Roughly 850 of the 1,200 inmates in Arkansas’ Department of Corrections’ Cummins Unit have tested positive for the coronavirus, as well as 10 staff members, according to KATV. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson reportedly said he expects more positive cases to emerge from Cummins as well as the federal prison in Forrest City. On Sunday, the governor announced a plan for the compassionate release of some prisoners to control the spread of the virus. He ordered a review of non-violent and non-sex offenders who are set to be released within the next six months, which reportedly applies to 1,990 inmates.
Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nathaniel Smith said on Monday that most of the Cummins cases are “asymptomatic,” adding, “Some of those, of course, will go on to develop symptoms.” Smith added that the prison system is “ironically the toughest place to control an outbreak, but also the easiest. Once you know who’s positive, who’s negative, who’s exposed, who’s not exposed, you can actually direct and limit the movements of individuals in that setting fairly easily.”