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— The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK — Coronavirus hospitalizations in Arkansas have again set a new record high, as the pandemic's strains medical resources across the state.

There were 1,216 people in Arkansas hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday, state health officials reported, an increase of 31 from the day before.

Arkansas has repeatedly broken previous records for hospitalizations and case counts over the past week, as the virus surges following holiday gatherings and travel.

The Arkansas Department of Health also reported 1,597 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, 403 more probably cases and another 18 deaths.

Those case counts are down from Friday's record high, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson warned that the numbers were deflated by a drop in testing on New Year's Day.

The actual number of cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get sick don’t show symptoms.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness and be fatal.

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