Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Saturday, March 28

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

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Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail—the popular recreation site has been a point of controversy as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta BeltLine

On Friday, more stay at home orders were issued and the Hawks teamed up with two Atlanta restaurants to feed healthcare workers. Here’s your Saturday morning update:

• There are now 2,198 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 65 people have died. 607 have been hospitalized. 9,865 people have been tested. Last Saturday when we published this roundup, there were 485 cases and 14 deaths. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• The numbers above, of course, aren’t the only cases in the state, as limited testing availability means that, in general, only the sickest are getting tested. Our former editor-in-chief Rebecca Burns, who now lives in Athens, illustrated this in an essay she wrote for us after she developed what could very likely be COVID-19 after a trip to Austria. Although she had a previous medical condition and had traveled internationally, even at the emergency room, her symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant a test. Even if they don’t change the course of treatment for individual patients, tests are essential to understanding how bad the epidemic truly is in our state and how to proceed in tracking and containing the spread of the virus. Read her essay here.

DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties officially issued stay at home orders, as did Union City. Gwinnett’s order also covers the county’s cities, including Duluth and Lawrenceville. Meanwhile in Atlanta, the mayor has re-issued her order, clarifying that landscaping, print shops, package stores, bike shops, and insurance offices can continue operating. [DeKalb County/Gwinnett County/Union City/City of Atlanta]

• The Archdiocese of Atlanta has instructed parishes to continue suspending masses through April 16, which is a week after Easter Sunday. [AJC]

• While Fulton County might still have the most cases and deaths from COVID-19, in Dougherty County, the city of Albany is doing much, much worse. The New York Times reports that Albany is the 4th highest in the world for confirmed COVID-19 cases per 1,000 people by metro area, behind only New York, Italy’s Lombardy region, and Wuhan, China. When the New York Times ran the data on March 26, Atlanta (the greater metro area in this instance) has 952 cases for its 5.9 million residents, and Albany has 206 cases for its population of 153,000. That’s 1.3 cases for every 1,000 residents, versus 0.2 cases for every 1,000 metro Atlantans. And when it comes to deaths, Albany is currently 3rd worldwide for deaths per 1,000 residents, behind Wuhan and Lombardy. [NYT]

The AJC illustrated the scene in Albany in a story Friday: “Its main hospital is so overrun with sick and dying patients that nurses had been told to keep working even if they tested positive themselves, and the administration turned to the underground market to try to find essential supplies.” Keep reading here. [AJC]

• Whether or not the Atlanta BeltLine, particularly the popular Eastside Trail, should be open as the rest of Atlanta shelters in place has been a hot topic for debate this past week. Atlantans continued to flock to the trail as the weather turns nicer, and the BeltLine responded by installing signage asking travelers to keep 6 feet apart and not congregate on the trail. In an interview with Curbed Atlanta a few days ago, BeltLine CEO and President Clyde Higgs stressed his desire to keep the BeltLine open to serve its original purpose—as a transportation corridor. Now, new signs are going up on the BeltLine stressing that it is to be used as a transportation route only, asking patrons to go home, keep moving, avoid peak hours, and reminding them that “social distancing is not a joke.” [Curbed Atlanta/WSBTV]

• The Atlanta Hawks are working with Miller Union and Forza Storico to provide free meals to healthcare workers at six Emory hospitals. The program, funded by the Hawks Foundation and State Farm, will allow the two restaurants to keep some employees working and on payroll. The meal deliveries are expected to last four weeks and a press release says the program is “expected to be expanded in the near future.” [Atlanta Hawks]

• Miller Union’s chef and owner Steven Satterfield is also working with a grassroots group—the Independent Restaurant Coalition—that is asking lawmakers to ensure the protection of the 11 million nationwide who work in the restaurant industry. [IRC]

• It’s finally the weekend, but even though you can’t go to the theater or to a museum, several metro Atlanta institutions are hosting online performances and classes to keep folks entertained. We rounded up several here.

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