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story.lead_photo.caption This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (CDC via AP, file photo)

EDITOR'S NOTE: As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record will publish updates released each weekday by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.

The following stats were shared Monday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 news conference in Forrest City and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health's website:

• 4,813 cases confirmed statewide, up 54 from Sunday.

• 87,614 test results, up 2,429 from Sunday.

• 5.5% rate of infection, down from 5.6% Sunday.

• 1,068 active cases, up five from Sunday.

• 100 deaths, up two from Sunday.

• 77 cases requiring hospitalization, up 12 from Sunday.

• 12 cases on a ventilator, no change from Sunday.

• 130 cases in Garland County, up one from Sunday.

• 3,423 test results for Garland County, up 61 from Sunday.

• 3.8% rate of infection, no change from Sunday.

• 117 recoveries in Garland County, no change from Sunday.

• 12 active cases in Garland County, up one from Sunday.

• One death in Garland County, no change from Sunday.

The net increase of 12 in hospitalizations reported Monday brought the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals to its highest level since May 5, raising the running total to 77. Hospitalizations peaked at 109 on April 27. Dr. Nate Smith, Health Department secretary, attributed Monday's increase to the almost 500 new cases reported last week.

"Hospitalizations tend to lag about a week behind cases," he said. "About the middle of last week we had quite a few cases that were reported. This is not surprising. Fortunately, our number of cases has come down since then. Hopefully, we'll see these hospitalizations come down as well, but we'll be watching that very closely."

The 53 new community cases, which exclude those from correctional settings, reported Monday raised the rolling seven-day average of new cases for a second-straight day. The 72.3 average was up from Sunday's 68.2. Saturday's 65.1 average broke a five-day streak of increases that began May 11. Monday's moving average marked a 54.5% increase over the May 10 average of 46.8.

The 54 total cases reported Monday raised the total rolling seven-day average to 110, up from Sunday's 106.7. Sunday's average increased from Saturday's 84.9 on the strength of 131 new cases reported Sunday in correctional settings.

Correctional settings accounted for 378 of the 1,068 active cases reported Monday.

The one new case reported Monday in Garland County raised its rolling seven-day average to 1.57, marking the fifth-straight day the moving average has been above one. The average hadn't been above one since April 21 prior to Thursday.

Hutchinson said bars inside restaurants can open today, and free-standing bars can open May 26. Smith said bars will be under restrictions similar to those that allowed restaurants to open May 11 at a third of their capacities. The easing of the directive that closed bars means all businesses in the retail, restaurant, personal care, fitness and hospitality sectors can open, Hutchinson said.

"That allows every retail shop to have the ability to open even though we continue to be careful in our safety restrictions," Hutchinson, noting that limitations are still in place on most reopened sectors of the economy, said.

Smith said the responsibility for containing the spread of the coronavirus will shift to the public as directives continue to be relaxed.

"We're going to depend more and more on individuals to protect themselves and others," he said. "We're going to be relying more on public health interventions like testing and contact tracing and less on regulatory mandates. That's how we're going to deal with COVID-19 as long as COVID-19 is in our community.

"We're going to have to adjust our behavior individually and not count on someone to tell us what we need to do to protect ourselves and others."

Local on 05/19/2020

Print Headline: COVID-19 update: Bars inside restaurants can open

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