Gov. Asa Hutchinson focused on the efforts of nursing homes during this pandemic during the Tuesday COVID-19 press conference.
According to state officials, there are currently 192 nursing homes in the state that do not have any COVID-19 cases as of May 19. Eighteen nursing homes have one case, 10 nursing homes have between two and five cases, one nursing home has between six and 10 cases and six nursing homes have 11 or more cases.
On April 15, Hutchinson announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the state’s request to use Medicaid funds to temporarily increase the weekly income of long-term services and support (LTSS) direct-care workers during the public health emergency. Approximately $21,862,435 will be paid to these workers in Arkansas.
Today, he provided an update on those payments. The first set of payments totaled up to $1,735,500 which were processed on April 23 and paid on May 1. Two more sets of payments have been made. The last set of payments were processed on May 15 and will be paid on May 22. The total number of the last set of payments is $8,827,482.01.
Rachel Bunch, executive director of the Arkansas Health Care Association, joined Hutchinson at the press conference to highlight workers at nursing homes.
So far, 325 nursing home residents and 189 staff members have tested positive for the virus. However, Bunch reported that 72 long-term care residents have recovered from COVID-19. One of them was a 102-year-old resident at Walnut Ridge Nursing Home. Furthermore, 19 nursing home facilities have been removed from the list of those with active cases.
“This means that they have minimized or eliminated the spread of the virus that was living within their walls with the residents,” Bunch said. “This is an incredible accomplishment and the work that they are doing is really paying off.”
According to Bunch, the majority of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 were isolated to receive medical attention and then moved back to their normal room. Others have either been transferred to a hospital or passed away from the virus.
Bunch said the number of long-term care residents who have tested positive for the virus represents 1.4 percent of total residents. The number of staff members who have tested positive for the virus represents 0.7 percent of total staff members in the facilities.