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story.lead_photo.caption This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes covid-19. - Photo by NIAID-RML via AP

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose Friday by 897, the third daily increase of more than 800 cases in a row.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Department of Health, rose by 20, to 1,266.

The cases added Friday included 796 that were confirmed through polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests.

The other 101 were "probable" cases, which included those identified through less-sensitive antigen tests.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted the state as of Friday had surpassed his testing goals for the month after the number of PCR tests of Arkansans exceeded 180,000.

"We will continue working to increase testing capacity across the state to help us identify COVID-19 cases and slow the spread of this virus," Hutchinson said.

"While our cases are down from yesterday, we cannot let our guard down. Let’s all do the right thing this weekend for the benefit of our family and friends.”

The number of people hospitalized in the state with covid-19 rose by 27, to 484. Those patients included 95 who were on ventilators, down from 97 a day earlier.

The increase in deaths included 19 that among were of confirmed cases, bringing the count of deaths among such cases to 1,116. The state's count of deaths among probable cases increased by one, to 150.

The state's cumulative count of cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 79,946.

That comprised 77,472 confirmed cases and 2,474 probable ones.

The number of confirmed or probable cases that were considered active rose by 188, to 7,249, as 689 Arkansans were newly classified as having recovered.

Despite the different classifications, the Health Department has said it treats confirmed and probable cases the same for the purposes of its contact-tracing efforts.

That includes requiring people whose results are positive from either type of test to isolate themselves and those they may have infected to quarantine.

Friday's increase was less than the 1,086 that were added on Thursday and 982 on Wednesday.

Over a rolling seven-day period, however, the average number of confirmed and probable cases added to the state's count of total cases rose for the third straight day, to 838, up from 803 as of Tuesday.

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