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As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. You can read our full coverage at Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.

Here are this week's five important things to know about the coronavirus.

• Arkansas has 139,855 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Nov. 20. State health officials also have reported 2,297 covid-19 deaths and 120,545 recoveries.

• On Nov. 19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered establishments such as restaurants, bars and clubs that allow the sale and consumption of alcohol on their premises to close by 11 p.m. beginning Nov. 20 to slow the spread of covid-19. The order expires Jan. 3 and comes a day after a joint letter from about 300 Arkansas physicians to the governor asked him to implement and enforce stricter covid-19 interventions, such as closing gyms and bars, and limiting restaurant service to carry-out only.

• Covid-19 hospitalizations in the state passed 900 for the first time Nov. 18, less than two weeks after topping 700, and eight days after hitting 800, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health.

• A White House Coronavirus Task Force report released Nov. 17 said that the past two weeks of increasing covid-19 cases and hospitalizations puts Arkansas at risk for more case growth and deaths. State Health Secretary Jose Romero echoed the White House report, saying Arkansas is on the edge of a "significant and possibly uncontrollable" rise in cases.

• Noting growth in case numbers after Halloween, Hutchinson and Romero both said Nov. 17 that they were concerned about the Thanksgiving holidays. Hutchinson asked that Arkansans not gather in large groups for the holiday. Both encouraged mask-wearing and washing hands.

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