My own employer is deciding today how to cope with work: Continue at the office or stay home. For many with children, going to the office isn’t an option. For at least a few functions, some office time is unavoidable. This 69-year-old is staying home, as health officials are advising.

I heard last night from a state employee urging a move to homework for state employees, or least, as on snow days, for “non-essential” employees. This plea followed the employee receiving an advisory last week from the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Its leader, Stacy Hurst, wrote:


Good evening, ADPHT!

Thank you for your continued attention to issues surrounding COVID-19. We learned today, that the number of presumptive cases in Arkansas has climbed to 9, all still within the four-county area of Pulaski, Saline, Grant and Jefferson.

To help ease some fears, here’s a quick explanation of what is happening right now through the Arkansas Department of Health. When a patient is confirmed positive with the Coronavirus, the Arkansas Department of Health immediately conducts a thorough contact investigation and contact tracing. They reach out to all necessary contacts and direct anyone that needs to quarantine to do so. The Governor today redirected resources to ADH to both assist with the timeliness of this process and with increased laboratory testing.

Additionally, please know that the state of Arkansas is fully deployed across all departments of government and with key partners like UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Communication will continue to be robust. If you have concerns about your own health or the health of a loved one, there are many online assessment tools like this one from UAMS:

For clarification:

*   We will not curtail routine, in-state travel, the kind you do as part of your daily work. The only travel being curtailed is out-of-state travel for conferences, training, trade shows, etc. Of course, I do want you to avoid large gatherings, even if they are in state.
*   We received guidance regarding leave from OPM late this afternoon. I’ll have that ready to share first thing Monday.
*   Charles Kirksey is working hard to secure a disinfectant wipe for employees to use at your desk, but they are hard to find. If you have some at home, bring them for your use. Charles will continue to search.
*   If you feel bad, please use your sick leave and stay home.

Thank you very much and please let me know if you have questions or concerns.

The governor’s daily press conference with updates will be held today in Fayetteville. It will be streamed on his YouTube channel. Perhaps the assembled reporters can ask a question on the subject.