A tuberculosis patient who has been in medical isolation for nearly two months remains contagious and may have to stay quarantined for weeks to come.
Benton County officials are preparing to seek a 60-day extension to the original 60-day isolation order issued in May, County Counsel Vance Croney said on Wednesday.
Anthony Cornett, a 32-year-old homeless man, has been hospitalized at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center since May 13 for treatment of TB, a highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease that generally attacks the lungs.
On May 23, after Cornett repeatedly threatened to leave the hospital, Benton County Circuit Judge Matthew Donohue issued an order requiring him to remain in medical isolation for up to 60 days while receiving antibiotics to counter the infection.
Cornett’s court-appointed attorney, David Corden, said his client did not initially understand the seriousness of his illness or the threat of infection that would arise if he left the hospital.
“He is still undergoing treatment but he is responding slowly, so we are going to be seeking an extension of the isolation period,” Croney said.
The isolation order could be lifted at any time once doctors determine Cornett is no longer infectious, Croney said.