UPDATE: 28,671 COVID-19 cases in Georgia; death toll rises to 1,179

UPDATE [7 p.m.] Since Sunday morning, state health officials have reported five more COVID-19 related deaths and 69 new cases across Georgia.

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the state reached 28,671 on Sunday, and the number of people who have died of complications from the disease increased to 1,179, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The DPH reported 5,405 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in Georgia so far.

As of 7 p.m., a total of 183,002 people have been tested for COVID-19.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY: [10:30 a.m.:] State health officials on Sunday confirmed 270 more cases of the new coronavirus in Georgia, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 28,602.

The latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health also reported three additional deaths related to COVID-19 since 7 p.m. Saturday, bringing the state's death toll to 1,177. The new numbers reflect the numbers reported, not that the additional deaths occurred since the last update.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

The increase in the number of cases and deaths comes as Georgia emerges from a monthlong shelter-in-place order. Friday was the first day for lessened restrictions on travel, business and other activities for most Georgians.

On the same day, The health department reported more than 1,000 new cases of the virus within a 24-hour period. The DPH reported more than 1,000 new cases and over two dozen more deaths related to the virus on Saturday.

While shops and some restaurants have started reopening, many residents remain wary about venturing out into public amid the global pandemic.

» MORE: Joy, caution as virus-weary folks flock to few reopened malls, stores

When Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday he was lifting the shelter-at-home order for most Georgians, he said the economic consequences of the lockdown equaled the threat from the new coronavirus.

» RELATED: What to know about Kemp's decision to ease Georgia's stay-at-home order

All elderly and medically fragile residents have been instructed to stay home until at least June 12, and reopening businesses must follow social-distancing and sanitation guidelines.

Still, public health experts have criticized the governor’s decision to reopen the state, predicting a surge of new cases in the coming weeks.

» DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia

» ALSO: Map tracks coronavirus globally in real time

On Sunday morning, Fulton County led all counties with the most confirmed cases at 2,972. DeKalb had the second most with 2,180, followed by Gwinnett with 1,970 and Cobb with 1,762.

Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are urged to schedule an appointment with their local health department, primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic to get tested. Do not show up unannounced at a testing site, emergency room or other health care facility.

State and local officials are also partnering with the CDC to conduct antibody testing at randomly selected homes in Fulton and DeKalb counties through Monday.

Georgians can call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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We talked to local business owners about what it's been like since restrictions were eased.