Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, May 14

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

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Medical workers conduct COVID-19 tests at a church in New York City. Locally, COVID-19 testing will now be available at Passion City Church, Fulton County has announced.

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Wednesday, new COVID-19 testing sites opened and many companies are changing their policies in light of the pandemic. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• As of publication time, a total of 35,793 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia. 1,523 people have died. 285,881 tests have been conducted. A total of 6,320 of those tested were hospitalized at the time. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Fulton County has opened two more walk-up testing sites: one at Center for Health and Rehabilitation (265 Boulevard) and one at Passion City Church (515 Garson Drive). Call the county COVID-19 hotline, 404-613-8150, to schedule an appointment. You don’t need to have symptoms, and neither a physician referral nor insurance is required. [AJC]

• If you’re active on Twitter, you might have seen several people sharing a chart from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard that seemed to show coronavirus case rates falling in several counties, but in fact, the dates on the x-axis were all out of order. State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) even sent a concerned letter to the governor’s office regarding the chart. The chart’s x-axis has since been fixed, and the governor’s spokesperson issued an apology, but it was just the latest in complaints about how the state presents its COVID-19 data. The state has changed the way it reports data several times—as the AJC notes in detail in this story—and constant change leads to confusion and mistrust. (The AJC has its own dashboard here with disclaimers on how they choose to log and report the raw state data.) The problem isn’t a solely Georgia one; CityLab recently did a story on inconsistencies in data reporting across the county. The independent COVID-19 Tracking Project actually gives the state an A+ rating for how well it reports its data, based on a number of criteria. [AJC/CityLab/COVID-19 Tracking Project]

• A new study from Morehouse School of Medicine found that COVID-19 cases are higher in black communities even when accounting for factors such as poverty, population density, and access to health insurance. [AJC]

• Following Brookhaven, Dunwoody is now offering its restaurants temporary outdoor dining permits that allow restaurants to turn their parking lots and other common areas into outdoor seating. [Eater Atlanta]

• The Atlanta Botanical Garden will re-open for its members on May 18 and to the public on May 23. Only a certain number of guests will be admitted every 15 minutes, so it’s best to purchase a timed ticket online in advance. (Walk-ups are not guaranteed entry.) Some spaces within the park will remain closed, and while masks are strongly encouraged at the garden, they will be required inside restrooms and the cafe. Read a detailed FAQ here. [Atlanta Botanical Garden]

• Marietta Square Market will re-open all of its restaurants on Friday and open its patio space for dine-in. [Facebook]

• As Six Flags prepares to re-open (a date for which has not yet been announced), the park has set guidelines for a new reservation system to keep an eye on park attendance levels. All ticket-holders must select a date and time they wish to visit and watch a safety video. [CBS46]

• Uber is also changing their operating guidelines—CNN reports that drivers will be required to take selfies in the app showing that they are wearing face masks, and passengers, too, will be asked in the app to confirm they are wearing a mask, but their response will be essentially on the honor system with no photograph required. If an Uber driver shows up maskless, riders can cancel the ride with no penalties, the company says. [CNN]