Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, March 26

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

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MARTA
MARTA announced it will reduce rail and bus services beginning Monday, March 30.

Photograph by Marilyn Nieves via Getty Images

On Wednesday, more cities issued shelter in place orders, MARTA announced plans to reduce service, and Midtown cheered for healthcare workers. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• There are now 1,387 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 47 people have died. 483 have been hospitalized. 6,179 people have been tested. Wednesday marked the first time the health department released hospitalization numbers. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Unfortunately, as the AJC points out, that “tested” figure is still far too low. Our neighbors in North Carolina (more than 10,000) and Tennessee (more than 11,000) have done far more. “The scarcity of testing kits comes amid fresh indications that Georgia’s test reporting is days if not a week or more behind an accurate count of infections,” the AJC reported, meaning the amount of positive cases in Georgia is likely much higher than the nearly 1,400 reported. [AJC]

Doraville and College Park are the latest metro Atlanta cities to issue a shelter in place order. Lawrenceville and Duluth have now closed restaurants for dining in, gyms, playgrounds, and theaters, among other businesses. [City governments]

• Governor Brian Kemp will host a town hall broadcast at 8 p.m. that will air live locally on GPB, WSBTV, Fox 5, 11Alive, CBS 46, Univision, and Telemundo, as well as across the state. The meeting will also feature Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Dr. Kathleen Toomey of the Georgia Department of Health, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Homer Bryson, and Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King (each broadcasting from a separate location). The questions will come from journalists “based on submissions from the public,” according to the governor’s office. [Office of the Governor]

• MARTA will begin reducing bus and rail service on Monday, citing low ridership and revenue, along with a desire to better protect employees and customers. Bus service will be reduced by 30 percent, with most routes seeing fewer buses. The routes with the heaviest ridership (15, 39, 5, 121, 196, 73, 110, 78, 83, and 89) will actually have more buses added to encourage better social distancing while riding. Rail service will operate on weekend scheduling, with the exception of regular weekday start time. Red and gold trains will go to the airport and green trains will turn around at King Memorial. Mercedes-Benz Stadium/State Farm Arena/GWCC Station will be closed. [MARTA]

• The AJC’s Jim Galloway posted the PowerPoint presentation that Emory’s Dr. Carlos del Rio used in his presentation to the Georgia Municipal Association on Tuesday. In it, del Rio presents a lot of information about the virus and the benefits of social distancing, noting that, “This is going to be long (3-4 months) and there will be significant pain.” His final conclusion was, “This too shall pass, how long it lasts is really up to us.” [AJC]

• In Cobb County, medical device sterilization plant Sterigenics, which was closed last year after it was found to have been releasing carcinogenic ethylene oxide into the air, will be allowed to temporarily re-open to help with coronavirus efforts. The amount of ethylene oxide allowed onsite will be restricted, Georgia Health News reports. [GHN]

• A fifth state senator, Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), has tested positive for coronavirus. [AJC]

• King of Pops celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and while they’d originally planned a party and giveaways before the pandemic, they’re now hoping to give away 10,000 pops to healthcare workers. Read what co-owner Steven Carse told us here.

• Our third in a series of recipes to make while social distancing—Chai Pani’s Meherwan Irani shares not only a recipe for Indian comfort food dish khichdi, but also this reminder. “Everything we’re doing right now, while extremely hard in the moment, will ensure that we will make it through this,” he said. “And when things get better as they inevitably will, we’ll rebuild, repair, recover, and renew.”

• What to watch while social distancing: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will broadcast its 2019 Joshua Bell concert on Facebook Live at noon. [Twitter]

• All week, residents in Midtown have been taking to their windows promptly at 8 p.m. to cheer on healthcare workers. [Twitter]

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