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COVID-19 update: State to consider early release for certain inmates, two more deaths reported

Two more deaths related to the coronavirus have been reported in Arkansas, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson at Sunday’s statewide briefing on the crisis. Both victims were under the age of 65, and one was a healthcare worker at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff. The other death was a nursing home patient.

Hutchinson also said he asked for a review of non-violent, non-sex offenders due for release from state correctional facilities in the next six months. The governor said over 1,900 inmates that meet those guidelines have been identified, and parole and prison officials will review those cases for possible early release.

The governor said the extra space from the early releases could be utilized for possible isolation purposes if more inmates test positive in the future.

Officials also updated the status of the Cummins State Prison Barracks where 348 inmates have tested positive. Almost 1,400 inmates have been tested in the facility, said Dexter Payne, director of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Eight barracks are being utilized for positive inmates while seven barracks are housing those inmates with negative results. Officials say almost all of the positive cases at Cummins are asymptomatic.

Hutchinson said positive cases from a congregant setting such as Cummins will be separated from the other new positives in future statistics.

Other news from the Sunday briefing:

  • The number of positive cases as of Sunday afternoon stood at 1,781 — up 42 from Saturday.
  • There have been 721 recoveries.
  • There are 88 hospitalizations — up two from Saturday.
  • There are 237 healthcare workers who have tested positive. One hundred and fifteen have recovered.



The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, state Sen. Stu Smith, and state Sen. James Sturch. Download the free White River Now mobile app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.

We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air at Arkansas 103.3, online at White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the Arkansas 103.3 stream on the White River Now mobile app on Arkansas 103.3.

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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


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