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Myrydd Wells

Myrydd Wells
Digital editor Myrydd Wells (pronounced "merith") joined the Atlanta magazine staff as digital producer in late 2013. Previously she worked as a copy editor and page designer for the Naples Daily News in Florida and in her hometown of Indianapolis as an intern and later contributing editor for Indianapolis Monthly magazine. A proud alumna of Indiana University Bloomington, she enjoys writing about pop culture, television, local events, animals, internet sensations, and anything else offbeat.

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, May 27

Atlanta coronavirus update
A food distribution event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 17. Metro Atlanta’s school systems have announced plans to help keep students fed as summer arrives.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, school systems discussed plans for the fall. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 44,275 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,899 people have died. 518,591 tests (virus and antibody) have been conducted. A total of 7,647 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• As the school year ends, some school systems are looking at ways to keep students in need fed during the summer. Atlanta Public Schools will distribute 60,000 meals in June to students who participate in Horizons, Breakthrough, or the Boys and Girls Club. Marietta City Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to any child under 18, with pickup available at nine different locations. The program will run through the end of July. [11 Alive/AJC]

• Meanwhile in the world of higher ed, the University System of Georgia is looking at multiple scenarios: in-person classes with social distancing, fully online classes, or online classes for some of the year. For in-person classes, 11 Alive reports, the system is looking at having a staggered return to campus. And even with online classes, students may be allowed to return to residence halls. You can read the full planning document here. [11 Alive]

• Cobb County commissioners voted to distribute $50 million in federal COVID-19 aid to small businesses in the county. Businesses with less than 100 full-time employees will be eligible to apply for a cash grant. [AJC]

• If you’re looking for an interesting data dashboard to examine, the New York Times is tracking COVID-19 cases internationally. Here is their Georgia dashboard, which has some fairly interesting metrics, including how fast or slow the case growth rate is over time and looking at cases by share of population. For example, in Fulton County, about 1 in every 242 people has tested positive for COVID-19. 1 in 4,889 has died from COVID-19. [NYT]

• When will movies and TV shows start filming again? Pinewood Atlanta Studios president Frank Patterson is guessing sometime in the fall, at least for his studio, WABE reports. The state film office last week issued an 11-page guideline booklet for those in the industry, which includes recommendations such as reducing the amount of extras used, axing fruit or snack bowls from craft services, and holding remote casting calls. Tyler Perry Studios is set to resume production on two TV series in early July, where actors and crew will be tested upon arrival and multiple times during the planned two-and-a-half week shoot. [WABE/GA Film Office/Variety]

• Six Flags continues to prepare for an eventual re-opening, releasing new safety guidelines for visitors. All patrons over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask at all times, with the exception of some areas in the water park. Visitors and employees will have their temperature taken before entry and social distancing will be required throughout the park, with markers placed in line areas and rows blocked off on rides to keep distance between riders. The park will also operate at a lower capacity. The park has not yet set a date for re-opening. You can read the full guidelines here. [Six Flags]

• The Trap Music Museum is set to re-open on June 5, with all patrons required to wear masks and temperature checks required before entry. [11 Alive]

• The High Museum of Art has announced it will re-open for High members and frontline workers on July 7 and to the public on July 17. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Tuesday, May 26

Atlanta coronavirus updates
People talk as they stand amongst the graves in Marietta National Cemetery on May 25, Memorial Day. The pandemic canceled the cemetery’s usual events but a small group arrived to lay a wreath and pay respects.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

During the holiday weekend, Georgians took to the great outdoors. Here’s your Tuesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 43,586 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,853 people have died. 514,945 tests (virus and antibody) have been conducted. A total of 7,511 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• During Memorial Day weekend, many Georgians took to the lakes, according to the AJC, who quoted the manager of Lake Allatoona’s Little River Marina as saying “he had never seen so many families head to the lake for the holiday.” Beaches and parks also saw a lot of visitors, while malls were still less crowded than normal, the AJC reports. Some ceremonies to honor veterans were also still held on Monday; at Marietta National Cemetery, where the annual remembrance event was officially canceled, a small group gathered to lay a wreath and pay respects. Cemetery director James Mitchum was in attendance and told the AJC it was a “powerful” experience. Dunwoody and Woodstock held virtual Memorial Day ceremonies. [AJC/Marietta Daily Journal/WSB-TV]

• A 17-year-old has become the state’s youngest COVID-19 victim. The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the death of the Fulton County teenager, who had an underlying condition, on Sunday. Way back in early April, it was reported that an 11-year-old was Georgia’s youngest COVID-19 victim, but that was later reported as an error. [WSB-TV/Fox 5]

• The TSA has released new guidelines in anticipation of summer travel, among them: travelers will no longer give boarding passes to the TSA agent but will instead scan the passes themselves and hold them up for the TSA agent to visually check. Passengers are also asked to put any carry-on foods into a clear plastic bag and put the bag directly on the bin. This is because, as anyone who has traveled with snacks well knows, food often triggers a bag check. Fewer bag checks means fewer TSA agents touching your stuff. For the same reason, they’re also asking travelers to be extra cautious of having any prohibited items in carry-on luggage (like a full water bottle). Travelers are allowed to have one container with up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, but it must be put in the tray directly. Read the full list of guidelines here. [TSA]

• Several Old Fourth Ward businesses have agreed to a tiered pledge that incorporates guidelines from both Governor Brian Kemp’s executive orders and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s reopening plan for Atlanta. Eater Atlanta broke down what this means for the restaurants who have signed on, including many of the Edgewood Avenue bars. Some of the guidelines include keeping music low so that patrons and employees can hear each other better through masks and keeping doors and windows open as much as possible. [O4W Business Association/Eater Atlanta]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Saturday, May 23

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Park-goers at Centennial Olympic Park on May 2

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Friday, Vice President Pence visited Atlanta and Fulton County’s absentee ballot applications are backed up. Here’s your Saturday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 41,482 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,808 people have died. 427,249 tests have been conducted. A total of 7,376 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• If you haven’t gotten your absentee ballot yet in Fulton County yet, you’re likely not alone. The AJC reports the county has a 25,000 ballot application backlog that it is trying to get through by Memorial Day. Richard Barron, the director of registration and elections for Fulton County, told the AJC that ballots should arrive sometime during the week of June 1, but Election Day is the following Tuesday, June 9. To be counted, a ballot must arrive at the county election office (not just be postmarked) by 7 p.m. on June 9, so voters who get ballots late may want to consider dropping their ballots in one of the county’s drop boxes. (The county has a drop box location finder here.) [AJC]

• Vice President Mike Pence dined with Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp at Star Cafe, praising Georgia’s re-opening efforts and saying that “history will record that Georgia helped lead the way back to a prosperous American economy,” the AJC reports. Pence also participated in round-table discussion at the Waffle House headquarters and visited the late Ravi Zacharias’s ministry. And in a rare moment of complete normalcy, his motorcade also snarled traffic on I-75. [AJC]

• If you’ve been following the news, you’ve likely heard a lot about the Georgia Department of Health’s COVID-19 data dashboard and its various controversies. And if you’ve tried to just follow the data yourself, you may have found yourself confused or frustrated at just how difficult it can be to get a clear picture of what’s happening right now. We explored why coronavirus data is so difficult to communicate clearly (lag time and the virus’s lengthy incubation period have a lot to do with it) and how we can better understand and distribute it.

• Food insecurity is still a major issue of the pandemic, as long lines of cars proved in DeKalb County yesterday during a drive-thru food giveaway. At one giveaway in Clarkston, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond told the AJC that 500 cars had lined up 90 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin. The Atlanta Community Food Bank also told the paper it has seen a 30-40 percent increase in the amount of people getting food from banks and drives. DeKalb spent $40,000 on the food, which was purchased from South Georgia farmers. [AJC]

• How do you host an album release party in the middle of a pandemic? For rapper Skooly, it included a documentary screening and album streaming at Starlight Drive-In. Freelance writer Christina Lee went to the party and found that while there weren’t a ton of masks or social distancing, there was an outpouring of love for Skooly and a desire for a sense of normalcy. Read her full story for us here.

