As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Northwest 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 nwaonline.com/coronavirus/. Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.
• Arkansas has confirmed 18,062 total cases since the covid-19 pandemic began, according to data from the morning of June 26. State health officials also have reported 240 total deaths and 12,127 people recovered.
• Hospitalizations are increasing in Northwest Arkansas, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson on June 25 spoke of plans to move some people to hospitals in different parts of the state if needed, although Arkansas hasn’t reached that point yet.
• Hutchinson said June 24 that he hopes to hire 700 more people – double what he had originally planned – to help the state with its contact tracing efforts. The program tries to identify who has come into contact with infected persons.
• The state is preparing for a surge of covid-19 infections that a forecast predicts will result in the hospitalization of 3,300 Arkansans at its peak on Sept. 30, the governor said June 23. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health has been working on the projections since March, but has tried to ward off reporters' inquiries about them, emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette show.
• The state health department recommends that everyone wear face masks in all indoor environments where they could come within 6 feet of anyone who is not in their household. The announcement came June 19, the same day the state announced a rise of 703 infections.