The first patient with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the state of Arkansas has been released from Jefferson Regional Hospital.

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Family identified the patient as 42-year-old James Black, Jr.

It was announced on March 11 that Black was positive for the COVID-19 virus. He was released from Jefferson Regional Friday afternoon.

Doctor Ali Al-Nashif was the lead doctor who helped to treat Black at Jefferson Regional.

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“Mr. Black had the COVID-19 infection and was in our ICU for a month. We just recently moved him from the floor,” said Al-Nashif. “He was very sick and extremely ill, and we are very fortunate that we were able to get him over this illness with very hard work of my team and excellent nurses. He is doing excellent, doing a lot better.”

Al-Nashif said that Black will be going to a long term center for some more rehabilitation.

“Today he is going to the long term care facility,” said Al-Nashif. “He is very weak from his illness that he had, and he is recuperating. He needs a few weeks of recovery and physical therapy.”

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Al-Nashif said that Black is breathing on his own.

“He is not on a ventilator,” said Al-Nashif. “He is breathing on his own. He has a trach to breathe through and a tube we are feeding him through, but he is fully breathing. When I saw him today he was sitting on the side of the bed and doing great.”

Black’s condition was touch and go at times, but his medical team was able to work hard to help push him through those tough times.

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“Many, many times we didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Al-Nashif. “He was very, very sick and very ill. He was on a ventilator for more than a month.”

Black, who is known as “Patient Zero” due to being the patient with the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Arkansas. Al-Nashif said that

“It means a lot to every one of us,” said Al-Nashif. “It pays off for our hard work, and gives us hope for everyone that is hospital – all other patients that we have.”

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James Black Jr.’s wife with his medical team.

James Black Jr.’s family.