Associated Press

Picture of the Cummins Unit sign of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas prison staff who test positive for the coronavirus have been allowed to work at a facility where at least 876 inmates have the virus, a correction official said Tuesday.

Arkansas Division of Correction Director Dexter Payne said the agency has allowed staff who have tested positive to work at the Cummins Unit if they are asymptomatic. The staff are only allowed to work with inmates who have tested positive for the virus, he said.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson is backing a bill that would shield health care providers from lawsuits related to their care for people with COVID-19.

The proposal would protect nursing homes, long-term care facilities, all caregivers and first responders from lawsuits linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday declined to rule immediately in a lawsuit filed by Arkansas inmates who accused the prison system of not doing enough to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

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.

Village Creek State Park main enterace.
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas will allow some overnight camping to resume at state parks, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday, the day before he plans to announce whether he’ll lift limits imposed on restaurants because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas health officials said Monday the number of coronavirus tests conducted over the weekend surpassed its recent average as the state recorded its 50th death from the virus.

The increase in tests occurred during a “surge” campaign Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced last week. The campaign aimed to raise the number of tests conducted from 1,000 a day to 1,500.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has launched a third round of mass testing inside the state's prisons after 150 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. The Department of Correction announced Monday that testing of 3,100 inmates was conducted at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, and the Turney Center Industrial Complex in Only.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri surpassed 1,000 on Monday and the state’s death toll rose to 13.

Health officials said that as of Monday afternoon, 1,031 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Missouri. That is an increase of 128 from Sunday.

One of the deaths announced on Sunday was William “Al” Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman. He died in Clinton, said state Chairwoman Jean Peter Baker.

Governor Asa Hutchsion at the daily press breifing
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchsion Official YouTube Channel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday that he has approved an additional $45 million to purchase protective equipment for medical providers and for ventilators due to the coronavirus in the state.

The money is in addition to $30 million previously approved for protective equipment used by medical staff and others responding to coronavirus patients.

Governor Asa Hutchsion at the daily press breifing
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchsion Official YouTube Channel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ largest city on Wednesday expanded its curfew because of the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of cases in the state rose to at least 280.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said the city will impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The city had already been enforcing a curfew from midnight until 5 a.m. because of the outbreak.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas governor announced Wednesday new financial assistance for people and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including a temporarily waiver of the state’s work requirement for food stamps.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered the changes as Arkansas saw its coronavirus cases rise from 22 to 37, its largest single-day increase.

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) — A clinical lab in Missouri says it has developed a test for the novel coronavirus that is more than 99% accurate.

KCUR reports that Viracor Eurofins in Lee’s Summit claims it is capable of performing more than 1,000 tests per day and returning results the same day.

Officials say the test would allow for expanding testing to patients who don’t currently meet the eligibility criteria for public laboratory testing established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Another case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in western Missouri, bringing the state’s total to eight.

Cass County health officials announced late Monday that a patient is in self-isolation in Drexel, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Kansas City. No other information was released.

Two other new cases were announced Monday, one in St. Louis and the other in Greene County in southwest Missouri.

Southland Casino Racing, formally Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Arkansas
DoxTxob / English Wikipedia

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two more Arkansas casinos are closing temporarily because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Southland Casino Racing, a West Memphis dog track, and Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff announced they were temporarily closing their facilities.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Schools throughout Arkansas will be closed for onsite instruction for the next two weeks due to concerns over the new coronavirus, officials announced Sunday.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The number of novel coronavirus infection cases in Arkansas has risen to six, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday as his administration told public schools in four counties to close temporarily.

Public schools in Grant, Jefferson, Pulaski and Saline counties would close for the next two weeks, Hutchinson said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri on Wednesday launched a 24-hour hotline staffed by medical professionals for people seeking guidance on the new coronavirus, and several universities temporarily halted in-person classes, including the state’s flagship university.

Also Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services announced Missouri will receive $9.9 million as its share of coronavirus funding recently approved by Congress.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A winter storm has caused a multi-vehicle pileup on an Interstate 70 bridge in central Missouri on but mostly missed a parade to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win. The National Weather Service initially predicted 2 inches to 3 inches (5.08 to 7.62 centimeters) of snowfall Wednesday along the parade route. But National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Barham said the storm shifted slightly, sparring fans from all but a few flurries.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has dismissed more than a dozen charges against one of five men indicted in a series of homicides and shootings but plans to refile them later. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Marquise Henderson had been set for trial this week in the 3 1/2 year old case. Among the charges that were dismissed when a judge denied the state's request to postpone the trial were three counts of first-degree murder. Two of the killings happened on Jan. 10, 2016, and the third occurred eight days later.  

