking?

Dr. Smith: (23:28)
Well, as you know, with these models, we’ve got a lot of different things, a lot of different models seeing a lot of different things. The IHME or University of Washington model that many people have felt more comfortable with, they recently changed their modeling assumptions, and for Arkansas, they now have us potentially peaking as early as April 24th. Again, we’ll have to see. Eventually the models will get right probably after the epidemic is over.

Speaker 6: (24:05)
For employees and retailers that my test positive, what’s the process for that? Will people will be notified that maybe they shop there? What is required to notify the public?

Dr. Smith: (24:20)
The approach we’ve taken here in Arkansas with the cases, especially cases in public places is to do them just like we do any other contact investigation. I think that’s one of the things that has helped us to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our state, is to aggressively go after these contact investigations. What we do when we hear about a case or one is reported to us, we will actually go and get the details and we’ll see who was exposed and what’s the nature of that exposure. If we can contact individuals directly, we will. If we have a setting where we know people had a high-risk exposure and we can’t contact them, then that’s the situation where we would put out a public notice.

Dr. Smith: (25:07)
Usually that’s not necessary either for COVID-19 or for the many other contact investigations that we do for communicable diseases, but that’s basically the process. It’s been very, very labor intensive and we have some members of our team who have been working extremely hard for many weeks now, but it’s that shoe leather epidemiology, going down and actually tracking people down, making sure they get tested, segregating those who are exposed, we call quarantine or those who test positive, we call isolation. It’s that hard work that has really helped, I think to keep our numbers low.

Speaker 8: (25:53)
How exactly to you track those infected people who aren’t hospitalized?

Dr. Smith: (25:55)
For the infected people who aren’t hospitalized, it depends on the setting, but we have a tracking system, an online system where they can go in and log their symptoms. We do that for people who are quarantined. For those who are positive, we do check-in with them. We have now a whole team of nurses. We have 30 nurses and we’ll grow that team who basically call people, check-n on them. If we hear about people who are violating quarantine or violating isolation, then we’ve got attorneys there who are ready with orders of a quarantine or orders of isolation. I’m signing those on a regular basis. And then of course, we work with local law enforcement when we need to enforce those as well as other partners. For example, if someone is having housing challenges, we’ll work to problem-solve that. And of course, Colonel Bryant and the State Police had been very supportive throughout all of this.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (26:58)
We have that question from … Well, let’s take a question remotely and then we’ll come back to you, Mike. Is there a question remotely?

Speaker 9: (27:11)
Yeah. Governor, this is Andrew Renicki. I wanted to follow-up on Mayor Scott’s remarks. Why not give Little Rock and other cities the ability to issue stay at home orders even if the state doesn’t have one? And also, have you had any other mayors asked you for the authority issue stay at home orders?

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (27:29)
I’ve had discussions with a number of different mayors and I think it points up the need to have a statewide policy because if you have a business in one community, it impacts others. If you have essential services in one community, it serves the entire state if not more. And so, this early on was established that we should have a statewide policy on this. I continue to work the mayors. And like we’ve said in this executive order, we have given them additional discretion in terms of curfews, but we want that coordinated with my office so that we’re all on the same path. We have discussions on this. Sometimes there’s agreement, sometimes there are disagreement. But that’s what brings us success and let’s just work through this together. Mike?

Jessica: (28:24)
Yes, this is Jessica from [inaudible 00:06:26]. Are you able to provide an update on the Forest City Prison and then what measures are being taken to protect inmates and staff inside? And how many inmates have been released on home confinement?

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (28:40)
Okay. We’re going to do that question in just a second. We’re going to do Colonel Bryant and then I’ll ask Dr. Nate Smith to respond to that one.

Mike: (28:47)
You had mentioned that you would get a phone call from the Little Police, have they not asked for your help?

Colonel Bryant: (28:57)
We work well together as a team, Mike. We’ve always had a great working relationship. Little Rock is my home town. We’ve joint ventures. You remember after the Ultra Power Lounge shooting, we got with the city and we helped work the city in that area and patrolled the different parts of the city to assist the Little Rock Police Department. But again, we’re an assist agency. It is my hometown. If I think I can help my hometown or any other community in this state, then we’ll step forward and offer our assistance.

