RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — Over the weekend, a party was held at a residence within the city limits of Russellville in which an individual under quarantine for suspected COVID-19 lived.
On Apr. 6, Pope County Judge, Ben Cross and Russellville Mayor, Richard Harris issued a joint statement to the media.
The statement read, “There are instances in our community that demonstrate a lack of appreciation for the seriousness of the virus and the protective measures that have been put in place to safeguard the public.
This individual has since been confirmed positive. A disregard for the welfare of others in a situation of this type cannot be underestimated. It is important for those who attended a party of this type to confirm with the host whether anyone in at the party has been under quarantine or identified as COVID-19 positive. If you did attend this type of get together, please contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847.”
A woman whose name is being withheld says when she planned the party, she had no idea her roommate who works at a nursing home had been sick or tested for coronavirus. She regrets throwing the party.
“I know it shouldn’t have happened,” she admitted. “But there’s nothing we can do about it now except take it seriously. We weren’t really thinking of the consequences when we agreed to the party. I realize it could affect many people. We’re all getting tested, and we’re all staying inside. In a way, I’m glad it happened because it made me realize we need to take this seriously. It was like a wake-up call for me.”
“It was just our close friends,” the woman said. “No more than 20 people were there, and the girl who we found out Sunday had the coronavirus didn’t even come out of her room. None of us knew she was sick.”
The Arkansas Department of Health will be conducting an investigation and contacting those who attended the party.
Appropriate measures that must be taken to protect themselves and the public from the spread of the virus will be explained to party attendees.
“Right now is not the time to be having parties,” said Pope County Office of Emergency Management Director, Justin Drittler. “It’s not a time to be having big group gatherings. It’s spreading here, and it’s been proven in the state and in the country that it spreads when multiple people are together in big groups. People need to stay at home. I know people have to go get groceries, but don’t go to the store to check out the new televisions. Just stay home.”