294 inmates COVID-19 positive at ORCU

Staff Writer

According to a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Correction, as of Wednesday 294 inmates and two staff members at Ouachita River Correctional Unit have tested positive for COVID-19.
Cindy Murphy told the Malvern Daily Record that all inmates and staff at the unit have been tested for COVID-19, but officials are still waiting on more results.

She mentioned that the first cases were reported at the unit Saturday when five inmates test positive.
The unit has a capacity of 1782 inmates and 537 employees, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction website.

For some time, the unit did not allow visitors and now with the outbreak of COVID, the unit is currently under lockdown, Murphy said.
Inmates are required to stay in their barracks and individuals who have tested positive are separated from other inmates, she explained
Inside the unit, staff and inmates wear masks and are following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The two employees who have tested positive are currently not working.
Murphy noted that staff also have procedures and recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus after leaving the unit.
Employees are urged when arriving home, after work, to take off their uniform and wash it, along with showering, Murphy said.

During a daily press briefing, Secretary of Health Nate Smith said that the number of cases in Hot Spring County increased by 168 overnight and majority of these cases are located at the unit.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, Hot Spring County has 396 total positive cases of COVID-19 and 41 people have recovered. Of the total cases, 355 cases are listed as active.
No deaths as of result of COVID-19 have been reported and 2,922 people who were tested for the virus received negative results.