The fact that Franklin Scott was the individual from Booneville who contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was not really a secret.
Because of that, Scott, who has since been counted in the recovery category, said he has been criticized, chastised, and all but ostracized over his illness.
Scott’s infection was revealed on social media on Friday, April 4, but he said the motive was not to illicit fear or such, but merely meant as a plea for help as the virus diagnosis was just the latest in a series of financially draining medical issues including chronic pneumonia.
The 43-year-old Scott learned he had COVID-19 on April 10.
“I followed all the Health Department guidelines and stayed at home,” he said. “I had a lot of people help us with groceries and cleaning supplies — they would drop them off in my dad’s driveway and we’d walk over after they left to get it.”
According to Scott, others were less than kind.
“We’ve had other ones who want to treat you toxic. I thought to myself, I didn’t have to tell no one. I didn’t have to put it on social media that it was me,” said Scott. “I did it because I had been off work since March 17. I hadn’t had a paycheck.
“And then I can’t leave the house. How am I supposed to get groceries to feed my family? That’s why I did it, and people took it and ran with it.”
Scott was accused of having been at Walmart on the Thursday before he learned of his diagnosis, which he disputed by pointing out that he didn’t get there before wrecking his vehicle.
Scott said he was glad to see the Logan County Emergency Management Facebook post which stated the agency cannot release the name of an individual who is infected due to HIPAA laws. The post added, “If that person wants to post their business on social media that is their business. They may be reaching out for help due to financial difficulties.”
Again, Scott said, that was precisely the reason.
“I could have left you all guessing,” said Scott.
Scott’s wife, Jennifer, said that the family received help from CV's Family Foods; Carrie Christian, who got son Garrett’s school work; the Havana Food Bank; Diane Thomson and her husband and their church for all the birthday gifts for daughter Gracelynn’s 4th birthday; and multiple individuals who helped with food.
She also wanted to thank Dollar Tree “for all the art supplies to keep the kids entertained and their minds off of what is going on in this world” and an anonymous church that donated some money.
Scott said he did have assistance from SNAP, or the food stamp program, but he pointed out that he wasn’t allowed to get out to use them, and there wasn’t anyone who would volunteer to use them on his behalf.
Scott said he has finally started receiving income through a COVID-19 funding law.
Prior to being considered recovered, Scott said the worst coronavirus symptom he had was even more trouble breathing than he typically experiences with pneumonia.
“I got sick March 17,” Scott said in an interview over the weekend. “I was supposed to go back (to the doctor) April 6, which was a Monday. I went to the doctor that Monday and he listened to my lungs and sent me to the hospital to have an X-ray and lab work.
“All that came back good and they tested me for the virus. They said more than likely it would come back negative because of my history with pneumonia and my labs came back good.”
But on Friday morning (April 10), the results showed that Scott had COVID-19.
By then, Scott had worked one day at Tyson in Waldron — after passing a temperature check — but missed the next two days because he was sick with what he thought was a stomach issue.
Scott recalled that on Thursday of that week he felt better, and he went to town to get gas. It was then he had an accident that totaled his vehicle, which meant he had no way to get to work.
The following morning, Scott learned he had the disease.
“I was asked, ’Why did you go to work? You should have been quarantined,’” said Scott. “You can’t quarantine someone if they don’t have a positive test, and all the symptoms were pointing to a history of pneumonia. They were even bashing the doctor (on social media).”
Scott said he had calls from the Arkansas Health Department because they had anonymous callers reporting having seen him in multiple locations on Thursday before the diagnosis, which he stated was inaccurate.
Scott said he has absolutely no idea how or where he came in contact with the disease.
“It could have been at work, or even in the clinic,” he said “I don’t know.”
Scott County has had only six tests conducted as of Monday, five of which were negative and the positive case has gone into recovery.
Scott said he did take a trip to Walmart on Friday of last week, and he was, as was reported on Facebook, in Magazine on Thursday.
“A guy in Walmart said, ‘What are you doing in here?’ I said, ’I’m shopping, just like you are,’” said Scott. “He said, ‘You can’t be in here.’ I said, ’Why is that?’”
Scott said the man told him he understood Scott had not been released to return to work. That was true. Scott said he wouldn’t be released until at least May 8.
“I said, ’That has nothing to do with it. I’ve been cleared with the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC. Would you like to see those papers?’” said Scott. “Everywhere I go it’s like people are stalking me. I’m thinking, am I supposed to be quarantined forever? What about other people who have recovered?”
According to Scott, he hasn’t been released for work because his lungs are not healed enough to where his doctor is comfortable with Scott being in the coldness of a chicken plant freezer, fearing a relapse of pneumonia.
“I had one lady get a little raunchy. She was like, ’I’m 65 years old and I have COPD and if I get (the virus) it will kill me,’” Scott said of a confrontation that wasn’t face to face. “I said, ’I understand you’re scared, but you haven’t been in contact with me. I am a diabetic. I have high blood pressure and I actually tested positive for it. You don’t think I’m scared?’
“I didn’t know if I was going to be one to recover or one to die.”
Scott said he felt OK but admitted he did still have some lingering breathing issues.
He also said he doesn’t go out unless he really has to because he doesn’t want to hear the criticism.
“There’s no telling how many people have had it and had no symptoms or a mild case of it,” said Scott. “You’ve got people walking in Walmart without masks. How do they know there’s not a carrier in there?”
While quarantined, Scott was home with his wife and two small children.
Jennifer Scott, who was recovering from a recent surgery, was tested for the virus. The children were not.
“She was running fever and had diarrhea and was vomiting, but she came back negative,” said Scott.
Neither child exhibited any symptoms, Scott said.
Rather than picking up alternative method of instruction (AMI) at the school, the children were required to complete work digitally.
The Friday before he was tested, Scott had an adult son and his fiancÚ visit from Missouri. The couple left on the Monday Scott was tested.
“They were in contact with me and they contacted her OBGYN and (the doctor) said he wanted her tested,” said Scott. “They drove all the way to Springfield and they wouldn’t test her because she wasn’t showing symptoms.
“They said if you’re not showing symptoms it could show a false negative.”
Neither have had symptoms since, Scott said, but the fiancÚ’s father was forced to quarantine because of coming in contact with his daughter, who had been in contact with Scott.