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Working on the front lines in one of the hardest hit COVID-19 areas in Arkansas

Two of the three COVID-19 deaths in the state have been in Cleburne County, and it's second to Pulaski County in confirmed cases.

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark — Sandie Wildmon has worked as a nurse for seven years. She said she never expected anything like this to happen.

"I've done several different types of nursing, from home health to clinic work. This is new," said Wildmon.

She works at a doctor's clinic in Heber Springs. She said it didn't take long before her office was adapting to the virus outbreak.

"We've come up with a system of screening over the phone, screening at the door, and we have a list of questions at the door," she explained.

She described the questions as "memory joggers," asking patients, "Who were you with last week?" and "Who were you with 11 days ago?"

Sandie and her husband are also volunteers for the Hopewell Fire Department, and they too have changed the way they respond to calls because of the coronavirus.

"When they call 911, dispatch screens with questions, 'Have you been exposed?' 'Are you having symptoms?' Then, it's paged out, this is a possible contaminated situation."

Instead of having several first responders show up to the location, only three will go. Two will go inside the residence and one will stay outside to decontaminate.

"It's a mixed feeling," said Wildmon. "We have some people who are taking it very seriously and we have a lot of people who are scared."

"My personal opinion is, this is very serious. I don't think it's crisis mode. I think everybody should be cautious and wise and be respectful of their neighbors," she added.

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