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VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS

6th inmate dies of coronavirus at Arkansas prison

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A sixth inmate at an Arkansas prison has died from the illness caused by the coronavirus. Health Secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith said Wednesday the inmate at the Cummins Unit was one of two new deaths reported by the state, bringing its total coronavirus deaths to 85. At least 876 inmates and 54 staff have tested positive for the virus at Cummins. Health officials said the state's total coronavirus cases is at least 3,568, an increase over the 3,496 reported Tuesday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state is committing to conduct 60,000 virus tests this month.

MURDER HORNETS-ARKANSAS

University of Arkansas overwhelmed with calls about hornet

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An expert says the agricultural division at University of Arkansas has been overwhelmed with phone calls about whether the world’s largest hornet has landed in the state. Jon Zawislak, an apiary expert and entomologist at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said extension agents have been inundated with phone calls about the giant insect for four days. He says beekeepers have expressed concern about the potential impact the insect could have on their livelihoods or hobbies. Zawislak noted that he doubts the giant insect will arrive in Arkansas.

MURPHY OIL HEADQUARTERS

Murphy Oil moving headquarters from Arkansas to Texas

EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) — Murphy Oil Corp. is closing its El Dorado, Arkansas, headquarters and is moving to Houston. The independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company on Wednesday cited the steep drop in crude oil prices in its decision to close the El Dorado office, which has about 80 employees. The company said the move came after it exhausted other cost-saving measures, including cutting capital expenditures in half. The firm also is closing an office in Canada that employs 110 people and is consolidating all worldwide staff activities in its Houston office.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNIVERSITIES

Arkansas universities plan for classes on campus in the fall

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Officials at universities in Arkansas have announced plans to reopen campuses in the fall for in-class instruction after schools were closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the University of Arkansas System trustees approved a resolution Monday directing officials and campuses to “reopen to students, faculty and staff” in the fall. The Arkansas State University System also announced a plan to reopen dormitories and have classes on campus an at its six schools and Henderson State University, which will integrate into the system. Arkansas Tech University President Robin Bowen said the university was planning for campus classes in the fall.

GALVESTON-DROWNING

Arkansas boy drowns while swimming at Texas beach

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old Arkansas boy drowned while swimming with his family at a Texas beach. The Galveston County Sheriff's Office says Micah Batson of Little Rock died Saturday while swimming in the waters off Crystal Beach. The sheriff's office says the boy became separated from his father when a wave crashed into them. It was the first weekend that beaches were open in Galveston since March 29, when they were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-MEAT-PLANTS

Meatpackers cautiously reopen plants amid coronavirus fears

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota pork processing plant is taking its first steps toward reopening after a virus outbreak among workers that was one of the worst in the nation. Smithfield Foods shuttered its Sioux Falls plant for over two weeks after more than 800 employees became infected. Two departments at the plant reopened Monday. Meat processing plants across the country are cautiously reopening after President Donald Trump’s executive order last week classified them as critical infrastructure. Workers, farmers and meat-eaters alike are watching to see if new safety measures will be enough to prevent more outbreaks at the plants.