Columbia County’s first large-scale screening for the COVID-19 virus will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee is organizing the event.
Area residents who feel they are experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath, or who have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus, are encouraged to attend.
Individuals will first be asked questions to determine the need for further testing. People with positive screens will have the option to be tested at Thursday’s event.
The public is asked to remain inside vehicles, and to have no more than two people per vehicle.
They should bring a valid identification and a copy of any insurance cards. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses for anyone.
Columbia County has been allocated a number of test kits for the screening.
Organizes note that someone who does not meet the criteria for a complete test after their initial screening may not necessarily have a clean bill of health. They may have other conditions besides coronavirus that could be contagious.
Through early Tuesday morning, the Arkansas Department of Health reported that there have been 201 COVID-19 cases reported in Arkansas. More than 1,100 people have been tested. There have been no deaths and six people have recovered.
Test kits have become more available statewide, and officials hope the clinics such as the one in Magnolia will provide health officials with a better idea of the virus’ impact on the state. It’s hoped that early detection may help slow the spread of the disease.
Most COVID-19 sufferers will experience health consequences similar to a cold. However, some people -- especially those with compromised immune systems -- will have severe or even fatal respiratory ailments.
The Arkansas Department of Health, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and private laboratories have ramped up their testing capabilities in recent days.
Nationally, 46,450 people are known to have contracted the virus. A total of 593 people has died since the initial U.S. COVID-19 death in a Seattle suburb on February 29.
Cases were confirmed in Columbia and Union counties on Sunday. There are cases in 35 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.
COVID-19 cases have also been reported in North Louisiana, with one death in Webster Parish.
The COVID-19 virus in Columbia County will be the focus of a press conference that will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Speakers will include Dr. Fred Murphy, hospitalist at Magnolia Regional Medical Center; Larry Taylor, director of the Columbia County Office of Emergency Management; Greg Pinner, Magnolia Fire Department chief; and Randy Reed, Columbia County coroner.