Comunidad Hispana Desproporcionadamente Afectada por COVID-19, Falta de Comunicación Estatal Tiene en la Lalla

Por Mary Hennigan
Arkansascovid.com

Una trabajadora hispana de fábrica en el condado Benton, que posiblemente contrato COVID-19 en Julio de su trabajo, ha continuado sufriendo problemas de salud que han afectado su habilidad para trabajar.

La mujer de 38 años ha experimentado cansancio prolongado y dolor de espalda, que ha agotado sus niveles de energía, dijo ella. El descanso y Tylenol han sido usados en sitio de otra visita al doctor por su temor de no ser entendida y su temor de gastar el dinero. 

La trabajadora, que únicamente habla el español, fue entrevistada por una traductora. Su identidad y el nombre de su lugar de trabajo se ocultan porque teme que su empleo esté en peligro si ella habla públicamente.

Sin embargo, las líneas generales de su experiencia resuenan con muchos en la comunidad hispana en Arkansas, que ha sufrido un golpe duro por la pandemia. Aunque sean casi 8% de la población estatal, el grupo representó casi 17% de todos los casos totales de COVID-19 a partir del 8 de Octubre.

Una de las razones por las que los hispanos se ven más afectados por la pandemia es porque muchos son trabajadores esenciales, manteniendo las tiendas llenas de productos y manteniendo las fábricas corriendo. Mireya Reith, la directora ejecutiva fundadora de Arkansas United, dijo que la gran cantidad de casos se debe a este simple hecho: “Nuestras comunidades [hispanas] nunca paran de trabajar.”

La comunidad ha sufrido 90 muertes, esa figura representa casi 6% del total estatal a partir del 8 de Octubre, según el Departamento de Salud en Arkansas. “Desde una perspectiva cotidiana, casi ninguno de nosotros, en la comunidad latina no conoce a alguien que haya sido infectado” dijo Reith.

La trabajadora de Benton no tenía fiebre al empezar su turno de trabajo, como resultado fue requerida para completar el día de trabajo. Después del trabajo, se hizo la prueba en una clínica con la ayuda de una intérprete, y luego se encontró siendo positiva con COVID-19. 

Durante el periodo de su cuarentena de dos semanas, la trabajadora recibió un promedio de $500 semanales para suplementar sus ingresos, dijo ella. Después de regresar al trabajo, ella todavía no se sentía saludable y regresó a la casa por otras dos semanas adicionales.

Esas dos semanas originalmente no fueron pagadas pero fueron suplementadas después que presentó una queja a su empleador. Con poco dinero y sin permiso de irse de su casa, su familia, incluyendo sus cuatro hijos, estaban sobreviviendo con domas agua, dijo ella.

Oficiales federales culparon a oficiales de Arkansas en Junio por fallar a comunicar los peligros de COVID-19 a la comunidad hispana. Los líderes locales han dicho que ha habido algunas mejorías en obtener advertencias en español desde ese tiempo. 

“Ha habido una mejoría entre el departamento de salud de Arkansas en respecto a términos específicos de COVID, pero esa cultura de traducción no se ha extendido a otros programas” dijo Reith. 

Más allá del problema del lenguaje fueron los mensajes contradictorios que vinieron de las señales principiantes de la pandemia, dijo Nicole Clowney, representante estatal de Arkansas. “Esos mensajes contradictorios fueron tan dañinos a las comunidades vulnerables en Noroeste Arkansas como la falta del entendimiento en español or marshallese” Clowney dijo en una entrevista con Arkansascovid.com

Clowney dijo que el estado no communico efectivamente sobre los dos temas más importantes para la comunidad hispana: identificación no es requerido para tomar una prueba de COVID y las pruebas se pueden obtener gratis. “No es necesario ser un ciudadano estadounidense para obtener una prueba de COVID. Tienes que llegar y querer una prueba de COVID para obtener el examen,” dijo Clowney. 

