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Arkansas Woman Sparks Evacuation Of Courthouse After Falsely Claiming She Has Coronavirus

KATV; Faulkner County Sheriff's Office

On Wednesday, Celia Hill of North Little Rock was scheduled to appear in Faulkner County District Court in Mayflower, Arkansas for minor drug offenses.

While in the Mayflower city hall—where the courtroom is located—she began to vomit.


She claimed to those around her she "may have potentially been exposed" to the coronavirus—COVID-19. She told court officials she was on a commercial flight recently and the airline sent her an email that someone on the plane may have COVID-19.

The court was cleared and the building evacuated.

KATV

The Mayflower Police Department posted on their Facebook page:

"The Faulkner County District Court in Mayflower was ordered to be evacuated by the Judge this morning due to a female who made claims that she may have potentially been exposed to the Coronavirus during a commercial flight. Medical Personnel are on scene and Ashmore Drive is shut down until further notice."
"At this time we have no reason to be believe the public is in any danger. The State Health Department is also involved."
"Thank you all for the multiple calls of concern. If any additional concerns that the public needs to be made aware of arises, we will get that information out ASAP. Have a great day!"

Mayflower Police Department/Facebook

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) released a statement to the public as well.

"ADH is aware of the situation in Mayflower. We are working with health care providers to assess the person to determine if they have a communicable disease."
"Our process is to gather information from the patient and health care provider to determine if a patient has symptoms, and if they do, when those symptom started and if there is any travel history. We also encourage evaluation for more common diseases, such as the flu."
"Those considered at risk for Covid-19 have traveled to areas of concern within 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone who has traveled to areas of concern and developed symptoms within the last 14 days.
"There are currently no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the state. If there is a risk to Arkansans being exposed to the virus here, we will communicate that as quickly as possible."

Immediately after the event David Hogue, Mayflower's city attorney addressed the issue before the press.

Hogue said Hill refused to go to an area hospital.

However a judge issued an emergency order requiring Hill to submit to a blood test and she was transported by ambulance to the hospital for tests.

It was later determined Hill lied about her possible exposure to COVID-19.

The Mayflower Police Department notified the public of the hoax on Facebook.

"The Mayflower Police Department has received word that the female who caused concern during the court session this morning has been cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health and criminal charges by the court are pending."

Mayflower Police Department/Facebook

Celia Hill was charged with Contempt of Court, Filing a False Police Report, and Obstructing Governmental Operations, all to avoid a day in court on some misdemeanor drug offenses.