While he was serving his final day of quarantine for COVID-19, City Administrator Adam Emrick offered words of caution to others.
“I am weak. I am tired and my brain is not firing on all cylinders… I’m still a little worried about how it’s affected me and, so far, whether I’m in the clear from it,” he told members of the Conway City Council during their virtual meeting Monday night.
Council had been meeting together for several meetings, but spaced far apart; however, at least for the next 60 days, they will meet from their homes and offices.
“I never had severe symptoms, but I had a headache for nine straight days,” Emrick said. “I had muscle pain for a week.”
Emrick said as soon as his children began to exhibit a few symptoms of the virus, he and his wife were hyper vigilant and had them tested immediately.
If they hadn’t responded in that way, he said, they might have exposed some of the older members of their family, who might have exposed other older people who couldn’t have afforded to contract it.
“Had I been in denial about this virus, I probably would have worked through every bit of it, toughing it out…We as a community cannot afford to have this attitude, so I urge you if you feel at all off, go get tested and isolate until you get your results,” he said, adding that everyone must work to “stop this thing from spreading.”
He said that other members of the city staff have also tested positive for the virus.
The administrator called the influx of recent cases unprecedented.
“I’ve heard some say that this virus is inevitable. We’ll all get it, so we might as well not take precautions to avoid it,” he said.
Councilwoman Jean Timbes agreed, saying that until people know someone who dies with it, they tend not to take it seriously. She said one of her longtime friends had recently died with it.
“Take it seriously…We won’t get better until we do this,” she advised.
At a past meeting, council voted to require people to wear masks, and called for a $25 fine for a first offense for people who violate that law.
But Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said the last time she checked, no one had been fined or even given a ticket. She’d like to see offenders charged.
She said they’re not trying to be contentious or create a police state.
“We’re trying to save lives, save each other’s lives,” she said, adding that if police gave a few tickets she believes that would get the public’s attention.
Councilman William Goldfinch agreed,
“There’s a law in place…I think this thing needs to be enforced and folks need to play by the rules to keep everybody safe so kids can go back to school and we can get like back [to] normal,” he said.
The Mayor said if people do the right thing she believes the remaining time for COVID will be waning.