• Sports and Social and the Tavern, both part of Live! At the Battery Atlanta, will re-open on May 28 and plan to bring back outdoor live entertainment on the weekends. [WSB]

• Hamilton fans have to wait for it even longer—Broadway Across Atlanta announced the Fox Theatre’s run of the show, which was moved from spring to this August, has now been pushed a year to August 24 through September 26, 2021. [AJC]

• Please remember to be safe while enjoying this Memorial Day—both the mayor’s office and CDC advise that people continue social distancing and wearing face masks in public. The AJC has a list of safety tips and information on popular attractions in including Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain Park, coastal destinations, and lakes. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, May 22

Atlanta Coronavirus updates
Historic Fourth Ward Park on May 10

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Thursday, Atlanta’s mayor released a five-phase plan for re-opening. Here’s your Friday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 41,127 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,783 people have died. 427,249 tests have been conducted. A total of 7,294 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Nearly a month after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created a task force on re-opening the city, the mayor’s office has released a five-phase plan. Bottoms says the city is currently in phase one, “Stay at Home,” which asks residents to stay home except for essential trips, wear face masks, wash hands frequently, and maintain social distancing. The criteria to reach phase two, “Easing”—which will add to the previous guidelines allowing small, private gatherings of no more than 10 people with social distancing—is a 14-day decline in cases, hospitalizations, and percent of positive COVID-19 tests. Hospital and critical care capacity also has to stay above 50 percent. The mayor’s office released a data dashboard for May 20 that shows the city well on its way to phase two, meeting all of those criteria except for the decline in case counts, which was at 11 days. (The data from the dashboard was collected from the Fulton County Board of Public Health and Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.) Read the full re-opening plan here. [City of Atlanta]

• Georgia saw a record high of 11.9 percent unemployment for the month of April, topping the previous record of 10.6 percent set in December 2010. (Last April, it was 3.6 percent.) “About 580,000 Georgians were officially jobless, more than during the weakest labor market in the wake of the Great Recession,” the AJC reports. The state processed 202,522 claims last week. In the past nine weeks, the state has processed more than 2 million claims, which is more than the past five years combined. [Department of Labor/AJC]

• Vice President Mike Pence will visit Georgia today to see how the state is faring post-re-opening. He’s set to have lunch with Governor Brian Kemp before a round-table discussion with restaurant executives at Waffle House’s corporate headquarters. Senator Kelly Loeffler will join Pence on Air Force Two. [AJC]

• After the governor’s office said it would ask the state to stop including COVID-19 antibody tests in the total testing figure, the CDC has also said it will separate out its figures for antibody testing and virus testing. Several other states who were combining the figures have also said they will stop. [WSB-TV]

• Following the announcement that Wellstar would be furloughing employees, Emory Healthcare has announced plans to furlough and cut hours for up to 1,500 employees. The healthcare system expects a $660 million revenue shortfall through August, 11 Alive reports, due to lack of surgeries and other non-COVID-19-related procedures. [11 Alive]

• Tenants at Ponce City Market are scheduled to begin re-opening today, among them: El Super Pan, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, Brezza Cucina, and Lucky Lotus. The Roof and its restaurants are also open. Ponce City Market employees are required to wear masks and patrons are asked to wear them as well. [Eater Atlanta]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, May 21

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A drive-thru testing sit in Jericho, New York.

Photograph by Al Bello/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the state received more criticism for how it presents its COVID-19 data. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 40,157 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,724 people have died. 404,207 tests have been conducted. A total of 7,194 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer broke a surprising story yesterday—a state Department of Public Health official confirmed to the paper that the number of COVID-19 tests the state reports daily, currently listed as more than 400,000, includes both COVID-19 tests and antibody tests. The governor’s office has since requested that the antibody testing numbers be removed from the overall testing figure, according to the AJC, with public health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey telling the paper, “I didn’t fully appreciate how many antibody tests have been done.” 57,000 antibody tests were included in the state’s testing figure, about 14 percent of the figure, the AJC concluded.

Dr. Harry J. Heiman, a clinical associate professor at Georgia State’s School of Public Health, told the Ledger-Enquirer that combining the tests is like “putting apples and oranges together and calling them oranges.” He continued, “If anything, it skews those numbers to make it appear like the level of disease relative to testing is actually dropping much more dramatically than it is.” It also changes the figures for how many COVID-19 tests the state is actually performing. As the AJC notes, the state was previously considered 20th in the nation for the amount of testing per capita we were doing. Removing the antibody tests bumps us down to 29th. The problem hasn’t only occurred in Georgia—officials in Virginia also recently announced they would stop including antibody tests in their totals. [Ledger-Enquirer/AJC]

