Monday COVID-19 briefing: Another jump in positives at Cummins, but civilian cases see decline since Sunday


The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas made a jump since Sunday with 142 new cases being reported, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson at today’s statewide briefing. However, a large portion of that jump comes from one source.

As officials predicted over the weekend, the majority of the increase was due to the outbreak at the Cummins State Prison Barracks. Thanks to aggressive testing conducted over the past few days, the state is reporting 117 more inmates from the facility have tested positive since Sunday.

The majority of the testing at Cummins has concluded, and more positives from the unit will likely be reported at Tuesday’s briefing. Currently, officials say there are 600 positive cases at Cummins, and the majority are asymptomatic.

Despite the large number of cases being reported at Cummins, Hutchinson also reported a downward trend in positive civilian cases.

Below is a graph Hutchinson presented at the briefing showing the number of new COVID-19 cases reported since Sunday in Arkansas. The light shade represents positive cases from congregant settings, such as prison facilities like Cummins. There was a noticeable drop in community spread data without counting those in correctional facilities, the governor said — with only 25 new positive COVID-19 civilian cases reported since yesterday.

Number of New COVID cases 04202020

Officials also reminded Arkansans that if the state meets the criteria for some restriction lifting on May 4, residents will still be expected to adhere to the current recommended health guidelines that include social distancing, limiting gatherings to 10 or less, handwashing, and wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible.

Initially, the possible lifting of restrictions will likely include those regarding elective surgical procedures as well as those targeting certain industries, officials said.

Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson (pictured above at podium) appeared at Monday’s briefing to remind Arkansans that April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Despite being in a health and economic crisis, the abuse of children doesn’t stop, the first lady said. In particular, children in isolation are at greater risk for abuse and/or neglect, officials noted.

Hutchinson highlighted a hotline to report any suspicious issues concerning children and child abuse. The number is 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD.

Other notes from Monday’s briefing:

  • There are currently 1,781 positive cases in Arkansas.
  • There have been two more deaths reported, bringing the total to 42 since Sunday.
  • There are now 244 healthcare workers positive — that’s up seven from Sunday.
  • Nursing home residents testing positive: 128.
  • There are 93 patients currently hospitalized, and 24 are on ventilators.
  • There have been 749 recoveries — up 28 from Sunday.


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