Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, March 19

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

Atlanta coronavirus updates
A sign is visible outside of Jim R. Miller Park during the first day of drive-thru coronavirus testing on March 18 in Marietta. The site is not open to the public, and those being tested for COVID-19 must have referrals from health officials.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Wednesday, a state senator tested positive for COVID-19, South Fulton implemented a curfew, and metro malls shuttered. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• There are now 197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Three more Georgians have died from COVID-19—two women in Albany, aged 42 and 69 respectively, both of whom had underlying medical conditions, and an Emory Healthcare patient. [AJC]

• Fulton County has declared a state of emergency. [AJC]

• The City of South Fulton, also now under a state of emergency, has enacted a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for its residents [11Alive]

• State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) has tested positive for coronavirus. According to the AJC, he had a mild fever and cough on Saturday when he was tested, but went to Monday’s special legislative session because he was feeling better. All 236 state lawmakers have been advised to quarantine for the next two weeks. [AJC]

• Where are all the tests? This the question the entire country is asking as nationwide shortages continue. Governor Kemp has mandated tests be rationed in favor of the the elderly (including those in care facilities), those with health conditions, and healthcare workers and others on the “front lines” of the pandemic. A few drive-through testing sites have opened in metro Atlanta, including in Cobb and Clayton counties, but you must have a doctor’s referral to be tested. The AJC noted the Cobb facility had fewer than 50 tests available. [AJC]

• Shaky Knees has been rescheduled to October 16-18, with the Black Keys, Strokes, and Smashing Pumpkins still set to headline. [Twitter]

• Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, originally set for early May, will postpone, but a new date has not yet been set. The Food That Rocks festival in Sandy Springs will also be postponed. [AFWF/Taste of Atlanta]

• All Simon Malls nationwide—including Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza, Sugarloaf Mills, Town Center at Cobb, Mall of Georgia, and others—are closed through March 29. [USA Today]

• In Marietta, a former Radisson Hotel (1175 Parkway Place) is being turned into a quarantine center for COVID-19 patients. [MDJ]

• Following Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s charitable donations yesterday, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is donating $125,000 to charity—$50k each to Atlanta Community Food Bank and Giving Kitchen and $25k to the Salvation Army. [WSBTV]

• Governor Kemp announced the state has received a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This allows Georgia small businesses to apply with the SBA for emergency disaster loans. [Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp]

• With public schools closed, many kids who rely on their school lunch programs are in need of food. Luckily, many programs in the metro area are helping feed children in need, and now APS is sending buses along its middle school routes to deliver food to students. Here’s the full list of drop off spots. [11Alive/APS]

• “You can’t just shut things down,” Governor Kemp said on the radio Wednesday morning when asked about his reluctance to mandate that Georgia businesses, including restaurant dining rooms, temporarily close, stressing that he didn’t want to “overreach” and incite rebellion or do too little. “We’re trying to strike that balance.” Local and national businesses are continuing to voluntarily close. [AJC]

• Kyma’s chef Pano Karatassos has started a GoFundMe for his employees. [Instagram]

• Inman Park restaurant Hampton + Hudson has transformed into a “general store,” selling necessities like paper towels, hand soap, flour, and eggs in addition to dishes from the restaurant like nachos, corned beef ruebens, and hot chicken sliders. [Hampton + Hudson]

• State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta, District 89) is calling on the mayor to enact several measures meant to aid restaurant workers, including closing dining rooms, deferring tax payments, extending business license renewal periods, including making beer and wine available to-go, the latter of which Nguyen said she had contacted the Governor’s office about. [Twitter]

• Are your furbabies keeping you sane? Show them off—the Atlanta Humane Society has started a “Cutest Self-Quarantined Pet Contest” with prizes including hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Netflix subscriptions. [Atlanta Humane]

• R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, signing the refrain from his 33-year-old yet extremely timely hit “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” recorded a video plea to his fans cautioning them to stay home, wash their hands, and be mindful of where they get information. []