El CDC estudió los esfuerzos de distribución de COVID en Arkansas desde el 13 de Junio hasta el 4 de Julio. El equipo encontró que las comunidades hispana y marshallese fueron afectadas de una manera desproporcionada por el virus, específicamente debido a la falta de comunicación a estas comunidades, según el reportaje de el CDC. 

“El CDC vendiendo a Arkansas fue una señal de ellos que estaban prestando atención,” dijo Margarita Solorzano, directora ejecutiva de la Organización de Mujeres Hispanas de Arkansas. 

Desde la visita, Solorzano dijo que ha notado más recursos como distribución de comida y el reportaje de los números entre el grupo hispano. Aunque esos esfuerzos son apreciados, Solorzano dice que cree que la información reportada es consistente de una naturaleza política. 

 La mejoría para el futuro va a venir con la inclusión de los oficiales estatales para representar a su gente, dijo Reith. COVID-19 resaltó los problemas de comunicación, pero se han servido de años de problemas sistémicos. Desde 1987, Arkansas ha sido considerado un estado de “sólo inglés”, dando a significar que no hay otro idioma oficial que el inglés, de acuerdo con la ley estatal. 

 La existencia de esta ley ha hecho que los esfuerzos de traducción para el COVID-19 en Arkansas no sorprendente a la comunidad hispana, dijo

Reith. “[La traducción] ahora debe a integrarse en todas partes, y no solo con COVID-19.”

Arkansas Nursing Homes See Rising COVID-19 Deaths

By Katy Seiter
Arkansascovid.com

As Arkansas records a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and a rising death toll, state and federal data show that nursing home residents amount to at least one of every three COVID-19 deaths in the state.

This high death toll in nursing homes comes as Gov. Asa Hutchinson loosened visitation restrictions, a move prompted by federal guidelines, but one coming despite the alarming rates of community transmission across the state. On Thursday, for example, the state reported 1,278 new COVID-19 cases, an all time record for one day.

Between Sept. 21 – Sept. 27, 23% of Arkansas nursing homes reported at least one new resident COVID-19 case, and 5% reported at least one new resident COVID-19 death, according to the Oct. 4 White House Coronavirus Task Force Report.

 

 

Charlotte Bishop, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Arkansas and a public advocate for nursing home residents, said that as long as facilities follow proper protocols and screenings of visitors, she does not believe the easing of visitation restrictions will pose a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure for residents. “The residents deserve to see their families. The families deserve to see the residents,” Bishop said.

Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) data shows any elderly people, even those not in nursing homes, are at high risk for death and serious illness from COVID-19. On Oct. 12, 75% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were people age 65 and older. 

With elderly at such a high risk, nursing home conditions are important since these facilities, like schools and prisons, can witness a rapid spread of disease. In a review of infection control survey summaries, conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), some nursing homes facilities with high COVID-19 resident deaths revealed deficiencies with proper infection control. 

A Sept. 28 survey found Hot Springs Nursing & Rehabilitation,  A Water’s Community noncompliant with infection control regulations and had not implemented the CMS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended COVID-19 practices. As of Oct. 12, Hot Springs Nursing & Rehabilitation had the highest COVID-19 resident deaths in the state.

Tonya Brown, administrator of Hot Springs Nursing & Rehabilitation, said “The safety and well-being of our residents and staff is our top priority, and we are following the recommended preventive measures until the virus has been eradicated from our community.”  

Determining death totals for each facility in Arkansas has been difficult. The ADH releases daily reports on new positive cases in nursing homes, but death figures are only updated once a week. The ADH reports do not provide a comprehensive list of facilities. Facilities are only included if there have been new or additional positive cases, by resident or staff member, in the last 14 days.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, by contrast, provides more comprehensive details of deaths and cases by facility over time.

After Arkansascovid.com made multiple requests for a comprehensive listing of nursing home deaths, and pointed out the more detailed data provided by the federal government, the ADH provided a list of the total COVID-19 resident deaths by facility as of Oct. 12. Details are provided in the interactive chart above.

