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story.lead_photo.caption Registered nurses Amanda Velasquez (left) and Ursula Dixon take swabs from a couple in April at a drive-up coronavirus testing site at Arkansas Surgical Hospital in North Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose Thursday by 1,278 — the largest one-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 11, to 1,645.

“I expected the number of new cases to increase as we enter the last part of the week,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement.

"This has been the pattern, but the cases reported today set a new record high. Our increased testing efforts allow us to find cases already present and react to them. Each one of us must be proactive in our individual efforts to help slow the spread of this virus.”

The cases added to the state's tallies included 1,068 that were confirmed through polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests. The other 210 were "probable" cases, which include those identified through less-sensitive antigen tests.

The number of people hospitalized with covid-19 in the state rose by seven, to 594 — the third-largest number of hospitalized covid-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.

Those 594 patients included 106 who were on ventilators, down from 113 a day earlier.

The state's cumulative count of cases rose to 96,524. That includes 91,303 confirmed cases and 5,221 probable ones.

The number of confirmed or probable cases that were considered active, already at a record level since Wednesday, rose by 417, to 8,424. That number reflected the cases that were added Thursday, minus the 11 deaths and 850 Arkansans who were newly classified as having recovered.

The state's death toll rose by 10, to 1,494, among confirmed cases. The death toll rose by one, to 151, among probable cases.

Thursday's jump in cases was only the second time that the count has increased by more than 1,200 in one day. Previously, the largest was an increase of 1,265 cases on Oct. 8.

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