Mike: (29:26)
Have they asked for your help since this pandemic started?

Colonel Bryant: (29:33)
No. I think we work well together. There’s been other instances but nothing specific that I can think of, a specific request. But due to some activities over the weekend, I offered our assistance to the police department if they need it. That’s our job. We’re an assisting agency.

Mike: (29:48)
Are there particular places that you need to help in Little Rock?

Speaker 10: (29:56)
I think Colonel Bryant has definitely shared there’s already an existing partnership. In times like this, again, this is uncharted waters. Anytime where you are trying to move from engagement to education to now enforcement, we know existing what we have to do right now, and so we are grateful for as we ramp up enforcement you definitely have to have more resources to help ensure that we are all taking this serious. This virus is not a game. And as I’ve shared with many of our constituents, that we have to take this serious to truly flatten the curve. And by flattening the curve is by acting aggressively, so when we get through this, we have an easier path to truly rebound.

Speaker 10: (30:34)
And so, Chief Keith Humphrey who’s here today, works with us as well, and Colonel Bryant work together on many different avenues. And so again, there were a lot of things that happened this past weekend. It wasn’t just what was on social media. The very same things that may happen on one side of town happen on other side of town. And so we can’t in these types of times, pinpoint all of our officers at a particular in time. That’s the reason when we talk about ramping up enforcement, that’s ensuring that when we see something that we’re able to educate, to engage, and if need be, to enforce. And so this again, is a measure to ensure that we all take this virus seriously.

Speaker 10: (31:10)
Little Rock is the state’s capitol city, the most populated, and have a greater density of individuals, and the first area in the state to have community spread. We have to take this seriously. And so we’re taking on the decision to increase enforcement to ensure that we all understand that when we get through this, we have to take these types of measures to rebound as best as possible as the state’s capitol city. Thank you.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (31:34)
Dr. Smith, do you remember the question?

Dr. Nate Smith: (31:37)
I believe the question had to do with the Federal Correctional Institute in Forest city. We do have a C-team that will be arriving this evening. We will be meeting with them tomorrow morning and then they’ll be proceeding to Forest City to assist the prison in their containment efforts and then also to help us assure that an outbreak there doesn’t spill over into the surrounding community.

Speaker 11: (32:04)
Doctor, is there a plan to do any sort of antibody testing at this point?

Dr. Nate Smith: (32:10)
At some point, I’m sure we will do. Antibody testing are less useful to us right now because they don’t reliably detect acute infection. Early in an infection, they will be negative. The advantage they have is that they remain positive even after our PCR test turns negative, so they’ll be helpful. They’re kind of like a rear view mirror. You don’t want to drive without a rear view mirror, but you don’t want to try and drive with the rear view mirror. Thank you.

Speaker 12: (32:40)
Can you address tomorrow’s Zoom budget committee meeting and how that’s going to work? And exactly, hopefully, tell me about that, please.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (32:49)
Tomorrow, of course, you have a joint budget committee meeting tomorrow. They worked out social distancing. They will be able to vote by proxy. I believe they will be able to view-

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (33:03)
.. by proxy. I believe they’ll be able to view remotely as well and so they’ve made special accommodation to the general assembly both for their joint budget committee meetings but also for the special session. Excuse me, the fiscal session that begins tomorrow, I’ll be making my state of the state address from the Senate chambers that will be broadcast remotely at the Stevens Center. So it’ll be very unusual start of the fiscal session tomorrow with a social distancing requirements with the fact that three members have tested positive. So I know that there’ll be very careful for their own health and but they’ve got a job to get done and I applaud them for the way they’ve approached it.

Speaker 13: (33:49)
Governor, any guidance for those who are self employed, trying to get unemployment benefits?

