LITTLE ROCK — 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.


U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker rejected the inmates' motion to immediately require the prison system to take additional steps to prevent the virus from spreading. Baker's ruling, however, still keeps the inmates' lawsuit alive, and the judge has a hearing scheduled Thursday in her court on the complaint.


The lawsuit was filed after an outbreak at the Cummins Unit, where officials said over the weekend four inmates had died from the illness caused by the coronavirus. At least 860 inmates have tested positive for the virus at the facility south of Pine Bluff.