Ashley County now has its highest recorded number of active COVID-19 cases at one time. 

As of Monday afternoon, the county had 72 active cases. Of this, 58 were lab confirmed using Polymerase chain reaction testing. The remaining 14 active cases were considered “probable,” meaning that they were detected using other methods.

The county also recorded another COVID death in the past week, bringing the total of COVID-related mortalities to 13.

The new numbers reflect a growing number of infections in the state, which saw five days of 1,000-plus new infections diagnosed. Reports from the Arkansas Department of Health said the state had more than 12,000 active cases of COVID on Monday.

As the winter approaches and people are more likely to be closer together indoors, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been encouraging residents to get flu shots, which would reduce the number of flu infections in the state and in turn keep hospital beds free for COVID patients.

“Today’s numbers show we are not in a good position as we head into the colder months,” Hutchinson said Friday when announcing 1,870 new reported cases. 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 governor’s Friday comments echoed concerns he voiced Thursday, when — after reporting more than 1,500 new cases in a day — he said, “Today’s significant increase in new cases shows that we have the virus in all our communities. Our increase in hospitalizations breaks the recent trend of smaller numbers. The coming weeks are critical, and we must be diligent, intentional, and not be careless.”

A total of 121,866 Arkansans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with Ashley County making up 617 of those cases; 2,085 people in Arkansas have died from the virus.

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