Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Sunday, August 2

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

Atlanta coronavirus COVID-19 updates
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Decatur on April 27

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In early June, we paused our daily coronavirus updates. However, we will continue to provide updates weekly. Here’s what you need to know right now.

• As of publication time, a total of 193,117 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 3,840 people have died. 1.6 million viral tests have been conducted, and 10.9 percent of those have been positive. 3,095 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. [GA Dept. of Public Health/GEMA]

• The state made some upgrades and changes to its data dashboard this week. While it still has its longtime graph of cases by date of symptom onset, it also now has a graph showing cases by date reported. (The AJC and other outlets have long published this graph.) There are also new maps showing the amount of cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Governor Brian Kemp this week withdrew a motion for an emergency hearing in his lawsuit against the city and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Kemp’s office sent a statement saying that they were pleased with the mayor’s assertion that the city’s “phase one” guidelines—one of the items the lawsuit attacked, in addition to the mayor’s mask order—were only recommendations, not requirements. The lawsuit has not yet been settled. [11 Alive]

• The governor this week also extended Georgia’s state of emergency though September 10, with the state’s current coronavirus restrictions (think no gatherings of more than 50 people and a shelter-in-place order for the elderly and those with underlying conditions) through August 15. [11 Alive]

• Hospitals are feeling the strain of the state’s rise in COVID-19 cases, which since late June have remained significantly higher than the state’s previous case peak in April. Grady Memorial Hospital has been operating at 105 percent capacity (meaning some inpatients are treated in the ER) and is starting to cancel elective surgeries, according to CEO John Haupert. Emory Healthcare reports that the amount of COVID-19 patients across its 11 hospitals jumped 375 percent in July. And all of the ICU beds in the 12-county area that serves Athens are full. Statewide, GEMA reports that 21 percent of general inpatient beds are available, along with 14 percent of critical care beds and 48 percent of ER beds. [WABE/Fox 5/AJC/GEMA]

• The temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center will open on Monday, with 60 available beds that can be increased to 120 beds if necessary. [WABE]

• Former presidential candidate and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early July, has died from the disease at age 74. Read his full obituary at the AJC. [AJC]

• On Thursday, the Atlanta Police Department announced they would no longer respond to car accidents where there are no injuries, citing COVID-19 spread as the reason. Instead, drivers are asked to fill out a a SR-13 form, which the AJC notes is used for accidents on private property. An APD spokesperson told the AJC that the change is temporary and that other cities (like Louisville, Kentucky) had also made the switch due to COVID-19. The AJC also says that if a driver calls and insists that an officer arrive to the scene of a non-injury accident, they can be requested. [AJC]

• A CDC report found that 260 cases of COVID-19 could be tied back to the YMCA’s Camp High Harbour in North Georgia in June. The study that said campers did not wear masks (staff did) and three-quarters of the 344 campers and staff they were able to obtain test results for did test positive for COVID-19. The CDC says the report shows that “children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports might play an important role in transmission.” Many see the report as a warning as schools around the country debate whether or not to reopen for in-person learning. [AJC]

• Despite all the drama over masks, the AJC found that people going to metro Atlanta retailers where masks are required, including Publix, Kroger, Walmart, and Home Depot, are largely wearing them. The AJC visited five of these stores in Gwinnett County this week and tallied 100 customers in each store. 93 percent were wearing masks. The AJC did a similar study three weeks ago and found 80 percent were wearing masks. [AJC]

• Smaller metro Atlanta cities, including College Park and Union City, say they need federal assistance in order to survive. The loss of income from hotel tax has been a huge hit for these cities, and the mayors are asking for help from the second round of the CARES Act. Previously, only 36 cities nationwide, including the City of Atlanta, received CARES funding. [WSB-TV]

• Atlanta institution the Colonnade, which had been closed since March, is now open for dine-in and takeout. [Eater Atlanta]