Police investigating death of inmate at East Arkansas Regional Unit
LEE COUNTY — Arkansas State Police is investigating the death of an inmate, the state Department of Correction said Sunday.
Aaron Rodriguez, 29, was found hanging in a single-man cell at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Lee County around 2:40 Saturday, the department said.
Officers reportedly began life-saving efforts immediately, but Rodriguez was later pronounced dead by the unit’s infirmary doctor around 3:08 p.m.
Rodriguez’s body was sent to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy and to determine the cause of death.
Rodriguez was serving a 20-year sentence for sexual assault out of Miller County, according to the Department of Correction. He had previously served prison time for manufacture, delivery and possession of a controlled substance and furnishing a prohibited article.
Threats of flu outbreak force closure of multiple Arkansas schools
LITTLE ROCK — As state announced three more people died in Arkansas from the flu in the last week, various schools have made an unprecedented move by closing school while crews scrub surfaces thoroughly in an attempt to prevent the spreading of germs.
Closed Thursday, Feb. 6 and Friday, Feb. 7 were: Sheridan School District, Cabot School District, Lonoke School District, Mayflower School District.
“We don’t take this lightly to close schools,” said Little Rock superintendent Michael Poore.
“But we also want to do the very best to create a healthy learning environment.”
In the latest flu report released by the Arkansas Department of Health, all but three counties have at least 5-10 percent of kids absent from school. Absentee rates jumped 10 percent in 21 counties in the last week. Dallas County reports 28 percent of the students are forced to stay at home.
“We’re still on this side of the peak of influenza season, so it’s understandable there’s a lot of influenza in the communities right now,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, a senior medical consultant for the ADH. He said schools call his agency looking for guidance. For the most part, the department endorses their decisions.
ADH has reported “Widespread” activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for geographic spread of influenza, and “High” or 10/10 for ILI intensity.
Since September 30, 2019, over 22,400 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers.
In Week 9, 72 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Pulaski, Benton, Lonoke, Sebastian, Saline, Washington, White, Garland, Franklin, Faulkner, Pope, Scott, Yell, and Lawrence.
ADH officials say there are primarily two influenza strains to blame for nearly all flu cases in Arkansas this season.
Strain A, lasting several days, has been described as more serious than Strain B, which usually only persists for two or three days. Among flu antigen tests that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 93 percent were influenza A, and 7 percent were influenza B.
There were 419 positive PCR flu tests last week from private labs: 409 tested positive for influenza A, 9 tested positive for influenza B, and 1 positive for influenza A subtype H3N2. At the ADH lab, 10 tested positive for influenza A subtype H1N1, 8 positive for influenza A subtype H3N2, and 2 tested negative for influenza this week.
The average school absenteeism rate last week was 6.9 percent among public schools. ADH said 17 schools have closed briefly due to the flu. ***
Man charged with murder after body found in burned home
BRUCETON, Tenn. — A Camden man is arrested for for first degree murder in Carroll County, Tennessee.
A body was found inside a South Spruce Street home at around 1 a.m.
Saturday when firefi ghters responded to a fire call. Information in the investigations of the death and fire quickly led authorities to the suspect.
Jason Mills, 33, was arrested by agents and charged with first degree murder. He is jailed without bond.
The body of the victim has been transported to the medical examiner’s office for identification and an autopsy.
Bruceton is about 105 miles west of Nashville.
The investigation is ongoing.