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Arkansas hits new record high in virus hospitalizations

December 23, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this July 20, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol in Little Rock. State lawmakers across the country will be convening in 2021 with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic rippling through much of their work and even affecting the way they work. After 10 months of emergency orders and restrictions from governors and local executive officials, some state lawmakers are eager to reassert their power over statewide decisions shaping the way people shop, work, worship and attend school (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)
FILE - In this July 20, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol in Little Rock. State lawmakers across the country will be convening in 2021 with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic rippling through much of their work and even affecting the way they work. After 10 months of emergency orders and restrictions from governors and local executive officials, some state lawmakers are eager to reassert their power over statewide decisions shaping the way people shop, work, worship and attend school (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged caution Wednesday ahead of Christmas gatherings as Arkansas reported another one-day high of coronavirus hospitalizations.

“This is frequently a time to gather with our family in large groups, but this year that presents an increased risk of spreading COVID-19, so let’s plan with our safety guidelines in mind,” Hutchinson said. “Please protect yourself and your family.”

U.S. health officials have been more direct: asking people to stay home instead of getting together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that if people do travel, they should get tested for the virus before leaving home and when they get back.

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The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday that 1,110 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, a new record number pushing past the previous high of 1,103 hospitalizations set Tuesday.

The state reported more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases Wednesday. There are currently 22,516 active cases of COVID-19.

The 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Arkansas has risen over the past two weeks from 16.31% on Dec. 8 to 18.98% on Dec. 22.