Arkansas Health

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The South Central Telehealth Resource Center has received over $800,000 in federal funding to expand its efforts in telehealth education.

The center, housed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, but a part of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, received $825,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration as a part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relieve and Economic Security or CARES Act. 

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The coronavirus pandemic has made physical health a priority for communities across the country. While social distancing is key in the fight to control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, decreased social contact and significant changes to everyday life bring another priority for health professionals to respond to: mental health. 

Humans are social animals and seek interactions with others. With the onset of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, normal interactions have become more difficult.  

Federal Funds To Aid Little Rock Renters, First Responders

Apr 9, 2020
Frank Scott Jr.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The City of Little Rock now has almost $2 million in federal grant money to help with the city’s COVID-19 response. Two federal programs contributed to the grant award, which will help fund the city’s Emergency Management Division and the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump late last month, awarded the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Programs department over $960,000. Almost $880,000 of those funds will go to the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. 

Governor's Office / YouTube

Four weeks after the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was identified in Arkansas, 1,023 people in the state have tested positive for the virus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the announcement Wednesday, noting there were 77 additional cases over the previous 24 hours.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The death toll from COVID-19 in Arkansas rose to eight Tuesday, with the total number of coronavirus cases at 523.

This comes as state health officials and Gov. Asa Hutchinson say the state’s efforts at "flattening the curve" through social distancing appear to be working.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson listens as Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Nate Smith speaks to reporters Monday.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has had another death from COVID-19, officials announced Monday, bringing the total in the state to seven. Department of Health Secretary Nate Smith said the person was over the age of 65 and is the first death connected to a nursing home. He said Arkansas was up to 473 positive cases, an increase of 47 from Sunday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that he is allocating an additional $45 million to aid in the purchase of personal protective equipment and ventilators. An original allocation of $30 million wasn’t enough, he said.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Arkansas rose from three to five as of Saturday, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressing frustration about supply chain issues that are limiting testing for the pandemic that continues to spread globally. He also said the number of weekly jobless applications in the past week totaled more than 30,000, which followed about 9,400 applications in the prior week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs legislation creating COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund into law just before 1 a.m. Saturday.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The first extraordinary session of the 92nd General Assembly was rather ordinary in its business, but extraordinary in its setting.

Arkansas lawmakers wrapped up a three-day special session to create a COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund. The funding mechanism will collect money from a variety of surplus and discretionary state accounts and be available to handle special money from the federal government, if necessary.

Nate Smith COVID-19 Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas was up to 384 positive cases of coronavirus as of 5 p.m. Friday, according to the state Department of Health. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an afternoon press briefing that projections suggest that number could increase to 2,000 cases by next weekend and 3,500 in two weeks.

"This is modeling that’s based upon what’s happened in other states, what the experts tell us. It doesn’t mean it has to happen in Arkansas, but those are the kinds of projections that we’re trying to anticipate," Hutchinson said.

Nate Smith COVID-19
Governor's Office / YouTube

Seeming frustrated by reports that some people in Arkansas are not abiding by social distancing recommendations, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday he is issuing a directive that will give law enforcement the power to enforce limits on gatherings.

The state has recommended people avoid indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people and keep a distance of six feet between one another during the current health crisis.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (at the podium) announcing Sunday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas had risen to 165.
Governor's Office / YouTube

165 people in Arkansas have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Sunday, an increase of 47 cases from Saturday. With testing being expanded this week, officials are warning the number will continue to rise.

44 of the cases involved people at three nursing homes in the state, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith. Seniors and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk from the virus.

Arkansas Department of Health Director Nathaniel Smith and Gov. Asa Hutchinson speak to reporters Wednesday about the first presumptive case of the coronavirus reported in the state.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has risen to 30 and includes the first person one in the northwest corner of the state. 

The Department of Health announced the eight new cases on its website Wednesday.

Mike Preston
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has not had a new positive case of COVID-19 reported over the last 24 hours, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced mid-morning Tuesday. It's the first day since state officials began conducting daily briefings last Wednesday that there has not been an uptick in diagnosed cases, with the number standing at 22.

But with testing for the virus ramping up, he expects the number will rise.

COVID-19 Education Secretary Johnny Key
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is ordering all Arkansas schools to be closed starting Tuesday, continuing through the end of the week, to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Speaking Sunday alongside health and education officials, he also announced four new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in the state to 16. 

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has risen to 12, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Saturday. The three new cases are healthcare workers at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and related to the original case discovered in Pine Bluff.

