Miller County and the City of Texarkana, AR. have joined the City of Texarkana, TX. and Bowie County at the Emergency Operations Center which will allow all departments within both Cities, Counties, and States to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller County is updating the http://www.millercountyar.com site to include links to the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Division of Emergency Management and the Miller County Judges Office to include the Miller County Office of Emergency Management. We want the citizens of Miller County to know we’re here for them to answer questions and provide direction and guidance during this trying time. We hope to provide more information to the medical community soon on the PPE requests. It is expected that most requests for PPE and other State resources will be honored to Counties who have confirmed cases first, so we must be patient as Miller County has NO confirmed case(s) as of this brief.

The City of Texarkana, TX and Bowie County have launched a website and will be updated with resources, information and local closures and cancellations. Visit coronatxk.org/ to learn more.

We are concerned about the public’s health and safety and residents are reminded to take responsibility for their own health. A meeting hosted by Miller County OEM for Texarkana, AR. and Miller County Officials and department heads was conducted on March 17th. Officials from both sides of Texarkana and both Counties will hold a joint press conference on March 18th. The media is invited.

Miller County Judge Cathy Hardin Harrison wants to remind all residents of Miller County that public health is everyone’s responsibility, and this is the answer to these health crises. “I want to assure the citizens of Miller County that all local entities are working closely together to stay current on all information and to keep our citizens updated as the information comes available. At this time the Miller County Courthouse will remain open for business if a COVID-19 virus case is confirmed or possibly linked to the courthouse or courthouse employees, closing of the courthouse will be evaluated at that time. For the protection of the employees of the county, we do ask the public to adhere to all of the CDC guidelines. Joe Bennett, our Emergency Management Coordinator is working night and day to remain current with information from the state and federal government in efforts to keep our citizens safe and virus free. If you have concerns or reports, call the Joint Emergency Operations Center at 903-255-5560.

We also want the public to be aware of scams involving COVID-19 and Price Gouging. The Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge has placed in effect, Act 376 of 1997, Price Gouging for the next 30 days. Violations amount to a fine of $10,000 for each offense of emergency products that may be in short supply. If a merchant raises prices 10% above the price BEFORE the emergency was declared, they are in violation of this law.

As the Texarkana region deals with its first positive case of COVID-19, residents are reminded to make responsible for their health. Mayor of Texarkana, Texas Bob Bruggeman asks for residents’ help to manage the health crisis.

“We need each resident to evaluate their own health,” Bruggeman said. “There may not be an official order or mandate to stay at home yet, but it’s very important that we adhere to the CDC guidelines, which include avoiding public gatherings of 50 or more, use social distancing and wash hands often and thoroughly.

It is absolutely imperative that we are self-aware and cautious. The only way we can slow down this virus is if we are hyper-vigilant.”

Dr. Matt Young, the Bowie County Local Health Authority, clarifies testing issues the county is facing.

“The testing kits have not been made readily available to our region like some of the larger cities,” Dr. Young said. “Local healthcare facilities are taking swabs and sending them off for testing, but only if a patient is identified as needing testing. If you have symptoms, or suspect you’ve had contact with someone who has COVID-19, please call the Texas Department of Health Hotline at (877) 570-9799/ Arkansas Department of Health Hotline at (800) 803-7847 or call your primary care provider.”

“If you’re walking well and think you have the virus, please quarantine yourself at home. If your symptoms are being managed with over the counter medication, stay at home and take care of yourself,” Dr. Young said. “If your symptoms escalate and you’re not able to take care of yourself, call your Primary Care Provider, or local healthcare facility. Let them know you’re coming, so they can give you further directions.”

Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell urges business owners to make their own decisions about closing and/or altering operations.

“We urge local residents to keep supporting our businesses,” Howell said. “Go through drive-thru’s, order take out, pick up the phone and keep patronizing our local businesses. Each of them needs to make their own decisions about how to operate during this time, but we’re asking everyone to keep thinking about the community as a whole and treat this situation as a serious public health issue.”

The Joint Operations Center is collecting information about possible causes in the region. Local healthcare providers should call 903 255-3560 to report possible cases, tests administered and quarantined patients.

Local businesses that may have been impacted financially by this crisis should visit https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/.

The Joint Operations Center is collecting information about possible causes in the region. Local healthcare providers should call 903 255-3560 to report possible cases, tests administered and quarantined patients.

If you wish to contact the Miller County Office of Emergency Management or City of Texarkana, AR., the Joint Operations Center will operate Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM. The public telephone number is 903- 255-5560.