LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas on Friday hit a record one-day increase in coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was growing concerned about the state's hospital capacity.
The Department of Health said the state's probable and confirmed virus cases rose by 1,870 to 119,230. The state's previous one-day high was on Thursday, when it reported 1,548 new cases.
The state's COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped by 39 to a new high of 706. The state's previous high was 688 hospitalizations on Monday. The actual number of cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested and people can carry the virus but not feel sick.
“Today’s numbers show we are not in a good position as we head into the colder months," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “I ask all Arkansans to take this virus seriously and to take necessary precautions. Our number of new cases is growing at a rate that worries me in terms of our hospital capacity.”
The state’s COVID-19 deaths rose by 19 to 2,056.
About 25% of the state's 9,144 hospital beds and 9% of its 1,082 intensive care unit beds are available, according to the Department of Health. There are 263 COVID-19 patients in ICUs around the state.
Earlier Friday, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced the Jonesboro school will shift to mostly online instruction after Thanksgiving because of concerns about a rise in cases in the state and region.
Damphousse said the number of COVID-related hospitalizations doubled in October in northeast Arkansas, and noted the White House Coronavirus Task Force has put Craighead County and Jonesboro in the “red zone" for new virus cases.
“While the number of cases on our campus has remained relatively stable, COVID-19 continues to rise in our region, across the state, and around the country," Damphousse posted on Twitter. “Because of that, I have announced that @ArkansasState will transition to mostly-online instruction post-Thanksgiving."
Arkansas ranks 21st in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of ASU’s chancellor to Kelly Damphousse, not Damphouse