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story.lead_photo.caption Registered nurses Amanda Velasquez (left) and Ursula Dixon take swabs from a couple in April at a drive-up coronavirus testing site at Arkansas Surgical Hospital in North Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose Saturday by 883, breaking a three-day run of daily increases of more than 1,000 cases..

It was second consecutive daily increase that was smaller than both the one the day before and the one a week earlier.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 19, to 1,684.

Meanwhile, the number of patients hospitalized with covid-19 fell by 14, to 576. Those patients included 94 who were on ventilators, down from 102 a day earlier.

In a tweet announcing the day's numbers, Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged Arkansans to take steps to prevent the virus' spread.

"Our cases next week will be determined by what we do and our discipline this weekend," the Republican governor said. "We must all be mindful that COVID-19 has set in for the winter and we have to take precautions.”

The increase in cases included 710 that were confirmed through polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCR tests. The other 173 were "probable" cases, which include those identified through less-sensitive antigen tests.

The state's cumulative case count rose to 98,422. That number includes 92,827 confirmed cases and 5,595 active ones.

Already at a record level since Wednesday, the number of confirmed or probable cases that were considered active rose by 201, to 8,810. That reflected the cases that were added Saturday, minus the 19 deaths and the 664 Arkansans who were newly classified as having recovered.

It also reflects a reduction in the Health Department's count of people with active infections who died of reasons unrelated to covid-19. That number fell by one, to eight.

Health Department spokesman Gavin Lesnick said the department determined that the person lived in another state.


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