Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley tells the Times that a man who came to Ozark Health Medical Center in Clinton this morning with symptoms similar to those of Ebola is “in the clear,” but referred all further inquiry to hospital administrator David Deaton. Deaton has not returned a call from the Times. Bradley said he and Deaton and County Judge Roger Hooper met together this morning to discuss the situation.
KATV reported that the hospital was on a “precautionary lockdown” but that the patient was at low risk for Ebola. Department of Health spokesperson Kerry Krell said the hospital had notified the department. She could confirm only that the patient was segregated from other patients “in an abundance of caution” after telling staff he’d been in one of the affected countries. She could not confirm what his symptoms were.
UPDATE: Fox 16 quotes the Arkansas Health Department as saying definitively that the man does NOT HAVE EBOLA.
UPDATE II: Ozark Health CEO Deaton tells us that the hospital was never on lockdown, but that the patient was isolated and the part of the hospital where he was held blocked off. He said general blood tests (rather than a specific test for Ebola, available at just a few facilities) ruled out the virus. Ozark Health has posted signs at nearly every entrance, he said, asking visitors to identify if they have been to any of the countries in West Africa where the outbreak is occurring. “Our staff did an extraordinarily professional job,” he said.
UPDATE III: Fountain Lake (home of state Rep. Bruce Westerman, a leading Republican Ebola fear-monger) canceled its junior high football game with Clinton today because of the short-lived and erroneous Ebola rumor. Fountain Lake fans are unanimously supportive on Facebook. The school acknowledged that the patient didn’t likely have Ebola, but said student safety was the district’s number one priority.