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story.lead_photo.caption A nurse conducts a coronavirus test in August at the UAMS drive-thru screening site in Little Rock. More photos at arkansasonline.com/819test/. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford) - Photo by Stephen Swofford

​​​​​The number of people hospitalized in Arkansas with the coronavirus reached a new high Friday for the second day in a row as the state's count of cases rose by more than 2,900.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Department of Health, rose by 40, to 3,966.

In a statement, Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted that the increase of 2,944 cases was smaller than the record spike of 4,304 cases the previous Friday, Jan. 1.

"Today's report has 1,360 fewer cases than this time last week with higher testing," Hutchinson said.

"This good news is overshadowed by the loss of an additional 40 of our friends and neighbors. We all have a responsibility to our friends and neighbors to help slow the spread, and I hope you'll join me as we continue to fight this invisible enemy.”

The number of virus patients in the state's hospitals rose by by 16, to 1,342.

Those patients included 219 who were on ventilators, up from 218 a day earlier.

At a record level since Monday, the number of covid-19 patients in intensive care units rose Friday by 12, to 439.

The state's cumulative count of cases rose to 248,860.

At a record level since Tuesday, the number of cases that were considered active rose by 1,306, to 27,290, as new cases continued to outpace recoveries.

Except for dips on New Year’s Day and Wednesday, the number of virus patients in the state’s hospitals has set a new record every day since Dec. 28.

Read Saturday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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