LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Coronavirus cases continue to surge through Arkansas Thursday with a daily-record 1,278 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus reported.

The Department of Health reported that the state's confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, rose by 1,068 to 9,303, and probable cases rose by 210 to 5,221. That brought the combined COVID-19 total for the outbreak to 96,524, with 8,424 cases active and 594 requiring hospitalization, seven more than Wednesday. Patients needing breathing assistance fell by seven to 106.

The actual number of cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

"I expected the number of new cases to increase as we enter the last part of the week," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. "This has been the pattern, but the cases reported today set a new record high. Our increased testing efforts allow us to find cases already present and react to them. Each one of us must be proactive in our individual efforts to help slow the spread of this virus."

Hutchinson has mandated that face masks be worn in public, that social distancing be maintained and that restaurant seatings be limited to two-thirds capacity.

The state's total COVID-19 fatalities rose by 11 new deaths to 1,645.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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