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13 people test positive for COVID-19 at Marion, AR, nursing home

All those who tested positive are in quarantine.

MARION, Ark. — UPDATED: A Marion, Arkansas nursing home is at the center of a COVID-19 outbreak. So far, eleven residents and two employees of Willowbend at Marion have tested positive for the virus. And they are still waiting for test results of 23 residents and several staff members.

Of the 11 residents that have so far tested positive, nine still remain at the facility, one is in the hospital, and one has passed away.

Willowbend Healthcare and Rehabilitation is one of 15 long-term care facilities in the state of Arkansas that has patients with COVID-19. We're told the first patient was tested for COVID-19 March 27 after showing symptoms. When the positive test result came back April 1st, everyone who lives there and works there was tested.

Rachel Bunch, Executive Director of the Arkansas Healthcare Association, is speaking on behalf of the facility.

"They are holding up ok. They have staff that are so dedicated to what they do," said Bunch.

Bunch says Willowbend quickly activated its emergency operations plan to try and minimize the spread of the disease.

"The residents who are positive for COVID, they have moved those people and isolated them in a separate wing of the facility," said Bunch. "The employees, the housekeepers, the CNAs and LPNs who are taking care of those residents are only taking care of those residents, and then the staff that deals with the other residents - they are separate. "

Willowbend is a 98-bed facility. It stopped allowing visitors from the outside in mid-March. For now, residents are quarantined and there are no plans to shut it down or remove all of the residents.

We're told the results for rest of the remaining residence and staff are trickling in. Bunch didn't know how long until they are complete.

RELATED: Death toll up to 10 from outbreak at Middle Tennessee nursing home

RELATED: Watch: Arkansas nurse sings to hospital staff and patient to ease COVID-19 tensions


Coronavirus in Context: 

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.