Nursing home experts say facilities are trying to balance the prevention of COVID-19 spread in the facilities against the mental health and well-being of the elderly, some of whom have been isolated from friends and family visits for months. 

“They’re requested to remain in their rooms for as much as possible. One friend of mine made reference to seeing a high level of depression among the residents because of that,” said Holly Felix, an associate professor and public health researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). 

Small changes, such as the shift from communal dining to private dining, has had a negative impact on the well-being of nursing home residents. For some, the lack of communal gatherings, along with not being able to leave the center or see visitors, including family, has taken a toll on the residents’ health. 

Nursing homes face the additional challenge of maintaining the safety of the staff and the safety of the broader community, said Mark Williams, Ph.D., Dean of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.

“An institution within a community is not divorced from that community, even if the [institution’s] population is, as you might say, isolated,” Williams said.

Williams added that nursing homes are porous because support staff, such as nurses, cooks and cleaners, travel back and forth into the community, leading to a high likelihood of community transmission.

Because ADH data did not provide information on when resident deaths were reported, Arkansascovid.com examined CMS data for weekly reports, which were obtained through the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).

This federal program requires nursing homes to manually submit data and includes COVID-19 suspected resident deaths, as opposed to ADH only reporting confirmed COVID-19 deaths. This is one of the discrepancies in death totals between Arkansas and federal data. Arkansascovid.com has found one facility incorrectly entered data into the federal system. Dermott City Nursing Home is listed in CMS data as having the most nursing home deaths, but upon checking this, Arkansascovid.com determined the data to be inaccurate. Indeed, the ADH reported Dermott City had 8 total COVID-19 deaths as of Oct. 12. Dermott City Nursing Home declined comment.

ADH reported 566 COVID-19 nursing home resident deaths out of a statewide total of 1,586 deaths on Oct. 12. By comparison, the CMS, with its broader accounting of nursing home deaths, reported 584 resident deaths on Sept. 27. Comparing the Oct. 7 federal nursing home totals to overall deaths in the six border states, Arkansas has the second highest ratio behind Missouri.

According to ADH data, Hudson Memorial Nursing Home in Union County, had an outbreak in September resulting in at least 39 new resident cases and 14 resident deaths by Oct. 5. As of Oct. 12, 14 residents have active COVID-19 infections. Hudson Memorial Nursing Home declined to comment.

Beebe Retirement Center, located in White County, reported 64 new cases between Aug. 12 – Oct. 12, totaling at 71 cases. Out of the 64 cases, 17 residents have died, 50 have recovered, and four remain active. Beebe Retirement Center declined to comment.

Pleasant Manor Nursing & Rehab, located in Little River County, reported 52 new resident cases in August. As of Oct. 12, there have been 16 resident deaths. Pleasant Manor Nursing & Rehab declined to comment.

Arkansas continues to experience one of the highest per-capita rates of COVID-19 in the country, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Health professionals and experts urge the public to consider the impact it has on entire communities, especially those considered most vulnerable because of age and existing health conditions.

“I’ve heard the argument that people don’t die of COVID-19; they die of other things while they have COVID-19. That’s an erroneous argument,” Williams said.

He added that many elderly people in nursing homes have underlying conditions and COVID-19 exacerbates these problems. “Without that spark” of a COVID-19 infection, Williams said, “then nothing else would happen. The patient would essentially go on as usual, and that’s oftentimes pointed to with people who are in nursing homes or over the age of 75.”

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Katy Seiter is a graduate student in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media. @KatySeiter

PCR and Antigen Tests: What You Should Know

By Kendal Heavner
Arkansascovid.com 

Last month, Gov. Hutchinson began reporting COVID-19 positivity rates based on two testing methods: PCR and antigen testing. These new terms sparked some amount of confusion. 

Most COVID-19 tests can be divided into PCR, known as Polymerase Chain Reaction tests. These tests use different samples to search for signs of COVID-19: PCR tests search for RNA and antigen tests search for active infections within a patient. Both tests are performed in Arkansas, each with their own charms and deficits. 

 

For the medical community, the PCR test is the gold standard for determining if someone has COVID-19. In order for a “confirmed COVID-19 case” to be reported from the Arkansas Department of Health, one must have a positive PCR test result. The antigen tests, while 95% accurate, are not used by the Centers for Disease Control to classify if someone is positive with COVID-19. Therefore, someone testing positive with an antigen test is considered a “probable positive.”

PCR testing is used to identify people who are contagious to others. This test is performed by swabbing the nose, throat, or other respiratory areas to determine if a person has an active infection. Additionally, PCR tests are “so sensitive that they can detect a ‘positive’ weeks after a person is contagious,” according to Jeremy Chrysler, Vice President of Business Development at Inuvo and volunteer with RapidTests.org. This sensitivity can be a problem. For example, if a person who is no longer contagious is found positive with a PCR test, they would be asked to quarantine, an expensive and time-consuming precaution.

Antigen testing has another major benefit. It is fast and less expensive to determine who has an active infection. Results can be ready within one hour after testing – a big advantage over PCR testing, where people can wait days. While still showing a 95% accuracy rate, there may be false negative results. Because of this, a positive antigen test will result in a “probable positive” number from the Arkansas Department of Health. While the small possibility of a false negative can cause concern, the ability of antigen tests to detect an infection quickly and save patients’ time and money is alluring. The Arkansas Department of Health in September began rolling out antigen testing statewide for its county health departments. 

Recently, the Fayetteville City Board of Health said daily antigen testing results are needed to make proper health recommendations. Health professionals in the Northwest Arkansas area have requested that all positive tests be reported, regardless of the testing method used. We now see the “probable” and “confirmed” positives within testing result numbers because of this request.

“While PCR is technically a superior diagnostic tool because it is more sensitive, antigen tests could be deployed much more broadly to act as a screening tool to prevent ongoing transmission,” Chrysler says. Arkansascovid.com has updated its data reporting to include the combined confirmed and probable results in its data visualizations. 

 

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Kendal Heavner is a graduate student at the School of Journalism and Strategic Media. @HeavnerKendal

Hispanic Community Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19, Lack of State Communication at Fault

By Mary Hennigan
Arkansascovid.com

A Hispanic factory worker in Benton County, who likely contracted COVID-19 in July from her workplace, has continued to suffer health consequences that have affected her ability to work.

The 38-year-old has experienced prolonged fatigue and back pain, which has sapped her energy levels, she said. Rest and Tylenol are used in place of another doctor’s visit because of her fear of not being understood and her fear of wasting money.

The worker, who speaks only Spanish, was interviewed with a translator. Her identity and name of workplace are being withheld because she fears her employment would be endangered if she spoke publicly.

Yet the broad outlines of her experience resonate with many in Arkansas’ Hispanic community, which has suffered a hard blow from the pandemic. At nearly 8% of the state’s population, the group accounted for about 17% of total positive COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 8.

One reason Hispanics are harder hit in the pandemic is because many are essential workers, keeping store shelves stocked and factories running. Mireya Reith, founding executive director of Arkansas United, said the large number of cases boils down to this simple fact: “Our [Hispanic] communities never stop working.”

The community has suffered 90 deaths, which accounted for nearly 6% of the state’s Oct. 8 total, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. “In an everyday perspective, there’s almost no one, of us, in the Latinx community that doesn’t know somebody who’s been infected,” Reith said.

Because the Benton County worker did not have a fever at the beginning of her shift, she was required to complete the workday. After work, she was tested at a clinic with the help of a translator, later to find herself positive with COVID-19.

During her two-week quarantine period, the worker received an average of $500 weekly to supplement her income, she said. After returning to work, she still did not feel healthy and was sent back for an additional two weeks at home.

