Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Friday, May 22

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

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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]

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