Open Modal

Governor’s briefing: Positive cases pass 500, one new death, yet state staying under projections

At Tuesday’s statewide COVID-19 briefing, Health Director Dr. Nate Smith said the most recent COVID-19 death in the state was reported at White River Medical Center (WRMC) in Batesville. The victim was over the age of 65, Smith said. The death brings the statewide total to eight.

A statement from White River Health System (WRHS) was released Tuesday afternoon regarding the news.

It reads:

A confirmed coronavirus patient admitted to White River Medical Center passed away according to Doug Bernard, MD, WRHS Chief Medical Officer. “Unfortunately, despite their extraordinary efforts, our healthcare team was unable to save this patient.” 

“We are saddened by this loss and my heart goes out to the family,” said Gary Paxson, WRHS President and CEO. “Health care workers across the nation are doing heroic work to battle this new disease. For the patient’s family and friends, this is an incredibly sad time. I want to personally extend my sympathy to them. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Let us all respect their privacy during these difficult days.”

Out of respect for the privacy of this family in their time of grief, WRHS will not be releasing any additional information.

WRHS employees are establishing a fund for those affected locally by the coronavirus. Donations can be made by contacting the WRHS Foundation at (870) 262-1927.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson did provide some encouraging news at the briefing. According to state projections, positive cases are predicted to rise to 3,500 in Arkansas by April 10, but as of Tuesday, Hutchinson said the state is under those numbers.

On March 31, the projections called for Arkansas to have 900 positive cases, but as of Tuesday’s briefing, the number of positive cases stands at 523. The governor said he believes Arkansans are practicing the proper social distancing and taking the limits of gatherings to 10 or less seriously, and he continued to stress that residents keep adhering to guidelines. 

Officials also noted that out-of-state visitors to Arkansas, particularly those visiting state parks, is becoming a problem. If it continues, it could lead to temporary closures to some of the state’s most popular parks, Hutchinson said.

Other news from Tuesday’s briefing:

  • As noted above, as of Tuesday afternoon, positive cases in Arkansas are at 523, up 50 from Monday.
  • Columbia, Newton, and Perry counties are the latest counties to add to the list of those with positive cases.
  • Sixty-four positive cases have been hospitalized, up only two since Monday.
  • Health-care workers testing positive for COVID-19 is at 79.
  • Thirty-five individuals have recovered, up six from Monday’s briefing.
  • The governor will sign a letter declaring Arkansas a major disaster area due to COVID-19. Hutchinson said this will open up funding to help with the crisis.
  • Forty additional National Guard troops have been authorized to assist the Arkansas Department of Health’s plans to increase the number of hospital beds, if needed.


The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Sen. James Sturch, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, and state Rep. Stu Smith. Download the free White River Now app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.

We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air, on White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the White River Now app on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ.

Layout 1Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZWhite River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.comBe sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.






Recommended Posts