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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ coronavirus cases on Thursday increased by more than 3,000 for the first time, a new record for the state.
The Department of Health said the state’s confirmed and probable cases rose by 3,039 to 194,543. The state’s deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, increased by 38 to 3,112.
Thursday’s increase was the state’s biggest since it reported 2,827 new cases on Dec. 4.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson called the new rise in cases “a milestone we did not want to reach.” The state reported conducting more than 17,000 tests for the virus.
“If we isolate and quarantine as needed, then the identifying of cases will help control the spread,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “We continue to work on vaccine distribution, but we have to focus on distancing and wearing our mask to slow this virus down.”
The actual number of cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get the disease don’t show symptoms.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by five to 1,084. Room in Arkansas’ intensive care units continued to fall, with only about 4% — or 46 — of its 1,154 ICU beds available.
About 24% of the state’s 9,037 hospital beds were available. There are 376 COVID-19 patients in ICUs around the state.
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