There have been 14 reported COVID-19 infections at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Forrest City.
Both Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith confirmed that the correctional facility had reported multiple instances of coronavirus infection. “Of the additional cases that we had for today, 14 of them are in the Federal Correctional Institute in Forrest City, which is a concern to us. Dr. Smith and his team have been working very diligently on. That’s one of the reasons for the uptick in cases,” Hutchinson said.
Smith said that eight inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and he said that four prison staff members have tested positive. The other two infections were not addressed in the conference.
In addition, 15 to 20 inmates have reportedly exhibited symptoms consistent with coronavirus and will be tested. Smith also said that 10 to 15 staff members have had “significant exposure” to individuals who have tested positive.
The Centers for Disease Control is expected to come to the Forrest City facility this week to investigate the outbreak. Smith said that the CDC team will be bringing lab support.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website, there are 1,146 total inmates at FCI Forrest City Medium and 2,109 total inmates at FIC Forrest City Low. Officials did not specify where the infected inmates were housed or where the infected staff worked.