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State reports smallest rise in covid cases in almost 4 months

by Andy Davis | February 12, 2021 at 3:42 p.m.
A covid testing sign directs drivers waiting in line to get a free covid-19 self-test at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Amid a slowdown in testing caused by icy weather, Arkansas on Friday reported 565 new coronavirus cases — the smallest one-day increase since Oct. 19.

After falling for the previous four days, the number of people hospitalized in the state with covid-19 remained unchanged, at 712.

The state's death toll from the virus since March, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 13, to 5,212.

"Our new and active cases continue the downward trend that we've seen over the past few days," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement.

"We have made progress, and we can see the benefit of wearing a mask, watching our distance, and washing our hands. We received over 47,000 doses of vaccine yesterday, and we will continue following our plan to get these doses administered."

Friday's increase in cases was less than a third the size of the one a week earlier, on Feb. 5. It followed a day when some clinics and Health Department local health units were closed due to icy roads.

Health Department units that were open did not offer polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCR tests, because a courier service used to transport specimens was not operating.

The department reported receiving results from a total 8,490 PCR and antigen tests conducted Thursday in Arkansas.

That was down more than 40% from the number of tests the department reported a week earlier.

After falling Thursday, the numbers of Arkansans who were on ventilators and in intensive care units both rose on Friday.

The number who were on ventilators rose by six, to 123, while the number in intensive care as of 2 p.m. Friday rose by four, to 258.


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