Two more Arkansas inmates die while being treated for virus
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Corrections said Sunday that two more state prison inmates who were being treated for the coronavirus have died.
Department spokesman Solomon Graves said medical officials would determine the cause of the deaths at the Cummins unit. The inmates died Sunday at separate hospitals.
“Both inmates were undergoing treatment for COVID-related symptoms. Both inmates had pre-existing conditions susceptible to COVID-19,” according to Solomon.
State health officials say at least two other Cummins inmates have died of COVID-19, and at least 860 prisoners there have tested positive.
The state Health Department on Sunday reported at least 3,431 confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide and 76 deaths, an increase from 3,372 cases and 73 deaths reported Saturday.
The number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced that some businesses can reopen this week under social distancing rules, starting with gyms on Monday. Hair salons, barbershops, tattoo shops and message therapists can reopen Wednesday. Restaurants can reopen their dining rooms May 11, but only at one-third their capacity.
A third Cummins inmate died Sunday after collapsing in the unit’s infirmary, but the death is not related to COVID-19 or to a disturbance Saturday in which some inmates set fire to their barracks and broke some windows, Graves said.
Some Cummins inmates are suing the state, accusing it of not doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus throughout the prison system.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.