ARKANSAS, USA — The Arkansas Department of Health is issuing temporary emergency licensure to medical residents and nursing students to prepare for an expected strain on the medical system because of COVID-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday (Mar. 25).
COVID-19 cases in Arkansas rose from 218 on Tuesday to 280 as of early afternoon on Wednesday.
By nightfall, the number had risen to 308.
There were two deaths reported Tuesday, but none on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday at 1 p.m., there were 461,167 U.S. cases and 827 deaths. Globally, there were around 451,355 cases and more than 20,499 deaths.
He said the state licensed 100 physicians and more than 300 nurses.
He also said nurses and other medical workers impacted by the ban on elective surgeries are being communicated with redirect, where possible, to needed areas.
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education CEO Kyle Parker does not believe expedited licensing will pose a risk to medical providers or patients.
“My guess is that they will have them do very basic health screening.
By the first year of their health training they know how to run lateral lines and conduct medical screenings and those sorts of things,” Parker said. “I would think they [residents] will still be underneath the care of physicians overseeing them.”
ACHE is a private, nonprofit institution on 350 acres at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith.
ACHE’s first college, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM), welcomed its inaugural class of 150 osteopathic medical students in August 2017.
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