Hutchinson also said during Saturday’s press conference that he has authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be activated to help with logistics, call center support, transportation, EMT support and other needs.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Greg Bledsoe Coronavirus
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says three more people in Arkansas are presumed to have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of presumptive cases in the state to nine.

In a news conference at the Arkansas Department of Health Friday, Hutchinson said one case indicates the first instance of community spread of the virus in the state, in Little Rock.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has five new "presumptive" cases of the coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson confirmed Thursday He also announced schools are being closed in Pulaski, Saline, Jefferson and Grant counties.

Arkansas Department of Health Director Nathaniel Smith and Gov. Asa Hutchinson speak to reporters Wednesday about the first presumptive case of the coronavirus reported in the state.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas now has its first presumptive case of the coronavirus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the head of the state Department of Health announced Wednesday the person is from the Pine Bluff area and is in isolation at a hospital. They said the case is likely not part of a widespread outbreak 

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

While Arkansas still does not have a confirmed case of the coronavirus, Little Rock city officials are preparing for the impact of its eventual spread.

In a news conference at City Hall Tuesday, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced the creation of a COVID-19 Task Force, comprised of physicians and representatives of the city’s major hospitals.

Scott said, while Little Rock already has a plan to ensure city services continue in the event of a widespread outbreak, the task force’s recommendations would go beyond city government.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

State health officials are advising the general public not to panic about the spread of the coronavirus to Arkansas, but that it will inevitably do so.

At a news conference at the state Capitol Monday, leaders of the Public Health, Welfare and Labor committees of the Arkansas House and Senate gave an update on their efforts to educate citizens and prepare for an eventual case of the disease caused by the virus, called COVID-19.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

As the coronavirus spreads in parts of the world and is contained in others, there is growing consensus that things will still get worse before they get better. Economist Mervin Jebaraj predicts that the next several months will see a variety of ripple effects as health professionals, government officials and others seek to contain the deadly virus.

EPA.gov

Arkansas will soon have a better understanding of possible lead levels, if any, in the drinking water at schools and childcare facilities around the state. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently gave $420,000 to the Arkansas Department of Education as part of an over $40 million effort to identify lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities across the country.

Tim Cain, director of the Arkansas’ Division of Academic Facilities and Transportation, said the tests are only precautionary, but still important.

Rock Island
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An $880,000 federal grant is being awarded to Pulaski County to build part of a pedestrian and bicycling path that will link Little Rock and Hot Springs. The Southwest Trail will mostly be constructed on two former railroad right-of-ways.

archildrens.org

Families affected by peanut allergies— which are often severe, especially for children— now have the opportunity to receive treatment from a drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

The drug, Palforzia, stems from an 18-year research effort from the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute on the campus of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansans for whom holiday stress and winter blues turn to more serious symptoms of depression have somewhere to turn as a result of legislation passed in 2017 that created a state-funded suicide prevention call center run by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Tyler West, who works with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention on both a state and national level, says the strategy is unique.

March of Dimes

Babies in Arkansas are more likely to be born prematurely than in most other states, according to a report released Monday by the March of Dimes. It gives Arkansas a grade of F based on measurements of maternal and children's health.

Data from 2018 shows 11.6% of Arkansas babies were born three or more weeks before their due date, an increase of 0.2% over the previous year. The national rate is 10% and only four other states have a higher preterm birth rate.

Faith Sharp, with March of Dimes, said many Arkansas mothers lack access to pre-natal care.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Arkansas Attorney General's office is hosting summit meetings to discuss the rise in vaping by the state's young people. On Monday, over 100 educators, lawmakers, and health professionals met at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, to hear the latest news on vaping.

Paragould School Superintendent Debbie Smith said having current facts from some of the state's leading medical professionals will help when talking to teens and parents.

Vaping
Lindsay Fox / ecigarettereviewed.com

Arkansas’s first vaping summits are being planned for this week in partnership with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will host the two events, with the first scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday at Children’s Hall on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital campus.

Vaping
ecigarettereviewed.com / Wikimedia Commons

An Arkansas teenager who began vaping last year is suing a leading e-cigarette maker, accusing the company of deceptive marketing and fraudulently concealing the addictive nature of its products.

The unnamed teenager and his mother filed the lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc. last week in federal court in Little Rock and are seeking class action status on behalf of all Arkansas residents who bought or used Juul's products. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

With the 2019- 2020 flu season about to begin, state public health officials are urging Arkansans to get vaccinated. The Arkansas Department of Health briefed reporters Monday on the importance of being vaccinated in time for the flu season's start in October.

Dr. Nate Smith, the department's director, said people getting a vaccination is important despite the difficulty in accurately tracking the number of flu cases in the state.

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