Greene County, Paragould city officials address first positive case of coronavirus

AMMC Addresses first positive case

PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - In Greene County, a person has tested positive for coronavirus.

On Friday, officials with Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill and Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon held a meeting to address the issue.

They’re calling it a crisis; however, they’re asking their citizens not to panic. In fact, they say this is something they have been preparing for months now.

“This is kinda an eye opener really. It could be a neighbor, it could be your cousin, it could be anybody who could have this," Paragould resident Belinda Leisure said.

Reality is settling in now for some citizens. But, having a positive case in their area is not so much of a surprise to Greene County and city officials.

“Our very own AMMC has been preparing since early January that this will reach our county," McMillon said.

And now, they are ready to execute everything they have been preparing for including implementing an “incident command” or task force to tackle what may be on the horizon.

“If it’s a tornado, if it’s an earthquake at a certain point, you know what to expect…. with this, you don’t," President/CEO of AMMC Barry Davis said.

But, they say, they have been meeting daily and are dedicated to keeping the citizens safe, both in public and at the hospital.

“Handwashing is significant. If we could just keep our hands washed, our coughs covered, stay home, if you are sick" Greene County Health Officer and AMMC Medical Staff Dr. Tasha Starks said.

Hospital officials say they are ready to go above the call of duty making sure their employees are educated regarding care, changing policies like the number of visitors one patient can have and even setting up their own COVID-19 task force. With hopes for the best but preparing for the worst.

One citizen calling out to her community about the severity of all of this.

“People really need to take this seriously," Leisure said.

AMMC also said they plan on opening an Infectious Disease Ward, if there are more cases confirmed in Greene County.

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