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30 more inmates test positive for COVID-19 in Pine Bluff


COVID-19 continues to spread in prisons; nearly 1,300 infected

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Randall L. Williams Unit in Pine Bluff has 48 inmates, and two employees, who have tested positive for COVID-19, said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith at the governor’s briefing Wednesday, May 13.

There were 18 positive cases at the Williams Unit on Tuesday, May 12, according to the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) Spokesman Solomon Graves.

The Cummins Unit has more than 900 inmates infected with the new coronavirus, according to the ADC.

The Federal Correctional Institute, Forrest City has 335 positive COVID-19 cases — that testing was done, and has been completed, by the Centers for Disease Control.


The Cummins Unit is the only prison where COVID-19 related deaths have been reported — 7. There is another inmate who died in early May, Derick Coley, 29, but his exact cause of death is yet to be determined by the medical examiner in Little Rock.


Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R). May 13, 2020

There are 4,236 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 862 active cases in Arkansas. Sixty-four people are in hospitals, and a total of 97 people have died. Two counties have the highest level of active cases (100 or more): Pulaski County (most populous) and St. Francis County (location of the federal prison).

Since March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, Arkansas has done 73,215 COVID-19 tests, according to the governor.

Gov. Hutchinson said testing is important. “We look at the summer, we look at the fall, we hear Dr. Fauci talk about the potential of a resurgence, and we want to make sure we have the testing capacity.”

The governor also said, “it gives us an early warning capability where an uptick will be, an increased potential of an outbreak, and we can get a handle on it. And that is our objective … we have to live, manage, work through [this], … until we get a vaccine.”

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