LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As COVID-19 cases bump back up across the state, Community Bakery in Little Rock is back to asking customers to wear masks.

The CDC recommends masks in public places for counties classified as “high” for COVID-19 cases, which includes Pulaski County.

Shelby Sullivan is the General Manager at Community Bakery in Little Rock. She said the bakery immediately transitioned back to enforcing masks once the CDC classified Pulaski County as highly contaminated.

“We’re just going to continue to follow the CDC as it progresses,” Sullivan said. “We have a very diverse community that comes in here, and we just want to do our part to protect who we can.”

It is not just COVID-19 cases going up, hospitalizations are also back on the rise compared to the last few months.

“We know that what’s going around right now is really contagious and really has the potential to reach those skyrocketing numbers we’ve seen before,” said Dr. Amanda Novack, Infectious Disease Physician at Baptist Health in Little Rock.

Dr. Novack said she knows how contagious COVID-19 is. She sees it not only in the community, she also just got the virus herself a few weeks ago for the first time ever.

“It doesn’t seem to care if you’ve had covid before or if you’ve been vaccinated,” she said.

Dr. Novack said the difference between the virus right now and what we saw several months ago with Omicron is the severity of the cases.

She said about a tenth of people are becoming hospitalized with the virus compared to several months ago.

“Among the people that need the hospital very, very few of those are needing that critical care, intensive care support,” she said.

However, she and Sullivan both agree it is still important to protect those vulnerable to the disease.

“While most people will do fine, there will always be vulnerable people in our population that even a little weak virus like this can make them really sick,” Dr. Novack said.

Dr. Novack recommends people continue to get vaccinated and receive their booster shots, as well as continue to practice safety protocols that have been recommended since the beginning of the pandemic.
There is no mask mandate for the city of Little Rock or in Pulaski County, the requirement at Community Bakery is their own choice to follow the CDC recommendation for masking in a public place if you are what is classified as a highly contaminated county.