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Governor easing COVID-19 restrictions

By submitted, 04/23/20 9:41 AM

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday restrictions for elective medical procedures will be lifted April 27.  The health department is asking hospitals to start with a small number of surgeries that do not require an overnight visit. Patients will need to be tested for COVID-19 with-in 48 hours of the procedure.
The Governor also announced a time line for lifting other restrictions on May 4.
The timeline for the announcements is as follows:
·      April 29-Restaurants
·      April 30-Gyms
·      May 1-Beauty and barber salons
·      May 4-Places of worship and larger venues
Those dates are for the announcement only. If restrictions are lifted, it would be effective May 4. Additional prevention measures may be required by industries in order to lift the restrictions.
Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith cautioned these businesses can only open back up if there is not a surge in cases. Arkansans should continue to practice social distancing and wear masks in public places to limit the spread of the virus.
The total number of deaths has decreased by one as one of the previously counted deceased individuals was a resident of Missouri.
The health department says it will begin testing additional barracks at the Cummins prison. To date, 681 inmates and 14 staff have tested positive.