- Associated Press - Monday, March 9, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas officials on Monday told the state’s nursing homes to conduct screening of staff and visitors over concerns about the new coronavirus.

The state departments of Health and Human Services issued a directive laying out the screening procedures for long-term care facilities. Arkansas has not had any cases of the coronavirus, which causes the disease called COVID-19.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

The directive said staff at long-term care facilities must question all visitors if they have visited countries with sustained transmission of COVID-19 within the past 14 days or whether they have had contact with anyone infected with or investigated for COVID-19.



Staff must also screen visitors for symptoms of a respiratory infection and measure their temperature. Staff cannot let any visitors with temperatures exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit enter the facility.

Under the directive, employees must also have their temperatures screened before every shift.

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