LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — According to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the first presumptive COVID-19 case in Arkansas has been confirmed for a patient in a Pine Bluff hospital.
Gov. Hutchinson announced the case in a press conference on Wednesday, March 11.
He said the case has been tested by the Arkansas Department of Health and will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for further testing.
The patient was admitted within the past week Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff with severe symptoms. The patient has an out of state travel history, so it is likely they got the case through travel with another state.
The patient is stable, improving and is in isolation in a negative pressure room at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff.
Any healthcare worker previously exposed is self quarantining.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center officials said the risk is low for those who have not had direct contact with this patient. Out of an abundance of caution, they are limiting access to their facility, and are asking all visitors enter through their main 40th Avenue entrance or through the Emergency Department. All other entrances will be closed.
Visitors will be screened upon entering for fever and will be required to have the name of the patient you are visiting.
The governor also declared a public health emergency in Arkansas and is encouraging Arkansans to reconsider upcoming travel plans.
With spring break coming up, he encouraged residents to consider the following things before traveling:
- Does the trip include a large gathering?
- Is there a confirmed case in the state you're traveling to?
- Will you be traveling with the elderly?
- Are you going to drive or utilize mass transport?
- Are there safer options?
Gov. Hutchinson also said that there is currently no need for state offices to work remotely or disrupt state services. He also instated a travel ban for state offices for the next 60 days.
UAMS is offering free online screening tests for anyone in Arkansas who suspects they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus. The following graphic displays the symptoms connected with COVID-19, the flu and your normal allergies.
More on this case as it develops.