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Arkansas covid death toll hits highest single-day mark, health experts say trend will continue

Arkansas reported 53 new covid-related deaths on Monday, a single-day record for the state.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Arkansas reported a record 53 single-day COVID-19 deaths on Monday, Dec. 7 - raising the alarm for the Washington County Coroner, who says his office is already near its limit. 

Roger Morris, the Washington County Coroner, told 5NEWS there were two days in November where if he had gotten one more call, he would have been completely maxed out. 

While Monday's number is alarming, health experts in the state say that the number of covid-related deaths is expected to rise as cases continue to spike. 

“Right now, our mortality rate for COVID-19 in Northwest Arkansas across all age groups is about 1.75% - and you can kind of do the math," Dr. Marti Sharkey, Fayetteville Health Officer, said. 

Counties in Northwest Arkansas remain in the top counties each day for new cases in Arkansas. 

“We are starting to average anywhere from there to four covid deaths a day," Morris said. 

Morris told 5NEWS he expects to see over 60 covid-related deaths come through his office in December - a slight increase to numbers that nearly exceeded his office's capacity last month. 

“Twice in November, we were one call away from being maxed out," Morris said. 

As Christmas and New Year's quickly approach, Morris urges Arkansans to be cautious, so your loved ones can be around for more holidays to come. 

“It bothers me a lot because a lot of these people wouldn’t have died right now," Morris said. "They would be at least visiting with their families by Zoom or by facetime with their loved ones for Christmas, and you’d have them around for two or three other Christmases.” 

To address the rapid spread of the virus in the area, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will visit Springdale on Wednesday to discuss a local action plan. 

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