As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. We’ll be publishing these round-ups in English, Spanish and Marshallese. You can read our full coverage at arkansasonline.com/coronavirus/. Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.
• Arkansas has 96,524 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Oct. 16. State health officials also have reported 1,645 confirmed and probable deaths and 86,447 recoveries.
• Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Oct. 14 that the state will soon begin using disposable, $5 kits to conduct weekly coronavirus testing of employees at certain public school districts and all the state's prisons and human development centers.
• After several days of rising numbers of Arkansas patients hospitalized with covid-19, hospitalizations dropped Oct. 14 to 587. Those patients included 113 who were on ventilators, up from 110 a day earlier. The state hit a record number of hospitalizations Oct. 12, at 608.
• State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha on Oct. 14 urged Arkansans to get their flu shots, citing increased risk of serious illness for older people and the death of a patient last month who had both covid-19 and the flu.
• Hutchinson on Oct. 13 renewed the state's public health emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic for an additional 60 days. The order, first declared in March, will keep in place measures such as liability protections for businesses and an expansion of telemedicine, among other tactics to slow the virus’s spread.