Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, April 3

A quick roundup of what's happening in metro Atlanta and what you may have missed

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Atlanta coronavirus updates
The JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead lit up its room lights to spell out this message. Marriott hotels across the country have been lighting up heart shapes with their windows, including downtown’s Marriott Marquis.

Photograph courtesy of Marriott Hotels

On Thursday, the governor released the details of his statewide shelter in place order. Here’s your Friday morning update:

• There are now 5,444 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, which is up 1,327 cases from yesterday morning. 176 people have died, including an 11-year-old boy in DeKalb County, who is now the state’s youngest victim. 1,129 have been hospitalized. 22,957 people have been tested. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The day’s biggest news, of course, is the release of Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order for a statewide shelter in place, which the Office of the Governor posted in full online, along with a condensed FAQ version. The statewide order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. tonight and stays in effect through April 13, is not very different from the order Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms previously issued for Atlanta and similar to orders issued in other metro area counties and cities—and it does now replace those previously issued orders. You can still go to the grocery store, hardware store, or pharmacy, to the doctor/dentist, get takeout or delivery from restaurants, and exercise outside. You can leave your home to care for a relative who needs it. You can leave your house to go to work if you have an essential job. You can even go to the gun store, as the order includes a specific clause that “nothing in this Order shall be construed to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of firearms or ammunition, or any component thereof.”

Essentially, stay home; limit your trips to the store and utilize curbside pickup/delivery; feel free to take a walk but keep six feet apart from others; and know that this is all temporary and for the greater good. [Office of the Governor]

• The Georgia Department of Labor processed 133,820 unemployment claims from March 22 through 28, the highest amount ever processed in one week and an 1,102 percent increase over the week prior. (That week, at 12,140 claims, already outpaced the peak of the Great Recession in 2008-09.) The national jobs report, released this morning, puts national unemployment at 4.4 percent (February was a 50-year record low of 3.5 percent), but that number is based off of mid-March surveying and doesn’t include the most recent dramatic cuts. The April report, released May 8, will be more reflective of the current crisis. [GDOL/CNN]

• With public schools closed for the rest of the year, Fulton County Schools has announced that the last day for seniors will be May 1, and plans are underway for an alternate commencement ceremony. [AJC]

• The University System of Georgia, which includes the University of Georgia, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech, announced that it plans to hold all May and summer semester classes online, with campus operations not returning to normal until the fall semester. [USG]

• Crime rates have dropped across the metro in the past few weeks, and fewer people on the roads have lead to fewer accidents and traffic stops. Shoplifting and car break-ins are also down thanks to shuttered retailers. One of the few things that isn’t down—curfew violations, with violations involving juveniles in March up 460 percent from last year, according to the AJC. [AJC]

• Georgia’s nursing homes and other long-term senior care facilities remain a huge risk. The state health department has confirmed COVID-19 cases at 58 senior care facilities statewide. The worst outbreaks reported are in Albany—the hardest-hit portion of the state—at PruittHealth—Palmyra with 35 cases and seven deaths, and Dawson Health and Rehabilitation in Terrell County (north of Albany), with 16 cases and six deaths, the AJC reports. [AJC]

• Want something fun to do tonight? Marietta’s Galleries on the Square plans to still celebrate First Friday with a virtual First Friday Art Walk at 5 p.m. tonight, which will take viewers on tours through the square’s various art galleries. You can watch online or on Facebook or Instagram. If you can’t make it at 5 p.m., the tour video will be online afterward through April 30. [AJC]

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