201117_COVID-19 Press Briefing
3:06AM Nov 18, 2020
Secretary Stacy Hurst
Governor Asa Hutchinson
Dr. Jose Romero
Andrew DeMillo - AP
Alex Burch - KATV
Melissa Zygowicz - THV11
Jay Bir - KARK 4/Fox 16
Leslie Peacock - Ark Times
Josh White - KAIT
Thank you for joining me for today's COVID-19 weekly update. pleased to be joined by Secretary Jose Romero, the Department of Health, as well as Secretary Johnny key of the Department of Education. And today we have Secretary Stacy Hurst of the Department of Parks heritage and tourism. To give an important update on a business interruption grant program that will reference a little bit later. I also have who will be speaking director Mike Moore, of our enforcement division at the Department of Finance on the regulatory side, who has really been engaged with his team in enforcement efforts and compliance efforts with our restaurants with our businesses. And Terry Paul is here also from the Department of Health, who works in the broad areas of compliance, and we wanted to give an update in those regards. I did want to report first that the winner COVID-19 Task Force has met. More importantly, they are continuing to meet in subcommittees. And this is a group that I've charged with responsibility in making some comments and advise me in particular areas. And I expect recommendations and counsel this week, in the areas of staffing shortages, statewide coordination of COVID, bed space, and also comments related to the slowing of the community spread, and whether there's any additional steps that are propriate to be taken. Now, let me caution you whenever I say I expect recommendations, you think there's going to be a written list of recommendations. That's not the case. These are conversations. These are this is counsel from some leading experts across Arkansas. And we will try to, we're looking for areas that can help in our staffing issues in our hospitals. But also when you look at the COVID bed space. We've coordinated it regionally very well, but we need to coordinate it statewide, as things get tighter. And so we're looking at ways that we, through the Department of Health and from my office can be helpful to address those particular needs. I did also want to add that later this week on Thursday. Specifically, I'll be having a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden, as well as his transition team. As in conjunction with my role on the executive committee and vice chair of the National Governors Association. That call is set up so that the Vice President Biden can get the information that he needs from the States as his transitions team starts to prepare for January 20. And what we expect will be a necessary transition. And that is important from my standpoint, so that they're aware of what we're doing as a state and what other states are doing to fight this pandemic. The White House report came out this week. And in the White House report, they use this language given the change in the slope in the last two weeks post Halloween. And this is specific to Arkansas. Arkansas is on the precipice of a rapid accelerating increase in cases which will be followed with new hospital admissions. In quote. Now, that's a statement they'll get your attention as a leader. And we look at the holiday season that is approaching. And we have to be mindful that if Arkansas continues at the present pace over the last two days, in Arkansas, we'll have an additional 1000 our Kansans that will die as a result of COVID-19 between now and Christmas. And that for anyone who wants to enjoy the cheer of Christmas is a is a cloud that hangs over us. And that should inspire us to do well, to follow the guidelines to do everything that we can to break that trend. And that is our goal. Let me go through the case report. For today. We have an additional 1554 cases over the last 24 hours. Those are combination of confirmed cases and probable cases. There were 1145 confirmed cases and there were 409 probable cases as a result of antigen or other criteria that was met.
The total Active cases are up 91. That gives us a total active cases of 16,576. And the hospitalizations have increased by 34. That brings us to 895 that had been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 are currently hospitalized. That puts us on the verge of that 900 mark. We've had an increased number on ventilators as well as an increased number of deaths. As I mentioned, that deaths went up by 20. That gives us a total deaths of 2245. Our testing has been very significant as it continues to be, we had 7452 PCR tests this month, and we've had antigen test of 3234. And excuse me, these are the results over the last 24 hours 7452 PCR tests and 3234 antigen test. Dr. Romero will shed additional light on that here shortly. Let me go to our graphs that just illustrate what I've said in a different way. As you can see, our combination of of new cases, which are both probable and confirmed cases are up over 1500. Of course, it's not as high, but the weeks not over yet. And that's the challenge. We've got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that had been historically higher days that we've got to worry about. Next is a trend line that goes up. And it's going to keep going up. Well, we'll see we'll see. Next one is the daily average of new confirmed and probable cases by week. And so you can see the trend line since September 6 through the 12th the first week, and it goes where we were flat for some time that gave us encouragement. And then we've had this as wideout says his escalation of cases over the last two weeks, and that is unacceptably too high. We have hospitalized as you can see, has reached almost the 900 mark, and it's gone up next, the seven day rolling average of positive PCR tests. This is just PCR tests. And this is important to note, as the White House noted that we were up in earlier July timeframe, over 10% positivity. And we worked hard, and we got that down. We got that down. And then it started going back up again. And you see where we finally tipped up over the 10% mark again. And so this is concerning now is down below it now but we know that that will be filled in with later test results that come in. So right now we're above the 10% positive tivity rate, which is a concern to us. Testing again, for the month thus far. And we're a little bit past the midway point 166,519 just PCR tests in Arkansas which demonstrates the demand but also the fact that we have the capacity that we're doing that testing. Next is the number of PCR test. By facility type we can look at that quickly and the darton Health I just want to brag on them, they've really done a remarkable job working 24 seven working very hard, long hours, and consistently adding and controlling our destiny in terms of the testing. The red is something that the public will always go to through their physician or hospital and the PCR testing through the commercial labs still remains very strong and the resources seem good. These are the antigen test seven day rolling average of antigen test and you can see where that positivity rate is high. It always is higher, but it's been actually where we first started, he got had that hype and it came it's coming back up to that same level of positivity in the mid 20s. I think that shows the same thing there in terms of our testing and our positive rate. The antigen test we can see is over 27,000 halfway through the month, exceeding our goals there as well.
I think that we do have the regions to cover. We have the orange which is the Northwest which is the seven day rolling average of new cases in the northwest is the top region followed by the blue which is the Northeast followed by the Central Arkansas which is right almost corresponding cross acting with northeast and then we have southeast and southwest at a more modest level. And the trend line is not as severe. If you look at the growth rate of cases, we have, you can see northeast and central are leading in terms of the growth rate by percentage of new cases, followed by the Southwest. The growth rate of by age group, and we can see, if you add zero to 17, and 18 to 24, together, zero 24 is 17.7% of our new cases are coming from that age group much more healthy. But still, it shows a significant number of new cases there. I was glad to see the 65 plus come down somewhat. And with that, Dr. Romero, if you will make your comments and then I will set the stage for the others to come.
Thank you, Governor.Thank you all. I'll add a little bit of detail to what has already been said. So, as mentioned, the number of deaths increased by 20. I want to point out that following the trend of deaths in the state, the majority of these cases have come from nursing homes, and individuals in concrete living centers. There's clearly a vulnerable population and a population that we're concerned about. And I'll come back to that in a minute. We have 23 counties which have reported a greater than 10. Sorry, greater than or equal to five cases. Last in the last 24 hours. We have three counties over 100. They are in decreasing order of number. Pulaski at 148, Washington 133 and Benton at one or two other counties to note White County at 67 Craighead at 63. And then both Faulkner and saline county at 59. I want to point out and place special emphasis on what the governor has already said. And what was in the White House report from yesterday. As is stated, I think for the first time and very poignant language, we are on the precipice of a significant and possibly an uncontrollable rise. In cases. This is like a boulder rolling down a hill, that will come a time where we cannot stop it. It will continue to escalate and will eventually overwhelm our healthcare facilities. Now is the time to act. And I cannot stress enough the importance of the three W's I'll say it again, I'm sorry, wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. Again, we're coming towards the holiday for Thanksgiving. Our elderly in nursing homes and congregate facilities are vulnerable. Bringing them to your home may be a detriment to their health. I really think that you need to consider this and consider postponing your Thanksgiving with them to a later date. It is for their safety. I understand this, the the situation that you all have you want to beat together, but it's a time to protect them and protect their lives. So I'll stop here and turn it back over to the governor. Thank you.
We talked briefly about compliance. The Department of Health has done over 3500 compliance checks. Since toward the end of June. We've had director Mike Moore and his team have done over 3700 compliance checks, if sided, hundred 81 violations since June 29 additional 210 verbal warnings. They have a high compliance rate. But I think he has some emphasis to add to what they'll be looking at in the coming weeks with the concerns have been expressed about the spread and how we need to take control of our destiny. Mike more could you come?
Thank you, Governor. Since July, our team has worked hard and we're going to continue to work hard to do inspections at the restaurants and the bars throughout the state of Arkansas and you know our goal and from the from the beginning and it's going to continue to be our goal is to provide education and provide a little bit of action. accountability that will help folks be safe when they're visiting restaurants and bars and clubs. As the governor mentioned, we've, we've done over 3700 inspections 93% of those inspections have proved that the bars and restaurants are trying. It's a good number 93% compliance. However, we need to understand that even a 7% of non compliance can cause some huge problems when it comes to this COVID-19 disease that our whole state is battling. So even one or two locations that are non compliant, can cause some real problems. So and also just on the violations, I want to know that most of our most of our violations that we have encountered, have resulted in only verbal warnings. So we are really trying to work with the restaurants are trying to work with the bars, our goal is for them to stay open, to keep providing services to the good people of Arkansas to keep providing paychecks to their employees. But also we want to make sure that our Kansans are safe, when they want to go out and they want to want to eat. So we're going to continue to provide education and accountability. But one note about that. We've been doing this for four months, we've been given lots of education, we've been making sure everyone understands the guidelines. And the the rules as it as they have to do with the COVID-19 for months is a long time to be given warnings. And so I think what you're going to see in the coming day is is when we find people that are non compliant, there's going to be more accountability. And we're going to up that just a little bit to see if we can get some better results. And we just want to encourage folks, when you go out to eat, when you go out to the clubs, please wear your mask, please practice, social distancing. If you're not afraid of the virus, we understand that. But the folks that you may infect with this virus is another issue. So if you don't want to do it for yourself, please do it for those around you. And I think you're gonna see a good outcome from that the more that we are compliant with these things. And also just I just don't want the folks of Arkansas to forget to keep praying for our state to keep praying for our country, that people would follow the guidelines follow the rules. And hopefully we'll have more people at Christmas to celebrate with as the numbers that the governor just gave. Thank you.
And speaking of businesses, and I do want to applaud our businesses for their compliance efforts, realizing how important it is for their customers and for our state. But we do interrupt the businesses because we put in restrictions in place. And Secretary Stacy Hurst has done a great job in leading the business interruption grants, creating them getting the support of the legislature which I'm grateful for their support of this, which put $48 million dollars $50 million into the program $48 million available for the grants. And this is over the above 140 7 million that's been in the ready for business grants has been out for our businesses previously. The Secretary hearse Could you give us an update on what people need to do.
Thank you, Governor and thank you for your support, as we have worked to get relate to some entities within the Arkansas economy that truly need it. The cares committee and the Arkansas legislature approved $50 million of federal funding to support a grant program focused on businesses that were directly impacted by government order related to COVID-19. The business interruption grant, our big as we've come to call it is available to entities within the hospitality and personal care industries. Big grants will be provided to eligible businesses based on reimbursement of certain expenses. We've been working with a consultant to develop a portal for applications. That portal opened yesterday November 16. And it will be open through November 25. This is not a first come first served grant. So it doesn't matter if your application was submitted on the first day or the last day that will not affect your eligibility are your grant amount. Again, the application portal is now open and will be open until November. 25th for information and access to the application portal, please go to Arkansas ready.com there's a link there that will connect you directly to the portal. You will also find there a checklist for applicants. And that will let you know exactly what you will need to complete the grant. There's a webinar available that will actually walk you through the application. It's about 30 minutes or so. And there's a list of frequently asked questions at Arkansas ready? That is very instructive. If the FAQs do not answer your question, or you need more clarification, we have a call center that is set up that you are welcome to call that phone number is 888-722-1554. That help center is open monday through friday from 7am to 7pm. Please be advised that right now because the grant just open we are experiencing a high volume of calls. And it may take us a little while to get back to you. But we are working hard to get a response in your hands. I encourage you to apply if you are an eligible business. Again, visit Arkansas ready.com. To get started. We look forward to working with you. And thank you, Governor. I'll turn it back over to you.
Thank you. And lastly, I want Secretary key to give us a quick education report. And I will add that I went to a Bentonville high school boys basketball game, this last Saturday. And as I was there, you had to get your tickets online, limited capacity, limited seating, followed all of the guidelines. And what was very impressive is obviously everybody wore masks. But they had a staff person with the high school that went through and made sure everybody was wearing the mask and tell him to pull him up, get them on whatever needs to be done. And that's the kind of effort that keeps us all safe. By the way graduations to a central high for winning that basketball game.
Thank you, Governor. Our report on the number of on site modifications that we saw in our school system last week. for the week of November 8 through November 14, we had 46 instances of on site modifications, these are districts or schools that in various ways went to remote learning. Again, I'll remind you that could be anywhere from one grade level one wing of a school all the way up to the entire school district if it was appropriate. This week, as of today, we've had 16, who have also made an additional 16, who have made on site modifications. cumulatively, that brings us to 72 active on site modifications, and 200 for modifications that have been closed, which means they have reverted to normal operation, we do acknowledge something of substantial increase in the number of schools affected by COVID-19. And frankly, this is not a surprise given the increasing number of cases in the communities. We expected this. And we worked back in the summer with Arkansas Department of Health to plan for it through already for learning guidance in our response levels for on site learning. Our school districts are doing an excellent job of consulting with Department of Education and the Department of Health to understand their community and they're in school COVID-19 data and making operational decisions that are appropriate for our collective goal. That collective goal is to maximize the number of students for on site instruction for the maximum amount of time the school year and do so in a way that emphasizes health and safety.
Thank you and with that take any questions.
The White House report asks Arkansas to consider pausing athletic activities not because of things that happened during the game events before and never going to be a consideration.
I actually did note that and we had a conversation about it. In terms of you know what that means and is there anything that we can or should do and the activities that surround High School athletics. It could be going out for pizza with with your friends afterwards. So There's, there's the the social activities part of it. And then there's the school activities, I want the schools to continue to look at their activities and as to how they can better plan, you know whether they should be scheduling all of the games at the same time. And that's helpful on travel purposes. But, you know, if there's ways that you can have windows, so the crowds are not exchanging constantly, I think that's what it's referring to. And there's not an easy answer there. We don't plan on canceling athletics. I think that would be terrible for the health of our young people. And so that we plan on continuing, but we will look at other ways to better control that environment.
Because White House report also recommended dropping restaurant capacity back down about 25%. So maybe not fully shutting things down. But is there any consideration and maybe further limiting some of the ins and outs of other activities,
If you shut, if you put the restrictions back down to one third, you would be shutting down a whole bunch of businesses, they're there by a thread. In some cases, they have managed with a two thirds capacities that are already limited. And if you cut that back further, you know, you're going to be putting a lot of them under underwater, and you're going to be putting a lot of people unemployed. And as you can see, you know, our business grant funding is out. We don't have any additional funding to help our businesses whenever you shut them down. And so I think it's a much better approach what our compliance team is doing, they're going to be ramping up their checks their compliance efforts, and I've been in restaurants, I've been in venues, and by and large, they are all very safe. And they take all the precautions to do that. And without some data that connects that with a problem would be wrong to shut those down.
Do we know where abouts all the spread is coming from? You know, is it restaurants. Any other activity,
Thank you. So we look at this weekly and we look at it over time, we've not found any specific place where we can put a finger on and say that is the case that transmission is there. This would indicate that this is widespread community transmission occurring within homes and social gatherings. That has been discussed before the CDC is as put out notifications on this in the last two weeks showing that these smaller gatherings 10 persons or less in family groups are a source of transmission. So we think that this is coming primarily within the community and represents widespread community spread.
Any other question?
Are there any clusters in Pulaski County to account for the large numbers there?
Again, we've not been able to identify any specific site. That is a focus for a full site for these this transmission in this in this in the county itself. And we're continuing to look for that.
Jay, do you have one more question?
contact tracing doing because we've heard of some cases that, you know, it's taken a couple of weeks to get ahold of people. I mean, obviously, there's a strain on the system is there any plan to add to the number of contact tracers and and even at this point is is contact tracing, even being very effective?
It is, and and it's been probably a week or so before since I was last briefed on the contact tracing and how that system is working. But they are increasing the improvements in the timelines and the responses. Then you add to that we've had a very recent increase in cases and the Department of Health did notify me that they were having trouble not with a contact tracing but with a case investigators and having sufficient staff for that. They're the ones that do the initial case review, and then send it out the contact tracing. And that's the reason that I brought in 30 National Guard resources to help in that case investigation. But the contact tracing is still very beneficial to us. It's a key element of what we're trying to accomplish. We'll continue to try to improve that. Are there any questions remotely?
Yeah, Governor, this is Andrew with AP. And a couple questions for You. First of all, going back to the issue of shut down or restrictions on businesses. I know you've made it clear you don't support a shutdown. There are steps that other states have taken that aren't a full scale shutdown thing, things like restricting hours of bars and retail establishments, as well as stricter limits on on crowd sizes. Why? Why not take a look at more targeted restrictions like that that fall short of have a full scale shut down? And the second question I had was, since you're talking with President Elect Biden, later this week, do you have any concerns about the Trump administration not working with the incoming administration on on the transition? And what that could mean for for bet battling the Coronavirus in consequences of that.
In terms of the additional steps that can be taking, I want everybody to know that, as we have these cases that come in every day, I have conversations with Dr. Romero, where do you think these cases are coming from? You know, what, what can we tie it to, and we have these discussions. But it should be data driven. And that's what we're striving to accomplish. Now, what we have seen from the data is that CDC sees it, and we see it that it is these gatherings that is becoming challenging. So you know, it's fair to look at that aspect of it. I don't think we're ready to limit 10 you know, for a gathering indoors, because all of a sudden, you would be shutting down the, you know, volleyball games and the audience participation there, because that would be included in that. And so we have all of those things in place. So you have to be very, very careful with what step you do take, but it's something we look at and you can't regulate the home. We wouldn't want to all we can do is admonish, but we're not having home police. And so, you know, that's where we're asking people to be careful about those gatherings over Thanksgiving, and the social life as well. So people are doing that. We just need more to do it. In terms of the Coronavirus Task Force. We had a call yesterday, the governor's did with the President's Coronavirus task force from the White House. It was a two hour meeting on that. And so we see them very, very engaged. And I'm delighted that there's an opportunity for our National Governors to engage with a conversation with the Vice President's transition team. And I know that there's election contests that are going on. But it is important, as I've said, that we want to make sure that we're prepared under any eventuality, and that we don't want to be caught short as the vaccine distribution. Hopefully it will be coming online in the near future. So we do want that seamless transition. And the governors are looking at ways to make sure that that can happen. Other questions?
Yes, this is Melissa Zygowicz withTHV1 1. A bouncing off Andrews first question. We're telling people not to get together with their families for Thanksgiving. But at the same time, current restrictions allow for events like weddings to go on, where people can still invite dozens of friends and families to an indoor event. Don't you think this message messaging is sort of contradicted contradicting itself?
Well, that's a fair question. I'll let Dr. Romero comment on it. But first of all, everything about Thanksgiving is common sense in the home environment to protect loved ones. And I'm getting together with my family over Thanksgiving, I'll have seven people in my home, we're going to hopefully it's nice weather and we can have plenty of air that flows through there. And, and, you know, as need be, we can wear a mask or make sure there's this unseen there. But it's a small gathering and that's what I would encourage people to look at. And I think the admonitions is, be careful about the vulnerable populations. It's about, you know, who do you you don't get your grandmother in the nursing home and take them to a an event even though it's authorized. You know, we allow you know, different out there. But that's not wise to do that in the same way, you have those same precautions around Thanksgiving. So I think there is some rational distinctions there. The larger venues have to be approved by the Department of Health, we're looking at ways to see if there's any adjustments that should be made in the light of the current circumstances are drumroll g everything down there.
So the CDC has looked at this issue of weddings and large gatherings as transmission events. And it's again, because they have lowered their guard, they have not followed the rules of masking social distancing, and hand washing. So if if you have these venues, and they're approved by the health department, and the individuals adhere to the guidelines that we've talked about before, there, they are safer than they help to contain infection and prevent infection by following these guidelines. Just because you're at a wedding doesn't mean you cannot, you should not wear your mask.
Next question. Governor,
this is Alex with CHANNEL SEVEN. Yes, as you monitor the number of remaining ICU beds available in this state, is there a number of available beds that would trigger an alarm for you? And my second question is about state employees. At what point would you consider allowing them to go back to working virtually from home?
On the first part of the question, that's one of the things that I've would like my winter taskforce to be looking at their thoughtful leadership as to what are the trigger points. But the fact is, we have adequate ICU space. And it's not a problem having adequate space for our COVID patients, but they're balancing it with all the other needs that they have. And so it's hard to find exactly what the trigger is, as to, you know, when there is a shortage there because you adjust the ICU space to accommodate the imbalance, the COVID patients with the others that need it. And of course, the staffing is the other element of that, that, you know, we can expand ICU beds, if we have the medical staff to do it. One of the things that we have to continue to look at is are there ways that we can move people more quickly through the pipeline to get them into the staffing environment of our hospitals and provide the nurses that they need? All of those things we look at day by day to see if we can increase our capacity. The trigger point is something that is hard to to say, well, it's here's the here's the level that we got a problem, because the hospitals are so good about adjusting. And I haven't got to the point that we can say where they've adjusted their way into a real problem. So we'll continue to look at that. The last part of the question was what again, refresh me
it was regarding seed employees, at what point you would consider letting them work from home.
Now, I know that I think this state is operating as safely as can be they have the public business to do our teachers are in the classroom, are we have the same requirements in state government, we have businesses that work all across the state. And I think the managers are handling this very well. So there's not any plans to change the working environment for state employees. Jay, final question maybe well,
with the majority of some of the more recent deaths being from that more vulnerable population, especially those in nursing homes, any consideration on either adding to some of the restrictions for visitation, or or even just dialing some of that back altogether, considering that they are kind of a lightning rod of death right now.
Well, the visitation is course very, very important. The heartache that we've seen in previous months because there was not any access. I don't think we want to go back to that. But we do want to have it as careful and safely as possible. We've got some good restrictions in place for that purpose. Dr. Merrill, Jim, anything to add to that. And then Was there another question I heard starting remotely that I maybe missed? Yes. Yes.
Oh, okay. I guess there's two of us. I hope that's okay. Do you want to answer this first question? I guess. We're Dr. Roberto.
Okay, good. Just ask the question.
Okay. This is Zuzanna with Ozarks at large actually have two questions. I hope that's okay. Um, I'm just wondering if you're hoping legislators will provide more funding. Support for the Arkansas the Fresh Start program that launched last week, given the the amount of applications that have come in. So that's question one. And then I'm just wondering if you have any advice for cities or counties, as they appropriate some of the cares funding. Money that they've received. I know some cities are considering, for example, purchasing a firing range like Springdale. I'm just wondering, as the pandemic kind of goes on, if you have any advice for those cities for how they should consider, I guess, spending that money.
In terms of the counties and cities, there's a very good process set up, it has to be through the guidelines that are required under the cares act. So the COVID related expenses can be covered. And so I would refer the cities and counties to their respective organizations or to DFA to get any guidance on that, but the timeline is going to be limited. So they need to act on that, to get their request in and I couldn't give them guidance as to exactly what, you know, the guidelines are pretty well in concrete as to what they can use that for. On the first part of it, Dr. Merrill, that your question was about the Fresh Start program. And
yeah, the rental assistance program.
Okay. Thank you. Thank you for that question. And that was very important. I'm grateful the General Assembly, supporting that as to whether there's additional funding, the answer is none at this time. You know, we have a limited amount of money that's left in the cares act, fund. And there's a lot of demands on that. And so I don't expect out of this round, that there would be any additional money for rental assistance. Hopefully, what has been provided, will be sufficient will be helpful to all of them. And then I think there was another question was there.
Yes, Governor? Good afternoon, this is Neal Gladner in hot springs. Two questions, please. With regards to the White House Task Force, as the numbers are going up? Are you getting insights, ideas or data from them that's not available here in the state? And the second question is about pandemic unemployment. monies that are about to run out, there's no replenishment is do you have yet an idea of the impact that might have on the economy.
You know, alien, the latter point on the pandemic unemployment assistance, it is going to run out, and there's no plans to continue it. There can't be any plans to continue it until Congress acts. And there's not really any movement that I have seen in recent days. And so the cares Act funding is over with the pandemic unemployment assistance unless there's action will expire as well. And that's going to be a hardship on many, that's one of the reasons you don't want to create more unemployed, because there's no place for them to go except through the traditional unemployment compensation route. In terms of the first question, Neil, which was on white kneel
on the White House taskforce if you're getting data, insights, recommendations, that aren't available to you from other places. And that was different than getting in state.
Now. And this is what's, you know, we've got the statistical side in place, and they they receive really the flow of information from the state of Arkansas and other states. So what there is some benefits seeing it comparable as to how, what other states are doing, that's probably one of the benefits from the Coronavirus Task Force. The other thing would be the information flow on the PP but also the reagents, the testing supplies, that's a critical part of it, where they're sending it like they're sending it directly to nursing homes, we get regular flow from there. So many, many benefits, but in terms of new ideas as to what to do. Every epidemiologist in the country says you need to wear a mask, socially distance. And guess what if we do those things, the virus goes away. And in our case count goes down. So there's nothing magical that comes out of more and more information. It is the same basic information, the same basic strategy, Leslie,
The CARES Act funding, most of it expires at the end of December. Is that right? Like contact tracing funds. What do we do after December to pay for contractors?
Well, the money that's set in place to set up the infrastructure and I believe last time that gives good for like through next March. And so we have The funding in place that is not is not going to end in terms of our capacity on December 30.
Any other extensions have been granted
for the cares that no, no, no, it's it has to be spent. It says been put into place. We have our contracts that are contract tracers that will continue on pass into December and that that meets the requirements of the cares act. Yes. All right. All right. I get that Josh.
Yes, sir. All right, you
get one last question.
Awesome. Good afternoon. And I'm hoping that you'll speak frankly, with me, because this will be a very frank question. You're a father. And you've had to ask your kids multiple times to do something at what point do you like? Like we did in blob wherever up? Do you have to go out and get a switch to actually get them to do?
Is that the question?
Well, you don't get a follow up. But I think I know your point. And the, the answer is, I think we've we've handled it in that way, the right way, with education admonishment, but also there and hope you didn't miss it. But there was, what is 150 different citations issued, which means there's a monetary penalty that goes with that. So we actually have enforcement activities previously, as well as cease and desist orders on particular businesses until they had their compliance in place. And, and then, as director more indicated, they're going to shift the balance somewhat to strengthen that enforcement side. And so I think all those steps are appropriate. We want people to stay in business, but we want them to do it in a healthy way. And that's the balance that we're trying to achieve. And I think we will continue to do that. Thank you very much.