The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arkansas topped 1,200 Friday and the number of deaths related to the virus reached 24, including a death in Drew County, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. The death in Drew County was the first Covid-19 related death in Southeast Arkansas (south of Pine Bluff). The ADH is also reporting the second death in Pine Bluff.
According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the Monticello woman died at a Little Rock hospital.
Though Gov. Asa Hutchinson has not called for a state-wide lockdown, he has issued a number of directives in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. At his daily news conference on Friday, Hutchinson said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave the state his “stamp of approval” on the measures the state has taken.
To stem the spread of the virus in Arkansas, Hutchinson previously issued directives closing public schools to on-site instruction, limiting restaurants to delivery or takeout, closing personal-contact businesses such as hair salons, limiting access to certain facilities at state parks, and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.
On April 4, the Arkansas Department of Health, in consultation with Hutchinson, also issued a directive for businesses, manufacturers, construction companies, and places of worship to implement the following social distancing protocols:
• Limit the number of people who can enter into the facility at any one time to ensure that people in the facility can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another;
• If lines form at a facility (inside or outside), facilities shall mark off six-foot increments at a minimum, establishing where individuals should stand to maintain adequate social distancing;
• Provide hand sanitizer, soap and water, or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with members of the public;
• Retail businesses shall provide contactless payment systems or provide for disinfecting all payment portals, pens, and styluses after each use;
• Regularly disinfect any high-touch surfaces; and
• Post a sign at the entrance of the facility informing all employees, customers, and congregants that they should: avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into one’s elbow; not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact.