Over the weekend, outdoor spaces remained controversial and the state announced plans for more hospital beds. Here’s your Monday morning update:
• There are now 6,742 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 219 people have died. 1,269 have been hospitalized. 27,832 people have been tested. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• Just for a quick comparison of where we are from this time last week, on the morning of March 30 (before the noon data release) the totals were 2,683 confirmed cases, 83 deaths, 678 hospitalized, and 12,564 tested.
• Controversy continues over the Atlanta BeltLine, in particular the Eastside Trail, which many Atlantans have complained has been far too crowded despite shelter in place orders. A Change.org petition to close it has more than 6,500 signatures. The BeltLine, which wants the trail to remain open as a transportation artery, has placed signs along the trail asking people to keep moving, not congregate, and stay six-feet apart. Ryan Gravel urged exercisers to consider other trails to leave the BeltLine open for transportation. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a photo of the trail looking fairly empty on Wednesday, but photographer Ryan Vizzons tweeted photos of a still-crowded trail over the weekend.
• Meanwhile on the coast, the governor’s shelter in place order re-opened any beaches that had previously closed by local orders. The state Department of Natural Resources has banned beach chairs and umbrellas to discourage gatherings, but Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions said in a statement that she was “devastated” about re-opening the beach, having previously closed it due to lack of police resources. Governor Brian Kemp responded by tweeting video of fairly empty Tybee beaches on Saturday, but the AJC also posted a photo gallery of beachgoers at Tybee on Saturday. it remained a hot topic on social media throughout the weekend. [CNN/AJC]
• The Final Four was supposed to be tonight in Atlanta, and at least some of the promotional items created for it have gone to a good cause. The Atlanta Basketball Host Committee announced in a press release that it has donated the 3,200 basketballs and T-shirts made for the Final Four Dribble, a parade where metro Atlanta kids would have dribbled basketballs through the streets of downtown, to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. 1,500 Final Four volunteer uniforms, which included a polo shirt, hat, flashlight, poncho, and plastic drawstring bag, were donated to “19 recreation centers that have modified their schedules to provide meals to students during school closures,” according to the press release.
• The state is preparing to add more than 300 additional hospital beds, including 20-bed mobile units that will be sent to Albany and Rome, and 24-bed unit in Atlanta. Additional beds will be added to Albany’s Phoebe North Campus hospital and Snellville’s HCA Eastside Medical Center. [AJC]
• Delta Air Lines announced several changes to their loyalty programs due to the outbreak, including current medallion status rolling over to next year, extensions to Delta Sky Club memberships, and extensions of some credit card benefits. See the full list here. [Delta]
• For Keeps bookstore in Sweet Auburn, which sells rare and classic black books, has started a $5 membership service on Patreon, which will include access to digitizations from their permanent collection, along with original videos and interviews. [Patreon]
• Migos member Quavo announced that for his 29th birthday, which was April 2, his Quavo Cares Foundation will be partnering with Emory Healthcare and Hawaii-based Ohana One to raise money to donate PPE to healthcare workers. You can donate here—a suggested donation is $10. [Instagram]