• The CDC has released some preliminary guidelines for schools, noting that operating a school as usual is considered the “highest risk” for spreading COVID-19; the lowest risk is virtual learning, and in the middle involves smaller classes with kids staying in the same classroom and staying six feet apart. Among the suggestions for preventing spread in schools: having students and faculty wear masks whenever possible (the CDC admits this will be difficult for younger children), increased cleaning and disinfecting, avoiding sharing items as much as possible, spacing desks six-feet apart if possible, having desks all face the same direction, spacing out students on the bus if possible, creating one-way hallways, closing cafeterias and playgrounds if possible (stagger use if not), and having students eat lunch (preferably brought from home) in classrooms. Most Atlanta schools have not yet announced their plans for the fall. [CDC]

• Public restrooms have never been known for being a bastion of cleanliness, but now researchers are finding that the coronavirus can be found in feces for up to 30 days after a person recovers from COVID-19, WSB-TV reports. How does this affect you? Well, according the president of the American Restroom Association, when you flush a public toilet, which almost never has a lid, it shoots up a water plume that can contain fecal matter. The ARA president told WSB-TV that no COVID-19 cases have been connected to toilet flushing, but it makes single-person restrooms an even more attractive option. Otherwise, the usual advice applies: wash your hands, and don’t touch your face. [WSB-TV]

• The temporary hospital at GWCC—constructed in mid-April to hold non-critical COVID-19 patients—is wrapping up. Only 17 patients were treated at the 200-bed facility, with the last patient discharged on Tuesday. Rather than being dismantled immediately, the hospital space will sit “dormant” for the next few weeks, just in case it’s needed, the AJC reports. [AJC]

• The city of Tucker will pass out 500 free masks today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rehoboth Baptist Church and 500 more masks on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at NETWorks Cooperative Ministry. [WSB]

• While it’s likely we could see many canceled Fourth of July celebrations, the city of Kennesaw has announced it will postpone its Salute to America, originally scheduled for July 3, to September 12. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, May 20

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Atlanta Medical Center on May 12

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, hospitalizations for COVID-19 reached their lowest level since early April. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 38,889 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,684 people have died. 402,940 tests have been conducted. A total of 7,089 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The amount of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped 34 percent since the beginning on the month, Governor Brian Kemp announced on Tuesday. Data from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency shows that 986 Georgians were currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of 1 p.m. yesterday, the lowest amount since the agency began tracking hospitalizations on April 8. The news is certainly promising, but as the AJC notes, it doesn’t necessarily mean new coronavirus cases are down. “There is about a two week lag between when a person is infected, shows symptoms, is admitted to the hospital, gets tested and receives the results,” the AJC says. Says the governor in his press release: “Our hospitalization numbers continue to show encouraging signs in our fight against COVID-19, but we must remain vigilant in our efforts to combat this virus. I continue to ask Georgians to practice social distancing, follow the advice of public health officials, and protect the elderly and medically fragile.” [Office of the Governor/AJC]

• Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has extended an administrative order that allows restaurants to sell unopened wine and “malt beverages” (which includes beer and cocktails) to go. The order now lasts through June 30. [AJC]

• Beginning today, poling sites in Fulton County will begin opening two hours earlier—at 7 a.m.—to help reduce morning lines and wait times. The county election board held an emergency meeting on Tuesday morning after poll workers reported long lines on Monday. The longest lines were reported at the C.T. Martin Recreation Center and South Fulton Service Center, both of which will be expanding their voting area into larger spaces today. The Alpharetta Library will add more space tomorrow, and extra voting machines will be added at Garden Hills Elementary and Sandy Springs Library. [AJC]

• Wellstar Health System is furloughing 1,070 employees, or about 4.4 percent of its workers, 11 Alive reports. They are also temporarily reducing hours for more than 1,800 employees. While medical workers are fighting COVID-19, medical systems across the country are losing money due to a the lack of patients coming in for other procedures. Wellstar says they expect patient volume to return to nearly normal by the end of the year. [11 Alive]

