Dr. Nate Smith


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Four more people at Arkansas nursing homes have died from the coronavirus, according to state health officials.

The deaths are among five that State Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith reported at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The state's total death count is now up to 107.

The nursing home deaths were reported a day after the state announced an initiative to test every nursing home resident and employee in the state. It would require up to 50,000 tests. Older people and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the virus.

The increase in testing is part of a broader push that began in late April to identify cases of the virus. The state aims to test 60,000 people in May. Smith said Wednesday that the state was on pace to meet or exceed that figure. More than 44,200 tests have been performed this month.

Smith said that 4,396 tests had been performed in the past 24 hours, a new single-day record.

The total number of cases in Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon was 5,003. Of those cases, 1,044 were considered to be active.

Smith said there were 85 active cases at nursing homes.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is set to announce Thursday whether team sports and summer camps can resume operations. He was at the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Donald Trump about the state's partnership with the federal government as it reopens its economy. He was also set to discuss protecting the nation's food supply chain, which Arkansas-based Tyson Foods said has been jeopardized by the pandemic.

The state reported Wednesday that Nebo Poultry in Dardanelle has had 14 workers test positive for the virus.

This article originally ran on ktbs.com.


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