Arkansas posted its largest increase in hospitalized covid-19 patients since mid-July on Monday even as the state's new-case numbers continued to decline.
Meanwhile, for the second day in a row, the state didn't report any new deaths from covid-19.
The death toll, as tracked by the state Department of Health, remained at 11,993.
Growing for the second straight day, the number of covid-19 patients in Arkansas hospitals rose Monday by 22, to 294, the largest number since Sept. 1 and up by 36 from the two-month low the number hit a week earlier.
The increase on Monday was the biggest in a single day since July 18.
The state's count of cases rose by 271.
While larger by 80 than the increase on Sunday, it was smaller by 14 than the one the previous Monday.
Already at its lowest level since the week ending June 15, the average daily increase in the state's case count over a rolling seven-day period fell Monday to 642.
At its lowest level since June 22, the number of cases in the state that were considered active fell by 187, to 8,550, as recoveries outpaced new cases.
State Epidemiologist Mike Cima said the increase in the number hospitalized could stem from a "tiny, tiny little bump" in new cases that occurred about a week after Labor Day.
Since the state's new-case numbers have declined since then, however, he said he expects the number hospitalized to begin falling again soon.
In part because of the widespread use of at-home tests, the results of which aren't typically reported, the state's official case numbers represent only a portion of the actual number of infections.
But Cima said reported cases still provide a gauge of how new infections are trending.
Except for a slight uptick, linked to the start of the 2022-23 school year, for a few weeks in August and early September, the state's new-case numbers have generally been on the decline since mid-July.
"I think more likely than not what's happening is that cases are going down, transmission is subsiding, and hospitalizations and deaths will follow suit here shortly," Cima said.
Pulaski County had the most new cases, 37, on Monday, followed by Benton County with 26, Craighead County with 20 and Washington County with 17.
The state's cumulative count of cases since March 2020 rose to 946,576.
After rising by five on Sunday, the number of the state's virus patients who were in intensive care remained Monday at 47.
Rising for the second straight day, the number on ventilators grew by one, to 19.
At its hospitals in Little Rock and Springdale, Arkansas Children's had eight covid-19 patients on Monday, down from 14 on Friday, spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo said.