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Arkansas exceeds 1,000 new virus cases for third day in row

July 10, 2021 | 3:55am | Updated July 10, 2021 | 3:56am

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson talks about COVID-19 vaccinations at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., as virus cases increase significantly.

Arkansas added more than 1,000 coronavirus cases for the third day in a row Friday as the state topped the nation in new cases per capita.

The Department of Health reported Arkansas’ cases rose by 1,155, bringing the state’s total to 355,460 since the pandemic began.

The virus has been surging in Arkansas in recent weeks, fueled by the delta variant and the state’s lagging vaccination rates. The state now has the nation’s most cases per capita over the past two weeks, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The department said the state’s COVID-19 deaths rose by four to 5,948. The number of people hospitalized increased by 16 to 497. The state’s active cases increased by 673 cases to 6,605 patients who have not died or recovered.

A nurse performs a COVID-19 antigen test on a man, as cases soar in Arkansas. AP

Only about 35% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson this week kicked off a series of town hall-style meetings aimed at encouraging more vaccinations. He announced Friday that he’d continue the tour next week with events in Batesville, Forrest City, Blytheville and Texarkana.