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State wants to process 60,000 tests in May; big drop in hospitalizations

A big help in increasing testing capacity for the coronavirus in Arkansas is coming from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

At today’s statewide briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the CDC is sending 90,000 kits and swabs for COVID-19 tests in Arkansas. The Department of Health will distribute the kits throughout the state.

The governor said officials would like to increase testing capacity to 60,000 tests through the month of May. The boost will allow more tests to be processed in commercial labs and have a faster turnaround time.

Officials also noted that despite steady downward trends, there are some areas of the state that cause concern in terms of positive cases. In the northeast section of the state, West Memphis, Forrest City, and Jonesboro are the communities being watched while in the southwest portion, Texarkana is being monitored. (The governor will have his daily statewide briefing tomorrow from Texarkana.)


Other notes from the Wednesday briefing:

  • Dr. Nate Smith, with the Arkansas Department of Health, said the COVID-19 Dental Advisory Board has recommended non-urgent dental treatment to start on May 11 as long as the facility has proper PPE and is following protocol. There will be unannounced visits in conjunction with the board of dental examiners to monitor such dental clinics offering non-urgent treatment.
  • There are currently 3,568 people testing positive in the state. That’s up 72 from Tuesday. Twenty of the positive cases were from correctional facilities while the remaining 52 were from the community.
  • The total number of deaths increased two since Tuesday for a total of 85.
  • There have been 2,109 recoveries. That number is up 59 since Tuesday
  • Sixty-nine are hospitalized with issues related to the coronavirus. Yesterday, the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations was 89
  • Fourteen individuals are on a ventilator — that’s down two since Tuesday
  • There are currently 264 nursing home residents and 149 nursing home staff members that have tested positive.


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 Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, state Sen. Stu Smith, and state Sen. James Sturch. Download the free White River Now mobile 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 at Arkansas 103.3, online at White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the Arkansas 103.3 stream on the White River Now mobile app on Arkansas 103.3.

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Get 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. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at Be 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.


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