• The Canteen—the Midtown food hall home to Fred’s Meat and Bread, Yalla, TGM Soup Co., and Square Bar—has closed for good due to the pandemic. Owner Jennifer Johnson told Eater Atlanta that the business relied on foot traffic from Georgia Tech and Tech Square. Johnson said she and the restaurant’s partners (chef Todd Ginsberg, Ben Johnson, and Shelley Sweet) tried to get the building’s landlord to agree to some form of rent relief (the partners owed nearly $20,000 in rent for April and May) but were unsuccessful. [Eater Atlanta]

• Some heartwarming news—a few weeks ago the AJC published a story, written by Matt Kempner, on Cato Shoe Repair in Buckhead, a small business owned by elderly couple Joe and Hattie Jordan. The story illustrated how COVID-19 had decimated their business and the couple’s concerns for its survival. But since the story’s publication, Joe Jordan says they have received $20,000 in donations, including a $10,000 donation from one donor whose mother frequented the shop. Jordan says the money will cover the business’s back rent and utility bills. [AJC]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Tuesday, May 19

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A flight attendant works during a Delta flight on April 20.

Photograph by Rob Carr/Getty Images

On Monday, Morehouse College announced layoffs and furloughs and Delta announced it would resume some international routes. Here’s your Tuesday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 38,624 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,649 people have died. 378,156 tests have been conducted. A total of 7,002 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Georgia’s first day of early voting saw a light but steady turnout of voters, GPB News reports, with just a few hiccups involving the state’s new touchscreen machines, including one voter accidentally causing a paper jam by removing their paper ballot too soon. Poll workers wore masks, and voters kept six feet apart in lines. The voters interviewed by GPB News reported the early voting process as a fairly quick one, taking 10 to 30 minutes from start to finish. [GPB News]

• Morehouse College has announced furloughs and layoffs in preparation for what they estimate could be a 25 percent decline in enrollment, 11 Alive reports. The HBCU announced that 54 employees will be furloughed for two months, 13 full-time employees will be laid off, and 194 exempt full-time employees will undergo pay cuts, as will faculty and staff who make more than $55,000. President David A. Thomas will decrease his salary by 25 percent. [11 Alive]

• DeKalb County is opening two new COVID-19 testing sites on Wednesday, located at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church (2340 Clifton Springs Road) and Rehoboth Baptist Church (2997 Lawrenceville Highway). Both sites are located in areas that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Testing is free, and patients should register for an appointment here or by calling 404-294-3700. [AJC]

• Delta is planning to resume several of its international routes next month, with destinations including Aruba; Jamaica; Cancun, Mexico; Costa Rica; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Lagos, Nigeria, among several others. [AJC]

• Atlanta-based New York Times writer Kim Severson dined at Chops recently and shared not only what her experience was like (very positive), but also examined how masks are transforming the hospitality industry. “The face mask is the most ubiquitous, and perhaps divisive, tool in an arsenal of protective measures,” Severson writes. “For some diners, seeing staff members wearing masks is a comfort. For others, the masks provoke anxiety.” Her story takes a thorough look at the changes happening at restaurants—both high-end and fast-food—across the country, including here in Atlanta at Chops, Lyla Lila, and Goldbergs. [New York Times]

• Speaking of restaurant changes, the White Bull in Decatur has announced it will renovate due to COVID-19, adding a back patio, new windows in the front, and a retail section to continue selling the pastas and sauces it began selling as a result of the pandemic. Takeout and delivery will also become permanent services. [Eater Atlanta]

What Now Atlanta reports that retailer Jeffrey has permanently closed at Phipps Plaza after 30 years. Nordstrom, which announced bankruptcy filings this month, bought the Atlanta-based shop in 2005. [What Now Atlanta]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Monday, May 18

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A bottle of hand sanitizer is seen at the hostess stand of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar as it reopened for dine-in seating on April 27 in Decatur.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over the weekend, new re-openings were announced and Atlanta United earned another championship win. Here’s your Monday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 37,910 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,612 people have died. 364,289 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,864 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Early voting for Georgia’s June 9 primary begins today, and many polling locations are closed, due in part to a shortage of poll workers. (Many poll workers are over 60 and at a greater risk for COVID-19.) In Fulton County, polling locations within senior centers are closed, as are many library locations and the Fulton County Government Center. In DeKalb County, the First Baptist Church Decatur is closed, as is the Brookhaven-Briarwood Recreation Center and North DeKalb Senior Center in Chamblee. GPB News has a map here of which polling locations are open and which are closed. Most locations are also limiting the amount of people who can be inside at one time and the number of voting machines available, so please be patient at the polls. [GPB News]

