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Bars may be forced to close soon because of rising hospital occupancy rates with patients infected with the coronavirus, Cooke County Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Fletcher said.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday, Dec.1] will most likely be day seven above 15%,” Fletcher said Monday, Nov. 30, of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the region.

Cooke County is part of trauma service area region E, which includes most of the metroplex.

The region's coronavirus hospitalizations have to top 15% for seven days or more before orders by Gov. Greg Abbott begin to go into effect. Those orders include closing bars again and rolling back restaurant occupancy to 50%.

In June, Abbott issued an executive order to shut down bars to slow the spread of the coronavirus — this was after the initial closing of businesses in March when the coronavirus first began to spread throughout the state.

Area bars, wineries and distilleries were allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy on Oct.14, a previous Register report indicates. The same report shows restaurants in Cooke County were permitted to continue operating at 75% capacity.

County officials have consistently said it's important that everyone is mindful of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as wearing a mask, frequently sanitizing hands, avoiding large gatherings and keeping six feet away from someone not in your immediate household.

Free coronavirus testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2-4 at the Cooke County Fair Association barn, 1901 Justice Center Blvd.

Registration will be completed onsite before tests are taken using an oral swab. Pre-registration is only allowed 48 hours before the desired testing date at https://curative.com/sites/10033.

Through Friday, Nov. 27, there were 256 active coronavirus cases in Cooke County, according to a tally released by county officials. Eighteen of those cases were hospitalized.

There have been a dozen coronavirus-related fatalities.

A total of 1,373 cases have been recorded, counting active, recovered and fatal cases.

The tallies were the latest available by press time Monday.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.

Coronavirus symptoms typically appear within 14 days of exposure, health officials said.

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