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Investigation Of Suspected Coronavirus Confirmed In Arkansas

According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), one case of suspected coronavirus is under investigation within the state. The ADH said the person being t...

According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), one case of suspected coronavirus is under investigation within the state.

The ADH said the person being tested had spent time in China and began feeling symptoms associated with the virus once they returned to the United States.

"This person traveled to China and returned and developed symptoms after they returned." Dr. Jennifer Dillah, Medical Director for Immunizations and Outbreak Response at ADH, said.

The ADH is following the CDC's recommendation to investigate the person.

"The hospital is following all of the appropriate precautions to keep from transmitting any possible virus to other people," Dr. Dillaha said.

The person under investigation will remain in isolation.

The ADH will know within the next two days about the condition of the patient.

So far, it is suspected that the coronavirus is transmitted only from person to person contact.

"It does not appear to be an airborne virus, but it can be transmitted through respiratory droplets," Dr. Dillaha told 5NEWS.

It's unknown at this time wherein the state the suspected case is.

The U.S. government has evacuated at least 195 Americans out of Wuhan, China, the city where the center of the virus outbreak, the CDC confirmed.

Oklahoma has also announced its own investigation into two individuals. The Oklahoma State Department of Health ensures coronavirus in the state is not something to worry about right now.

"It is a low risk for any single individual currently in Oklahoma., Gary Cox, Commissioner of Health with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said.

Oklahoma health officials will be waiting to hear back from the CDC in Atlanta, where they sent samples from the patients.

Cox wants Oklahomans to know they are doing what they can to get ahead of the situation.

"We don't want Oklahomans to be fearful, but we are taking it seriously in public health, and in public health, of course, preparation is the key," Cox said.

The same is said for Dr. Dillaha and Arkansans.

"This is not local transmission, and we want to assure people that we are taking every recommended step we know how to take, and we're working very hard to safeguard the safety of the people in Arkansas," Dr. Dillaha said.

Jennifer Cook with Mercy Northwest sent the following statement to 5NEWS:

"When patients check in, our electronic health record prompts our front desk staff to ask about their travel history and symptoms of a communicable disease. If they have traveled to China and have symptoms like fever, cough, etc., the system prompts staff to immediately mask and isolate the patient. That sets off our highly infectious disease protocol, where our co-workers would don personal protective equipment (per CDC guidelines) and start caring for the patient."

Senator Tom Cotton released the following statement on Twitter:

For more information on coronavirus from the CDC, click here.

The ADH released a statement in part saying, "Arkansas currently has one patient under investigation for novel coronavirus. A patient under investigation means that the person is being tested to determine if they have novel coronavirus. Testing for the virus is conducted by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, and currently , ADH is awaiting results for the patient under investigation. As of right now, there has been no confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the state."

The ADH said at this time, the risk to the general public in Arkansas is considered low.

More on this story as it develops.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story said there was a confirmed case within the state. There is a case being investigated.