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The state received its first shipment of hospital personal protective equipment that was not from the national stockpile, and it could get 30 days worth of PPE as soon as next week, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said Friday at the governor’s daily coronavirus briefing.
Patterson also thanked L’Oreal for agreeing to give the state 550 gallons of hand sanitizer per week for free. And he praised the UAMS procurement team, which has been “working around the clock” to order PPE.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson also briefly addressed federal assistance for small businesses, which includes a forgivable loan program called Paycheck Protection — part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The program would encourage businesses with fewer than 500 employees to retain workers and maintain wages. Businesses will apply for those loans through their banks.
“Everybody is frustrated right now because the small-business person is very anxious to get the loan that they need to keep their employees online, but also to keep their business alive. The bankers are anxious because they’re willing to make those loans; they just need to have the guidance from the federal government,” he said. “And so we’re all waiting on that guidance. Last night, they received some, but it wasn’t sufficient, so they’re continuing to wait. I know it’s a humongous task, but that’s the lynchpin of it.”
The governor encouraged Arkansas’ small businesses to pursue bridge loans of up to $250,000 to help them until they are able to apply for the employee pay
In other news, the state has recorded 704 COVID-19 cases. Monroe County recorded its first case.
Seventy-one patients have been hospitalized, 26 are on ventilators and 60 people have recovered from the virus.
There were no new deaths on Friday; there have been 12 deaths in Arkansas from COVID-19.
In addition, Hutchinson said almost 10,000 people have been tested throughout the state and 7.3% of those tested have tested positive for the virus.