• Chamblee’s city council held an in-person meeting on Thursday, where chairs were spaced 10-feet apart and temperatures were taken. Unfortunately, one meeting attendee, who was asymptomatic at the time, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. (The AJC reports that the person wore a mask and stayed six feet from others during the meeting.) The city council and Chamblee’s mayor are now self-isolating for two weeks, and the civic center will be closed for 10 days. [AJC]

• L.A. Fitness locations will begin re-opening this Friday as part of a “preview period,” meaning members will not be billed until June 1. Spas and saunas, basketball courts, and the Kids Klub will remain closed until June 1. [WSB-TV]

• Goodwill stores, which re-opened all of its stores on Wednesday but quickly paused donation drop-off after being “overwhelmed with the generosity of our donors,” are once again accepting donations at all of their locations. Stores are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are practicing contactless donation drop-off—just pop the trunk and an employee will collect your donations and leave a receipt. (Be sure to clearly label your donations.) Alternately, customers can place their donations in a designated area outside the store and pick up a receipt there. [Goodwill of North Georgia]

• Atlanta United was crowned the winner of the eMLS Tournament Special, a FIFA 2020 competition held to entertain fans while MLS games are still suspended. Each team was represented by an MLS and eMLS player—for Atlanta, that was Franco Escobar and Paulo Neto. And, of course, club president Darren Eales posted his signature photo upon Atlanta’s victory. [ATLUTD press release]

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Saturday, May 16

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Patrons at Historic Fourth Ward Park last weekend

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Friday, the Atlanta open was canceled and more businesses began to re-open. Here’s your Saturday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 37,078 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,588 people have died. 321,069 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,567 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Let’s talk about lag—on Friday, Slate published a story about the 14-day window that appears on end of the “COVID-19 Cases Over Time” graph on the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard. As the state’s website says, “Confirmed cases over the last 14 days may not be accounted for due to illnesses yet to be reported or test results may still be pending”—for example, at publication time of this article, the graph shows only 1 positive COVID-19 case for today, a number that will certainly change. The Slate article used graphs to illustrate just how much those unconfirmed numbers can change by using a chart of the 14-day predicted period ending April 29—on April 29 itself, the chart appeared to show cases in Georgia declining during that 14 day period. But two weeks later on May 13, once the data was confirmed, you can see cases during that same time period were actually plateauing.


For businesses owners and residents alike, the lag can be frustrating, as there isn’t a clear way to see how cases are trending right now as opposed to two weeks ago. The article suggests, “One way to deal with this could be to try to compare gaps in reported cases vs. final totals after reporting windows have passed. Such information could guide hindsight casting and provide improved estimates of real-time cases during reporting windows.”

Ultimately, it’s important to know how to read whatever data set you’re looking at. If you’re looking at the state dashboard, you need to be mindful of the 14-day lag. The numbers for May 3, which are still preliminary, will probably not change a ton at this point, but the numbers for May 15 and 16 certainly will. [Slate]

• Pop-up testing will take place today at Home Depot Backyard (next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium) from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. You can register on-site, but advance registration is recommended here. [AJC]

• The Truist Atlanta Open tennis tournament (formerly known as the BB&T Atlanta Open) has been officially canceled. It was originally set to be held from July 25 to August 2 at Atlantic Station. [AJC]

• Following United and the Hawks, the Atlanta Falcons are set to return to their training facility on Tuesday. [AJC]

• Several YMCA facilities have re-opened, including East Lake, Carl E. Sanders (Moores Mill Road), Northeast Cobb, and Northwest Family (Kennesaw). WSB-TV has a list here. [WSB-TV]

• The list of restaurants opening for dine-in (or at least patio dine-in) continues to grow. Among the recent additions are Aria, Cafe Intermezzo, Chat Patti, D92 Korean BBQ, and Superica. Eater Atlanta is keeping a full list here. [Eater Atlanta]

• If you’re still not comfortable with dine-in, we’ve also rounded up those on our 75 Best Restaurants list who are offering takeout and delivery—50 in total. Ordering takeout from some of your old favorites can be way to revive fond memories and keep traditions alive. It can also help you form new memories, as our deputy editor Mara Shalhoup writes in her essay about ordering takeout for the past two months. A short excerpt below:

Of all the times I’ve walked up to Gato’s front door, though, none were like my visit on a Saturday in late April, when the front door was blocked by a metal patio table offering industrial-strength hand sanitizer, and my order of a breakfast burrito, huevos ranchero, and pancakes was deposited there for me. Stinson also hand-delivered a ziplock bag packed with the pound of his fresh masa that I’d ordered, which I pressed into tortillas at home in an attempt to recapture some of the magic of eating at Gato. It actually worked.

