On Monday, Georgia DPH revamped its coronavirus data dashboard and restaurants began opening dining rooms. Here’s your Tuesday morning update:
• As of publication time, there are now 24,447 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 996 people have died. 4,752 have been hospitalized. 127,169 tests have been conducted. [GA Dept. of Public Health]
• The state has revamped its official data reporting website with a much more user-friendly and easier-to-read layout. Data will also now be updated throughout the day, with the exception of the number of total tests, which will continue to be updated twice daily. There are also new charts and descriptions explaining the data collection for those charts. For example, one chart shows the state’s COVID-19 cases tracked over time. It includes new cases plotted daily and a 7-day moving average, which does show new cases appearing to begin a downward trend. However, these numbers aren’t yet confirmed—the chart’s disclaimer notes “confirmed cases over the last 14 days accounted for due to illnesses yet to be reported or test results may still be pending . . . Data during the reporting period may be incomplete due to the lag in time between when the case was tested and/or reported and submitted to the Georgia DPH for reporting purposes.” Low testing also impacts data accuracy.
• At a press conference Monday afternoon, state public health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said the state’s coronavirus data did not meet the “full gating criteria” for beginning phase one of the federal plan, but did say the data was reaching a plateau and that the decision to re-open Georgia was based on more than just data. She and Governor Brian Kemp also urged Georgians with coronavirus symptoms to get tested for COVID-19, stressing efforts to ramp up testing. [AJC]
• Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms appeared on The Daily Social Distancing Show last night—a.k.a the filmed-at-home version of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Bottoms reiterated her disagreement with Governor Brian Kemp on re-opening Georgia. “Bowling alleys, movie theaters, there’s nothing essential about those businesses,” Bottoms said. “I understand there’s a huge economic strain on so many business owners, and that’s very real, but we’re balancing that and life, literally.” Bottoms pointed out that in communities of color, already shown to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19, there are barbershops or hair salons “on every single corner,” and cited an article that said Southern states will be hit especially hard due to poverty and underlying health conditions. “We will know in the next two to four weeks if this social-slash-health experiment was a brilliant idea or if it was the absolute worst thing that could have happened,” Bottoms said.
• More data: Fulton County has released another handout that shows the amount of cases in each city, with Atlanta and South Fulton reporting the most. The document also contains a map of cases by census tract. If you’re not sure which census tract you live in, you can use this map as a cross reference. [Twitter]
• Despite controversy over whether it was too soon to begin dine-in service at restaurants, some in metro Atlanta, including Waffle House, did open their doors and begin serving customers. According to the AJC, C&S Seafood & Oyster Bar in Vinings had 40 dinner reservations, while Roswell’s 1920 Tavern was “fully booked for dinner service.” Restaurants have to follow a set of nearly 40 safety guidelines under the governor’s executive order. Meanwhile, more than 50 restaurant owners from Atlanta and Savannah, collectively calling themselves #GAHospitalityTogether, are taking out a full-page ad in today’s AJC that explains why their restaurants will stay closed for now. Among those restaurants: Antico, Brick Store Pub, Ticonderoga Club, Staplehouse, Lazy Betty, Rumi’s Kitchen, Taqueria del Sol, and many more. [AJC 1/AJC 2]
Under the #GAHospitalityTogether banner, owners of more than 50 restaurants took out an @ajc ad to explain why they aren’t reopening. “Recognizing that each operator faces incredibly difficult decisions on the path ahead, we affirm the fact that public safety is the top priority” pic.twitter.com/IampvHMFxl
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) April 28, 2020
• In Alpharetta, Avalon appears to be preparing for the eventual re-opening of businesses and has released new safety guidelines for its development, among them: one-way sidewalks, floor decals indicating proper line spacing, separating furniture in common areas and marking off six-foot spaces, installing dividers at all standing bars, new foot-operated door openers at the dog park, and sanitizing cars after valet services. [Avalon]
• Local furniture chain Havertys says it will re-open 108 stores nationwide on Friday, but it is laying off 1,200 employees—a third of its staff that—who were previously furloughed. 730 employees will continue to be furloughed, as the stores will have reduced hours with fewer staffers. [AJC]