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There have been a lot of posts regarding the COVID-19 virus lately, and we want to share the following facts with everyone so they will be well-informed. Solid information helps eliminate fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Arkansas, and emergency response professionals are actively monitoring the situation both statewide as well as in Saline County. However, we have had 27,500 positive influenza reports sent to the Arkansas Department of Health since September 2019.

Fortunately, steps to help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading are very similar to what we should already be doing as part of our normal lives to prevent exposure to Flu-A or Flu-B viruses. The following helpful tips for both the Flu and COVID-19 viruses are available from the Center for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health:

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Stay home when you are sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops) and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

- Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label.

- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly use surfaces can be wiped down before each use.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

- Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.

- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Again, we encourage all of our citizens to stay informed and safe regarding both the Influenza and COVID-19 viruses. Please use facts instead of rumors. If the situation changes, more information will be provided as soon as possible. If you have more questions, feel free to visit the CDC FAQ located here: