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0000017d-2122-dd26-adfd-e56710ac0000IMPORTANT RESOURCESArkansas Department of Health's COVID-19 Update PageADH Coronavirus Hotline: 1-800-803-7847 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F) After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response call 501-661-2136Gov. Asa Hutchinson's statewide mask mandate goes into effect July 20

20,000 Uninsurance Claims Under Review for Fraud

July 22, 2020 2:48 p.m. —  Gov. Asa Hutchinson delivered today's COVID-19 update from Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville. Gov. Hutchinson reported the state has 35,246 positive cases, an increase of 591 from yesterday. Of those, 7 are in correctional facilities. Hospitalizations decreased 14 for a total of 474. Arkansas has 380 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 6. The governor noted while new cases are down from yesterday, so is testing. Officials received 3,933 test reports, about 1,700 fewer than the day prior.

Dr. Jose Romero with the Arkansas Department of Health reported the state has 6,876 active cases, a decrease of 122 from yesterday. Of those, 140 are in nursing homes, 916 are in correctional facilities and 5,820 are in the community. The top three counties with the most new cases are Pulaski County with 80, Benton County with 46 and Washington County with 38.

Dr. Romero said Washington County has a 22 percent positivity rate. He said 72 percent of cases are residents 44 years old and younger, which indicates these are likely people who are working and out in the community. Dr. Romero said the county has a higher rate of children infected with the virus. Washington County's rate is 17.9 percent, which is much higher than the national trend of 2 to 3 percent. Dr. Romero reported the county has 39 deaths and 23 of those are in the Marshallese community. 

Larry Shackelford, president and CEO of Washington Regional, said they're grateful to have members of the National Guard helping out with their call center now, which has allowed 8 nurses to return to direct patient care this week. During the first 15 days of July, he said the call center managed 15,825 calls. Shackelford said Washington Regional saw a spike about a week and a half ago with more than 40 positive COVID-19 patients. Of those, 16 were on ventilators. He said they've also had a high number of ICU patients.

Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy NWA, said they've seen a large number of non-COVID patients likely because people have been delaying regular care. Pianalto urged people to seek care wherever they are in the state. He said Mercy peaked about two weeks ago with 45 COVID-19 patients, but that is down to the mid 20s. 

Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said unemployment number continue to trend downward with about 92,000 continued claims this week. Claims peaked around May 9 at 122,000. Sec. Preston said this is the last week for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which made an additional $600 available to individuals through the CARES Act. He said fraud continues to be an issue and more people have been hired to get through a backlog. Sec. Preston said they have about 20,000 claims that are under review for potential fraud.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here