Arkansas' count of covid-19 cases rose Thursday by a higher amount than on Wednesday or the previous Thursday, even as the number of people hospitalized with the virus fell below 300 for the first time in more than a week.
The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by five, to 11,923.
The state Health Department reported 1,323 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. The increase was larger by 143 than the one on Wednesday, and larger by 131 than the rise the previous Thursday.
The increase lifted the average daily increase in the state's case count to the highest level since the week ending Aug. 5. The average daily increase over a rolling seven-day period rose to 984 on Thursday, a day after it declined to an average of 966 new cases per day over that seven-day period.
The number of cases in the state that were considered active rose by 354, to 11,873, as new cases outpaced recoveries. It was the third consecutive daily increase in Arkansas' active cases.
The number of covid-19 patients in the state's hospitals fell by 23, to 295, after going unchanged a day earlier. It was the first time the number had been below 300 since Aug. 21, and it's just above a recent low of 294 that the number reached on Aug. 20.
The number of the state's virus patients who were in intensive care, which fell the previous three days, rose Thursday by two, to 47.
The number of those patients on ventilators rose by three, to 14, after falling the previous two days.
State health officials have said the recent slight upward trend in the state’s new case numbers, coinciding with the start of the 2022-23 school year, has been driven primarily by virus transmission among people 18 and younger.
Infections among children, who represent about 23% of the state’s population, accounted for 33% of the cases added to the state's count on Thursday.
Since the pandemic reached Arkansas in March 2020, the state Health Department has reported 933,962 cases of the coronavirus. Of those, 909,918 are considered recovered.
More details in Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.