Excerpts of Today’s Media Update
We’re highlighting portions of the media update that seem relevant, but we encourage you to watch the full update. If you find a part that seems like it should be called out here, let us know.
More detailed excerpts will be added once time allows.
- New backdrop behind the governor: “Together For Arkansas”
- First day of the statewide mask mandate.
- Governor goes over the details of the mandate.
- Don’t need to wear it indoors or outdoors if you’re six feet away from others.
- Exemption if you cannot maintain 6 feet of space while performing job duties, but the mask would inhibit safe and effective performance of those duties.
- We need to reduce the cases so that we do not overfill the capacity of our hospitals.
- Authorizing 10 National Guard personnel to support case management work of Washington Regional Medical Center for the next 30 days.
- Current positivity rate is 9.6%
- Seven-day rolling average for positivity rate is 7.8%
- Arkansas has received 8.2 million dollars of CARES Act funding for helping people pay electric bills. Raises limit for utility assistance from $500 to $1,500. Begins July 27, 2020.
- Details given for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
- Governor has been on regular calls with other Republican governors to discuss what’s happening in their states. Didn’t cover mask mandates. Discussed how the federal funding is being utilized in each state. Return to school was a big topic in the last call.
- Governor says goal is 10% positivity or lower, but merely exceeding that will not affect returning to school.
- National Guard assistance in case management is not simply contact tracing. They will be freeing up nurses to do nurse-specific duties.
- Reaching the monthly goal of 200,000 tests will be a difficult goal to achieve over the next 10 days unless the commercial labs step up. ADH adding more pop-up testing events, utilizing additional partners. Looking for more ways.
- Benton County’s quorum court is considering resolution upholding the bill of rights and the people’s right to resist infringement on their constitutional rights, resisting the mask mandate. Governor says the mask mandate has been implemented in a reasonable way. When you’re in a public health crisis, asking people to take a step to protect one another, that’s what you have to do. As to law enforcement, he’s been pleased with the overall response. Law enforcement doesn’t get to choose which laws they enforce, though they can set priorities. Our objective is to increase the percentage of people wearing masks. The mandate should achieve that.
- Governor does not expect the school start date to change. Dismisses rumor of big announcement regarding education today.
- What medical conditions would qualify for exemption from mask mandate and would people need documentation?
- They would be conditions that would impede respiratory effort by the individual. COPD, for example.
- No indication in the directive or executive order that you need a doctor’s note.
- At what point will Arkansas consider closing down bars, as we have higher numbers than Texas, who already closed bars as a result of high numbers? Governor says we’re utilizing ADH and ABC officials to keep an eye on compliance. They were out there over the weekend. There were a couple of citations issued. Until we see data showing an increase in cases is directly connected to bars and restaurants, we will not shut them down.
- No counties have met the criteria for exemption from mask mandate yet.
- Any update on long-term care facilities and visitation? A couple haven’t met the criteria yet.
- Governor expects that federal assistance for testing, contact tracing and assistance reopening schools will be in next coronavirus assistance bill.