West Memphis officials say county’s first coronavirus patient had traveled to California

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said Friday there was now one confirmed case of coronavirus in Crittenden County.

This is the first case in Crittenden County. There are 96 total cases in Arkansas.

McClendon said the person traveled to California and is now doing OK. The person had private testing done on Wednesday and was quarantined the next day.

The patient’s family has been tested, McClendon said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with this patient as we wish for a speedy recovery,” he said.

Arkansas has shut down bars and gyms statewide. Restaurants are take-out and delivery only to prevent the spread of the virus.

Though the is Crittenden County’s first case, officials are bracing for the problem to get much worse before it gets better.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think we’ll probably see more before it’s over with,” Crittenden County judge Woody Wheeless said. “But if our citizens will do what they need to do, I think we’ll have an opportunity to minimize the number that shows up in our county.”

McClendon said the medical community of Crittenden County are ready for a rising number of cases.

“Many of our medical professionals, we have already met and started to look at scenarios if this did happen,” McClendon said. “We have been prepared for some time, even with emergency services as well.”

There’s no information on when things in the state could return to normal. Arkansas schools have a projected return date of April 17, but that could be delayed.

While waiting, officials are encouraging people to take the issue seriously.

“Take this virus seriously; it’s here,” McClendon said. “We just need to do the necessary things and take the proper precautions and make sure the people of our county are safe.”

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