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Arkansas reports near-record increase in coronavirus deaths

January 6, 2021 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas on Wednesday reported a near-record increase in coronavirus deaths as the state’s cases continued to mount.

The Department of Health reported 65 new deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total fatalities since the pandemic began to 3,901. The increase was the state’s highest since it reported a record 66 deaths on Dec. 29.

The state’s virus cases rose by 3,705 to 242,593. Its hospitalizations, which had hit record levels in recent days, dropped by two to 1,321.

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“It has been a tough day with the loss of another 65 of our friends and neighbors to COVID-19,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement released by his office. “Vaccine doses continue to be distributed across the state to those in Category 1-A, and we are also receiving additional doses each week.”

Nearly 4% of the state’s intensive care unit beds and 21% of its hospital beds are available, according to the Department of Health. There are 427 COVID-19 patients in ICUs around the state.