On Wednesday, the governor finally gave the long-awaited call to issue a shelter in place order for the entire state. Here’s your Thursday morning update:
• There are now 4,117 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, which is up 631 cases from yesterday morning. 154 people have died (up 52 cases from yesterday morning). 1,013 have been hospitalized. 20,328 people have been tested. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• At a press conference yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp announce plans to issue a statewide shelter in place order, after several cities and counties had issued their own and many medical experts and local leaders called on him to issue such an order. Georgia is among the last states to issue a shelter in place order, which will go into effect on Friday. The exact details of the order haven’t been released yet but Kemp noted that grocery stores will remain open (so please don’t mob them in the next few days) and solo outdoor exercise will be permitted. It will likely be similar to ones enacted in other states and here in Atlanta, but issuing the order sets a precedent that everyone, from small towns to cities, should take social distancing measures seriously.
And it certainly should be taken seriously—the AJC‘s article on Kemp’s announcement cites a model from the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia predicting that “known coronavirus cases in Georgia could range between 8,800 and 32,200 by April 29.” The AJC cites another study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that says 3,000 Georgians could die from COVID-19. (For reference, the national death toll is currently more than 5,000 people.) And in Fulton County, officials predict that 600 residents could die, the AJC also reports.
Kemp also announced at the press conference that the state’s public K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. [AJC]
• Before Kemp announced the statewide order, Fulton County issued a shelter in place order that, similar to Gwinnett County’s order, which warns violators could be charged with a $1,000 fine and/or face up to a year in jail. [Fulton County Board of Health]
• The Cobb County Health Department is calling on big box stores to be better about enforcing social distancing guidelines. Some retailers, including Target, have begun putting marks on the floor to keep customers 6-feet apart at checkout. Other retailers, including Atlanta’s Tower liquor store, are making sure those in lines are separated. Regardless, when you’re out picking up essentials, please be mindful of those around you. [11Alive]
• Meanwhile, at the Fulton County Jail, where 16 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, an expert is calling on jail to release hundreds of inmates to help slow the spread of the virus within the jail. 52 nonviolent offenders have been released so far. [AJC]
• Atlanta Public Schools will not operate next week due to their regularly scheduled spring break, which means that they will also not be providing meal services. However, the system is offering a week’s worth of grocery pickup this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon (while supplies last) at five Atlanta locations. Read more about the pickup here. [APS]
• Kroger is now giving “hero bonuses” to its employees, an additional $2 per hour. Atlanta area stores are also set to begin installing plexiglass barriers between cashiers and customers at checkout. [Kroger]
• The Castellucci Hospitality Group, which owns Double Zero, Cooks & Soldiers, Iberian Pig, and Recess, among other restaurants, is letting customers purchase gift meals for front-line healthcare workers. A meal is $15, and CHG is matching every meal sold. They plan to drop off meals at the end of the week. Meals can be ordered from any CHG restaurant. [CHG]
• In Midtown, 5Church will also be donating lunches to hospitals and fire and police stations and offering meal pickup for those workers at the restaurant. They are asking for donations for the meals here. [5Church]
• Jermaine Dupri will host a virtual 404 Day party on Saturday, livestreaming a DJ set at 4 p.m. on Instagram Live. [11Alive]