Number of COVID-19 cases rise in Cummins prison

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,109 views 

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Cummins prison in southeast Arkansas continues to grow, with almost 350 inmates testing positive following 974 tests administered Friday and Saturday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during Sunday’s (April 19) COVID-19 press conference that almost 1,400 Cummins inmates have been tested. The previous two days of testings found 348 positive cases. The inmates testing positive are now housed in eight barracks and seven barracks of inmates with negative results. (Talk Business & Politics will update this story with a confirmed number of total positive cases at Cummins.)

Of those testing positive, Gov. Hutchinson said most are asymptomatic, with only three being hospitalized.

According to the most recent Arkansas Department of Corrections monthly report, Cummins had a monthly average inmate population of 1,950 in February. The unit has 555 department employees. Arkansas’ correction system had 18,181 inmates at the end of February, up from 17,846 at the same period in 2019.

To keep other state prisoners safe and to open up space for possible isolation if the cases spread, Gov. Hutchinson said 271 state inmates housed in county jails have been released. He has also asked for a review of all non-violent, non sex offenders set for release in the next six months. The state has 1,990 inmates who fit that criteria and will be screened by appropriate boards to ensure they are safe for early release.

Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 1,781 as of Sunday afternoon, up from 1,739 on Saturday. Of the total of cases, 1,020 are active cases, with the remainder accounting for deaths and recoveries. The number of deaths rose from 38 to 40. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 88 on Sunday, up from 86 on Saturday.

Of the Arkansas COVID-19 patients, 25 were on ventilators, up from 22 on Friday. The number of healthcare workers with COVID-19 was 237, up from 236 on Saturday.

One of the two deaths was a healthcare worker, the first known healthcare worker to succumb to the virus, said Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith.

As of Sunday at 1 p.m., there were 737,319 U.S. cases and 39,135 deaths, with 13,157 of those in New York City. Globally, there were 2,367,758 cases and 163,134 deaths.