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253 new covid cases reported in state as hospitalizations rise

February 18, 2021 at 4:06 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)

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose by just 253 on Thursday as snowstorms that hit the state this week continued to hamper covid-19 testing and vaccinations.

After falling for the previous five days, the number of patients hospitalized with covid-19 in Arkansas rose Thursday by 23, to 625. That's still the second-lowest number of hospitalizations in the state since Oct. 24.

The number of patients who were on ventilators, however, fell for the third straight day, dropping from 108 as of Wednesday to 107 as of Thursday.

After falling by 17 on Wednesday, the number of covid-19 patients who were in intensive care units as of 2 p.m. rose Thursday by eight, to 241.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 10, to 5,323.

"Our vaccine numbers have slowed over the past few days, and we anticipate these numbers to increase once the roads clear up throughout the state," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement.

"We hope that vaccine uptake will continue among those who are eligible. I ask that, once it's your turn, you roll up your sleeve and help protect your community."

The increase in cases on Thursday was less than a fourth the number of cases that were added to the state's tallies the previous Thursday, Feb. 10.

It was the smallest increase since Tuesday, when 177 cases were added.

More details in Friday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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