Many diners feel a pang of sadness when gazing upon the dining rooms, now empty, that have populated their memories. I’ve felt those pangs, too, a little, but mostly I’ve found comfort in peering into these hollowed spaces. Unlike most other ghosts, these are ones that, with enough sheer will (on the part of the people who run them, those who frequented them, and, hopefully, the organizations and governmental agencies that will step up aid), can slowly materialize, solidifying again into their former selves. (Keep reading.)

Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, May 15

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A customer dines at J. Christopher’s in Brookhaven on April 27. Even with businesses re-opening, Georgia’s total unemployment rate continues to climb.

Photograph by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

On Thursday, Georgia’s unemployment rate continued to rise and Zoo Atlanta announced its re-opening. Here’s your Friday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 36,554 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,548 people have died. 301,874 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,381 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The Georgia Department of Labor processed 242,772 unemployment claims last week, bringing the total claims since the beginning of March to 1,849,382, or 37 percent of the state’s pre-pandemic workforce, the AJC reports. The national average is 22 percent. “The crush of applications for jobless benefits seemed largely unaffected by the state’s tentative efforts to open up the economy,” the AJC notes. Earlier this week, labor commissioner Mark Butler told us that Georgia’s higher-than-average claim rate might be due to the fact that Georgia is actually processing claims faster than other states. “For example, we’ve got Florida to the south of us. I think last week, out of all the claims they’d received, they’d only processed 12 percent,” Butler said. “That means they’ve gotten [the claim] in their system and it’s starting to move. By this time last week, we were at 80 percent of the claims that we’d gotten in, processed, and started paying out. Obviously, a lot of people still haven’t been paid.” [AJC/Atlanta]

In our interview, Butler also answered several of your reader-submitted questions about unemployment claims, including how to apply for PUA, how much employees can earn each week and still receive benefits, what happen if your employer re-opens but you aren’t comfortable going back, and more. Read the full story here.

• The latest COVID-19 spike in Hall County is concerning DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. Even though the two counties are 40 miles away, several DeKalb county residents work in Gainsville’s chicken plants. Refugees in Clarkston are among the many who work at the plants, and a Clarkston physician told the AJC that language barriers and cramped living spaces don’t help the situation. As the AJC notes, “Things may cut both ways, of course, with folks from DeKalb contributing to the spread in Hall. Definitive conclusions will be hard to come by.” Says DeKalb’s district health director Dr. Elizabeth Ford, “We’ve been working very closely with Hall County and with (DeKalb’s) Clarkston community to make sure that they understand what precautions they as employees can take, and making sure that we make testing available to them.” [AJC]

The CDC has issued a health advisory about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that has been associated with COVID-19. Symptoms present similar to Kawasaki syndrome—another rare condition that usually impacts children younger than 5 and causes inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries. MIS-C causes fever and inflammation, sometimes presenting as a bright red tongue, red eyes, or cracked lips. One physician at Boston Children’s Hospital told CNN that MIS-C is not caused by the coronavirus itself, but rather is an immune response to COVID-19. [CDC/CNN]

• Zoo Atlanta has announced it will re-open this weekend, and like the Atlanta Botanical Garden, it will rely on timed tickets to keep tabs on capacity. Tickets can only be purchased online in advance, and the zoo will be cashless. Visitors are encouraged to use maps on their cell phones, as paper maps will no longer be distributed. Buildings will also be closed with the exception of restrooms. Food will be available for purchase from outdoor kiosks. Masks are strongly encouraged. [WSB-TV]

• Beginning Saturday, Publix is changing its store hours to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will no longer restrict the 7 a.m. hour to seniors and those with underlying conditions. It does encourage those shoppers to still visit during that time, as it’s generally less crowded. Pharmacies will also return to regular hours. [Publix]

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