The additional two weeks originally were unpaid but were supplemented later after she complained to her employer. Running low on funds and without permission to leave the house, the family, including her four children, were living with just water, she said.

Federal officials faulted Arkansas officials in June for failing to communicate the dangers of COVID-19 to the Hispanic community. Local leaders say there’s been some improvement getting Spanish-language warnings since that time. 

“There is improvement within the Arkansas Department of Health in terms of what is specifically COVID, but that culture of translating has not permeated to other programs,” Reith said.

Beyond the issue of language were the conflicting messages that came from early-pandemic warning signs, Arkansas Rep. Nicole Clowney said. “Those mixed messages were as harmful to vulnerable communities in Northwest Arkansas as the lack of understanding in Spanish or Marshallese, ” Clowney said in an interview with Arkansascovid.com.

Clowney said the state didn’t effectively communicate on two major issues concerning the Hispanic community: identification isn’t required to take a COVID-19 test and that the tests can be obtained for free. “You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to get a COVID test. You have to show up and want to get a COVID test to get a COVID test,” Clowney said. 

The CDC studied Arkansas’ COVID-19 distribution efforts from June 13 to July 4. The team found the Hispanic and Marshallese communities were disproportionately affected by the virus, specifically because of lack of communication to these communities, according to the CDC report.

“The CDC coming to Arkansas was a sign that they were paying attention,” said Margarita Solorzano, executive director of the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas.

Since the visit, Solorzano said she has noticed more resources such as food distribution and the reporting of numbers within the Hispanic group. Although these efforts are appreciated, Solorzano said she thinks the information reported is consistently political in nature.

Improvement for the future will come with the inclusion of state officials to represent their people, Reith said. COVID-19 highlighted the communication issues but have stemmed from years of systemic issues. Since 1987, Arkansas has been considered an “English-only” state, which means there is no other official language than English, according to state law.

The existence of this law made Arkansas’ COVID-19 translation efforts unsurprising to the Hispanic community, Reith said. “[Translation] now needs to be integrated everywhere, and not just with COVID.”

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Mary Hennigan is an ArkansasCovid intern and a senior journalism student at the University of Arkansas. She is studying for a news/editorial focused degree with an anthropology minor. @maryhennigan_ 

 

Covid-19 Deaths Continue to Rise in Top Five Arkansas County Hotspots

Many Arkansas county coroners are overwhelmed with more than double the workload compared to 2019 because of increasing COVID-19 deaths.

By Abby Zimmardi

Arkansascovid.com

The Sebastian County Coroner’s office has only one full-time worker, Kenny Hobbs, and he is inundated with the new waves of COVID-19 deaths in Sebastian County, the fifth highest Arkansas county by deaths.

“With the new onslaught I got this weekend, probably going to be looking at 65 Covid-related deaths, somewhere in that area,” Hobbs, Sebastian County Coroner said on Sept. 28. Sebastian County has 160 more deaths than in October of 2019, Hobbs said.

As of Oct. 8, the top five Arkansas counties by COVID-19 deaths are Pulaski County with 169 deaths, Washington County with 122, Benton County with 98, Jefferson County with 87 and Sebastian County with 67. The statewide total was 1,503 COVID-19 deaths.

 

 

Most COVID-19 deaths in Sebastian County are from nursing homes and from people 70 years and older, Hobbs said. The youngest death in Sebastian County was a person in their 40s.

“After they would die, I would talk to the family and the family would tell me they’re afraid to go to the doctor or hospital because of Covid,” Hobbs said.

Coroners in other counties with high COVID-19 death rates don’t feel the same burden. Benton County Coroner Daniel Oxford said the workload has remained the same even with increasing COVID-19 deaths.

“We average 140-150 deaths per month anyway, so this has increased our work load a little, but not really all that much,” Oxford said. “We’re about average of what we were in previous years.”

