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Arkansas prisons lifting movement limits as virus cases ease

February 12, 2022 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas prison officials on Friday said they were lifting movement restrictions imposed on their facilities and will allow in-person visitation to resume next month as a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state continued to ease.

The Department of Corrections said it would allow non-essential movements in and between its facilities to resume Monday. The department had been operating under the restrictions since Dec. 31, when the state saw the beginning of a surge in cases fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The department said modified in-person visitation at its facilities would also resume on March 1.

Arkansas continued to see its surge in virus cases and hospitalizations subside Friday after reaching record highs. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state’s seven-day average of new cases was at the same level as when the surge began in late December.

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The state reported 1,947 new cases on Friday, and the number of COVID-19 deaths rose by 40 to 9,977 total since the pandemic began. The actual number of cases is likely higher due to people who have tested at home or are infected but have not been tested.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 19 to 1,238.