From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
Although we have not seen an outbreak of the coronavirus, the Arkansas Health Department is taking the threat extremely seriously.
The department has requested a testing kit from the Centers for Disease Control and should receive it this week. That will greatly speed up our response time, when someone comes down with the symptoms of the coronavirus.
So far, two people in Arkansas have been tested. The results were negative for the first person, and we’re waiting on the results from the second. The second test is from a person who came back ill from a foreign country that has been affected by coronavirus. The person is in quarantine.
Ten other Arkansas residents are in voluntary quarantine, after they returned home from travels to countries where the coronavirus has occurred. Fortunately, none of them have developed any symptoms.
The Health Department has named an incident commander, to manage the state’s response. The office is working with Arkansas hospitals to make sure we have the capacity to quarantine people who show symptoms.
If necessary, the Department will make housing and shelter available if it is not feasible for someone to stay in quarantine at their home.
The office is working with hospitals and physicians to make sure they are kept informed about the proper precautions to take, and how to transport anyone with symptoms.
It’s much too soon to say how severely Arkansas will be impacted by the coronavirus, but it’s good to know that our public health officials are preparing for all possibilities.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and most sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.