The cases that Hobbs has seen in Sebastian County range from the death taking place between two days to a month after being diagnosed with COVID-19, he said.

Ronny Ocker, director of the Ocker-Putman Funeral Home in Fort Smith, said fewer people come to services because of fear of being exposed to the virus. Funeral services are open to 67% of capacity, which is between 65 to 70 people, and there is also the option to livestream a service on the Ocker-Putman Facebook page.

For funerals of people who died from Covid-19, there are more restrictions on the services, Ocker said.

“We do not let people touch or kiss or pat anybody that had any kind of Covid consequences,” Ocker said. “So, we keep them back and they can still do viewings and funerals and things like that, but it’s restricted to how many people and how far apart.”

Kenny Hobbs, Sebastian County coroner, works in his office Oct. 9, 2020. Hobbs is the only full-time employee at the coroner’s office in one of the COVID-19 Arkansas county hotspots. Photo courtesy Kenny Hobbs.

Washington County has the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths, and Janell Smith, office manager and deputy coroner for Washington County Coroner’s Office, said that cases have been coming into the office daily.

“It has definitely increased the workload at the Coroner’s Office,” Smith said. “We on average in the last month have had one case at least every day, if not two.”

Unsure about the contagious nature of people who died of COVID-19, the Washington County Coroner’s Office holds and isolates the bodies, which is typically for no longer than 24 hours, Smith said.

“We have chosen to bring all of the Covid deaths to the Coroner’s Office to isolate them,” Smith said. “So, they are not released to the funeral home until we know what their final disposition is going to be, which means that they’re either going to be directly cremated, or they’re going to be directly embalmed.”

Funeral homes in Washington County do not have the capability of isolating COVID-19 deaths, Smith said. The coroner’s office has the capacity to hold 11 bodies and has not had a problem with running out of space.

As well as isolating the bodies, the Washington County Coroner’s office is using double the amount of materials to bag the bodies as an extra precaution, Smith said.

“We put them in a white cremation bag, or the facilities do, and then we put them in a regular body bag,” Smith said. “So that’s a double seal and we sanitize in between.”

Once the body is sealed in the bags, they are not opened even if they are going to be cremated, Smith said.

Oxford is not sure what to expect in the coming weeks for the Benton County Coroner’s Office for COVID-19 deaths.

“You can’t predict exactly when somebody is going to die or what the future holds,” Oxford said. “That’s just not a crystal ball that I’ve got.”

As the State Eases Covid-19 Restrictions, Restaurants Struggle

Although the state of Arkansas is easing dining out restrictions, some restaurants are struggling to stay in business and keep their staff and customers safe.

By Obed Lamy
Arkansascovid.com

Matthew McClure, executive chef of The Hive, a popular Bentonville restaurant, has faced a dual dilemma during the COVID-19 crisis, one that many restaurants and bars face across the country: how to stay in business while still ensuring the safety of his employees and family.

After shutting down for three months, The Hive returned to operations on July 1 with around a third of its 75-plus employees and a significant drop in revenues. ‘’It is not a great spot to be in, but it is better than just being closed,’’ McClure said.

On September 9, the state took a new step toward relaxing COVID-19-related restrictions by allowing restaurants to expand their activity to up to 66% of their total seating capacity for indoor and outdoor dining areas and tables six feet apart, Arkansas Health Department said in a statement. 

But the Hive decided to go below the target: roughly 55 seats, representing 40% of its total seating capacity, have been made available for guests.  McClure said that the constraint is not a lack of room to socially distance the seats but a decrease in the client base, resulting in a slowdown in business activities and travels in Bentonville. ”I think a lot of people are deterred to go out to eat because we’ve learned a lot more about how this virus spreads,” McClure said. ”And you know, being in closed buildings and rooms and not wearing a mask is not the best recipe.”

There is some evidence suggesting that people dining in restaurants can contract COVID-19. A Sept. 10, 2020 study from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention found that people tested positive to COVID-19 are twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant the last 14 days than those with negative test results.

