After an uptick in cases the previous two days, the spread of the coronavirus in Arkansas once again showed signs of slowing on Friday as the state's case count rose by 2,162.
That was a reduction of more than 900 compared to a week earlier. On Jan. 15, the state added 3,124 coronavirus cases to the total count since the pandemic reached the state in March.
The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 53, to 4,549 — the third consecutive daily increase of more than 50 deaths.
"There were also over 16,500 tests administered yesterday," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday in a statement. "If we can keep our new cases on the decline, then our deaths will reduce as well, and this is one goal we can all unite behind."
The number of covid-19 patients in the state who were hospitalized, on ventilators or in intensive care all continued falling.
The number who were hospitalized fell for the third consecutive day, dropping by 18 to 1,142.
After falling by 17 on Thursday, the number of patients who were on ventilators fell Friday by two, to 193.
The number of virus patients in intensive care units as of 2 p.m. Friday fell by six, to 364 -- the fifth consecutive daily decline for that tally.
All three measures have mostly fallen since they peaked earlier this month. The number of hospitalized Arkansans, for instance, reached a high of 1,371 on Jan. 11.
Friday was the first day in three days in which the daily increase in cases was smaller than the one a week earlier.
After rising for two days, the average number of cases added to the state's tallies over a rolling seven-day period fell by 137, to 1,964.
That marked a new low since the average increase peaked at 3,086 on Jan. 10.
It was the first time the measure had dropped below 2,000 since Dec. 31.
The state's cumulative count of cases since the pandemic began rose Friday to 281,382.
The number of cases that were considered active, however, fell by 511, to 20,107. Another 2,620 Arkansans were newly classified as having recovered from the coronavirus, raising that tally to 256,696 since the start of the pandemic.
More details in Saturday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.