LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Two deaths have been confirmed in Arkansas due to COVID-19, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday.
The Faulkner County Coroner’s Office confirmed a 91-year-old man died this morning at Conway Regional Health Center at 8 a.m.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said the second victim was in their 50s.
“What we’re seeing is the calm before the storm,” said Hutchinson. “This needs to be understood by everyone in Arkansas: that we’re still on the front-end of this COVID-19 emergency that we have in the state of Arkansas.”
The governor said the state received 24 pallets of personal-protective equipment (PPE) from the national strategic stockpile at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. The pallet included more than 28,000 N95 masks and other protective gear for the state’s healthcare workers.
Hutchinson said the state is looking at the issue of ventilators and respirators and said the state is fortunate to have time to “build the stockpile that will be needed in the future.”
The state’s General Assembly will meet in a special session on Thursday in pursuit of a “bipartisan way in support of what is needed to minimize the public health risk,” the governor said.
Smith said Tuesday there are 218 cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas.
Those cases include eleven children, 134 individuals between 19 and 64-years-old, and 73 adults over the age of 65, including 38 in nursing homes.
Fourteen people are currently hospitalized and six are on ventilators, Smith said.
Tuesday’s cases include three new counties: Pike, Hempstead, and Cross.
“Consider that any public space is potentially a place where people can become infected. Don’t take unnecessary trips out of our homes and into crowded places,” Smith said.
The ADH director said that smokers should consider quitting.
“It’s a great time for people to become the healthiest version of themselves. It gives people the best chance to do well if they do get infected” Smith said.