The study was conducted on 314 adults who were tested for COVID-19 in 10 states, including California, Tennessee, and Washington. The CDC warned that it ”might not be representative of the United States population”.

Even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance, air circulation in restaurants might affect virus transmission, the researchers said.

An Arkansas Department of Health survey came up on Sept. 17 with different findings: 3% of the active COVID-19 cases reported having visited restaurants in the 14 days before diagnosis. The highest rate, 10%, was found among patients who went to retail stores. 

”I believe that our restaurants are really working hard to comply with the guidelines,” said Gov. Hutchinson, commenting on the CDC study at a press conference on Sept.11.

More than 88,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Arkansas since the pandemic started. A report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force on September 27 placed Arkansas in the ”red zone” for COVID –19 and recommended closing bars and restricting indoor dining to 25% capacity.

Increasing their reopening and following the health guidelines at the same time is difficult for restaurants to balance. ”If we follow one, we cannot follow the other,” said Abbi Moore, assistant manager at JJ’S Grill on Dickson street in Fayetteville. 

Abbi Moore is an assistant manager at JJ’S Grill, a college bar in Fayetteville. Photo by Obed Lamy.

JJ’S Grill has not hit more than 50% of its seating capacity, only 24 tables, while the demand is strong. ”There are still just as many people on the street trying to come in all the time, but obviously, we cannot let them because we don’t have space,” said Moore. Last month, some 25 customers were on the waiting list and had to stay outside for up to two hours, she said.

This reduction in available seat capacity leads to a drop in revenues. ”On weekends, we do about $10,000 less in sales than what we did this time last year,” said Moore.

Montine McNulty, chief executive officer of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, said “it’s hard for a small restaurant to sometimes even be in business. You have fewer customers and fewer revenues.”

The economic devastation experienced by restaurant owners is still being evaluated. At a press conference on Sept. 9, Steuart Walton, the chair of the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force, said that restaurants’ revenues fell 35% below their levels from last August.

According to the Journal of Accountancy, small businesses across the country have received loans for a total of $525 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. The Hive was not eligible for this program because it is technically not considered a small business, McClure said.

”We are operating essentially in the middle of a hurricane and trying to survive” McClure said. ”But until we get a vaccine, we’re probably not gonna see the light at the end of the tunnel and really see things turn around.”

Ozarks at Large – September Update

Ozarks at Large Broadcast

Listen to Arkansascovid interns Mary Hennigan and Katy Seiter discuss the September trends in COVID-19 data on KUAF’s Ozarks at Large with reporter Antionette Grajeda on Oct. 6, 2020.

 

Update on the site

You will notice some changes to the Arkansascovid.com home page today. This is the beta run of the new automation tools created by the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas.

It’s a work in progress!

So please tweet any comments or suggestions to @arkansascovid.

In the coming weeks and days, we will be adding back some of the features and data Misty had provided.

Details of the changeover are here and KUAF did a report on us as well.

Special thanks to Katy Seiter, Mary Hennigan, Abby Zimmardi, Kendal Heavner and Obed Lamy, the students working on the project this semester.

Also thanks to Austin Wilkins with the UA Mullins Library for his programming support.

And thanks to the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Arkansas Soul for their financial support of our interns.

Keep your comments and suggestions coming!

–Rob Wells, assistant professor and Arkansascovid.com editor

 

 

 

School District Summary

Check back here twice a week for highlights from the Arkansas Department of Health report on COVID-19 in our schools. Tell us what you need! Thanks

September Recap:

The average daily new COVID-19 cases totaled 695.8 and deaths totaled 14.1, according to the ADH. September 11 had the highest number of one-day cases with 1,107 and September 2 had the highest deaths with 27.

@maryhennigan_  

Special Report:

Recap of COVID-19 by Demographics for the Sept 25-27 Weekend

By Mary Hennigan @maryhennigan_