Arkansas bans gatherings of more than 10 to curb virus


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Arkansas is banning indoor and enclosed outdoor social gatherings of more than 10 people, with few exceptions, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has infected at least 335 Arkansans and is blamed for three deaths, the state’s top health official said Thursday.

“This directive does not apply to businesses, manufacturers, construction companies, places of worship, the Arkansas General Assembly, municipal or county governing bodies, or the judiciary,” Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said in a news release. Outdoor gatherings in unenclosed areas such as parks are also exempt, although social distancing of at least 6 feet must be observed.

Banned gatherings include “sporting events, concerts, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals,” the release said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that the order was needed to avoid imposing a more sweeping shelter-in-place order as in other states.

The ban is in effect until further notice.



For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause a more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Of those infected in the state, 13 have recovered and are being asked to donate plasma, Smith said at a news conference.

“One of the more promising approaches treating critically ill patients with COVID-19 is to give them plasma from those who have recovered, because it has antibodies that can fight the virus,” Smith said.

Hutchinson also announced a $116 million plan to help hospitals, rural health clinics and others involved in caring for virus patients, with all but $25 million to be paid by the federal government. The plan requires approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services because it would involve shifting Medicaid funding.

“The money is there, it’s ready to be disbursed it’s just a matter of getting approval from the federal government. So we’re hoping that it will be very quick,” after the state submits a waiver request, Hutchinson said.

___

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak





Source link

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *