State Sen. Terry Rice has mostly recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus he contracted in October, and he cautions anyone who doesn’t take the infectious disease seriously.


Speaking from his furniture store in Waldron, Rice said he still feels some residual effects from the virus he contracted at the state Capitol during the budget session in mid-October.


A return to his previous energy level is the main side effect he has experienced.


"It was mild case," Rice said. "I ran a light fever for 18 hours, but as soon as I had the fever I isolated myself ... The symptoms that most people have like the loss of smell, I didn’t get until the last few days."


At 66, Rice is pressing on and works six days a week, but is struggling with a lower energy level than before contracting COVID-19.


"It will be interesting to see how this affects people long term," Rice added. "I don’t have the energy I want and people say it takes awhile. It’s not just like having the flu and it’s over."


Rice said his Scott County constituents have largely been obliging of the mask mandate, and Rice Furniture put up signs requiring masks to be worn in the store with social distancing measures.


Sadly, Rice’s 68-year-old cousin, who was as close to him as a sister, succumbed to COVID-19 after a lengthy fight in the hospital. He said she was in a Fort Smith hospital for 18 days before being flown to St. Louis for further treatment. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was already full.


"I tell this to everybody," Rice said. "You’ll have more respect for it if you get it."