The state Health Department website was updated this afternoon to show 9,101 coronavirus cases in Arkansas to date, an increase of 450 from the midday total yesterday and thus the highest single-day increase so far.

Pulaski still leads in cases, with 1,092, but Washington, with 913, and Benton, with 883, are drawing closer. Lincoln County, home to the massive cluster at Cummins prison, has 985. The county with the highest number of active cases — people who can transmit the disease — is Washington, with 556. Benton County has 471 active cases, and Pulaski County 296.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson hinted strongly last week that easing in health guidelines was coming, perhaps on a regional basis to areas with lower incidences of the virus. He said the entire state is not ready for Phase 2 of a return to normal business because of some obvious hot spots.

The fall opening of schools and colleges and football season draws closer with no sign that the virus is going away. The new normal seems likely to stay with us for a while.

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