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (33:56)
Stay tuned. That should be here very, very quickly. The additional payments for those that are receiving unemployment insurance, my information was it will be toward the end of next week that that money will be flowing. I think Dr. Childers indicated it might be even earlier than that. But the information I had was end of next week. This is dependent upon the federal government and so we’ll see. But we’re hopeful for that. In terms of the self-employed, that is a little bit more complicated process. I hope tomorrow to have Secretary Press in here that will be able to speak more in detail to exactly where we are on some of those important safety nets and benefit packages that are available. The self-employed, of course, whenever they’re looking at basically being added to the unemployment insurance or getting that check, we’re working hard to make sure our system is capable of meeting that new demand, whenever the federal government money starts flowing.

Speaker 13: (35:13)
Is there a question remotely and we-

Erica Thomas: (35:15)
Governor? Yes. This is a question from Erica Thomas, with KFSM 5News in Fayetteville and Portsmouth. We actually have two questions for you. First, yesterday we reported that the first COVID-19 death happened in northwest Arkansas. We found out it was actually a Oklahoma woman who had come over to Washington County for treatment. And so we’re told that she will be counted as an Arkansas death. So can you explain the recordkeeping process and how that may skew the case total and decimal numbers in Arkansas? And then also if you could touch on just the spread of the virus in northwest Arkansas specifically, please.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (35:50)
Well, I’ll ask Dr. Smith to address it. And if anybody couldn’t hear, it’s in reference to the first death in northwest Arkansas who is an Oklahoma resident that was coming over for treatment and this illustrates how we’re all connected. In West Memphis, we have a people in West Memphis that go to Memphis, Tennessee for treatment and facilities. And obviously in Fort Smith, people from Oklahoma come there. So we are a little bit connected. In terms of northwest Arkansas, I just had a text from a doctor there who indicated their hospitalization is very low and so they’re not overwhelmed by any means. They’ve done a good job in terms of social distancing, of trying to get ahead of this and we hope that we can stay on that path even in northwest Arkansas, even though we’ve seen some of the cases go up. Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith: (36:48)
I believe the question had to do with where a case is attributed, especially a death. By convention a death is attributed to the state or the county of residence, not where the death actually occurred. So in some cases, for example, we may have had a death occur in central Arkansas, but then after we get the information on the county of residence, it’s attributed to a different county. This is a case where an Oklahoma resident who passed away in Arkansas might initially be counted in Arkansas, but then once the residence is established, it would be attributed to Oklahoma, to the state of residence, not the state where they actually passed away.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (37:32)
One final question. [inaudible 00:37:36] Why don’t you go first?

Speaker 14: (37:37)
My question is kind of weird. I don’t know if you can answer, but are the states peaking at different times and if they are, how do you handle, say our peak goes on long and so we’re trying to stay home, but the peak is over, say in Missouri and they all show up. What’s the discussion around that? Around varying times?

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (38:05)
Well first of all, each state can have a different model and a different projection on whenever their peak is. Dr. Smith indicated that the University of Washington model projects a peak toward the end of April here in Arkansas. But that might change tomorrow under their model and so we don’t know at this point whether our nation will sort of move together or whether they will be a ripple effect across the country. Whether there’s different timeframes. That’s one reason we’re being very cautious in Arkansas. We like where we are with our strategy, with the low number of hospitalizations we have. But we realize the road it could spike. And so that’s why we’re being prepared in the event. Some of the models we’re following today aren’t right. Doctor Smith.

Dr. Smith: (39:09)
Because Arkansas was one of one of the last states to report our first case and because our case growth rate has been relatively low compared with other states, it’s likely that our peak may be later than other states. There’s a very important concept here though, that after we get past the peak, we’re still going to have to be careful that we don’t reintroduce a virus and have a spread of COVID-19 within our state again, and so we are already preparing for that. We’re going to have to continue some of these measures even as we relax others and we’re going to have to watch very carefully for reintroduction of COVID-19. It’s that case investigation that we talked about earlier that’s so important. We were very aggressive with that as a state on the upside and we will be at least as aggressive with it on the downside as well to keep from reintroducing COVID-19 and having second peak.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (40:13)
Last question.

Speaker 14: (40:14)
And Dr. Smith, have you got any numbers back from UMS’ mobile unit and kind of where else they’ve gone in the state?

Dr. Smith: (40:22)
I have not received an update on that. I’m assuming that those are included in the 78 that they did.

Governor Asa Hutchinson: (40:29)
Thank you all today.