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Prosecutors say a Missouri dentist was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and fined $50,000 after admitting he illegally prescribed drugs for a woman despite being aware she had a drug problem and a history of mental illness. The U.S. attorneys office says Bradley Seyer, of Florissant, pleaded guilty in June to two felony charges of making false statements to Medicare and illegally issuing prescriptions for narcotic opioids without a legitimate medical purpose.  

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri man at the heart of a state Supreme Court case that overturned what critics called modern-day debtors' prisons is suing the local officials who put him there. Lawyers for 65-year-old Warrensburg resident George Richey sued St. Clair County officials Tuesday. Richey is one of two Missouri men who sued over boarding costs for time spent in county jails. Those are commonly referred to as board bills. Supreme Court judges last year ruled unanimously that while inmates are responsible for those costs, judges cannot send people back to jail for not paying.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A cleanup effort is underway in Jefferson City after about 1,100 gallons of a mud that is used to lubricate and cool cutting tools spilled into a stormwater culvert that feeds into the Moreau River. The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that the spill happened on Jan. 27 during the ongoing replacement of about 30 miles of pipeline for Phillips 66. The pipelines carry propane and butane to customers in Missouri and Illinois.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of Kansas City Chiefs fans braved sub-freezing wind chills to celebrate the team's first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. If head coach Andy Reid is to be believed, they'll be back for an encore next year. Fans lined the 2-mile parade route on Wednesday to thank their football heroes for bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Kansas City and ending a Super Bowl drought that began after the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in 1970.

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MAGNOLIA, Ark. (AP) - The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says a homicide investigation is underway after two people were found dead in a burning car in southern Arkansas. The car fire was reported Monday afternoon in a rural area of Columbia County. The Banner-News reports that police are investigating the deaths as homicides, but few details have been released, including a cause of death.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' finance office says the state's January revenue remained above forecast and above the same month last year. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said Tuesday that the revenue was helped by higher-than-expected corporate income and sales tax collections. Arkansas has accumulated a surplus of roughly $94 million since the fiscal year that began July 1. The department says individual income tax collections in January were above the same month last year but below forecast.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former Arkansas governor and senator David Pryor and his son, former senator Mark Pryor, are supporting Joe Biden's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The former vice president's campaign announced the endorsements from the Pryors on Tuesday. Arkansas is holding its primary on March 3 along with more than a dozen other states. David Pryor served as Arkansas governor from 1975 to 1979 and went on to serve three terms in the U.S. Senate. Mark Pryor served two terms in the Senate before losing re-election in 2014.  

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge has approved an agreement that will allow new tests of fingerprint and DNA evidence that two groups say could exonerate a man executed in 2017. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen approved the agreement between the city of Jacksonville and the sister of Ledell Lee, who was executed for the 1993 slaying of Debra Reese. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Innocence Project had sued the city seeking the release of the evidence.

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Universities all over the world are scrambling to assess the risks to their programs from China's virus outbreak. Some are canceling study-abroad opportunities and prohibiting travel affecting hundreds of thousands of students. In the U.S., the cancellations add to the tension between two governments whose relations were already sour. The scare also threatens to cause lasting damage to growing academic exchange programs that reached new heights over the last decade and a half. China sends far more students to the U.S. than any other country, more than 369,000 in the last academic year.

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Bernie Sanders says he raised a whopping $25 million in January and will use his Democratic presidential campaign's flush bank account to increase television and digital advertising in 10 states. The Vermont senator spent $50 million during the final three months of 2019 and finished the year with $18.2 million in cash on hand. Sanders' campaign manager announced Thursday the candidate will immediately increase staffing in states that vote during the Democratic primary's Super Tuesday, on March 3.

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A winter storm is bringing snowfall as far south as El Paso, Texas, while areas of the Deep South are at risk of severe weather including tornadoes and torrential rains. The National Weather Service says winter storm warnings and advisories are in effect from eastern New Mexico to the St. Louis metropolitan area on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Storm Prediction Center says severe storms are possible across much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama later in the day.

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