Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Wednesday, April 29

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

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Lenox Square sits closed on March 20.

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Simon announced it would re-open malls in the metro area later this week. Here’s your Wednesday morning update:

• As of publication time, there are now 25,159 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. 1,043 people have died. 4,921 have been hospitalized. 140,223 tests have been conducted. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• Georgia continues to expand coronavirus testing, with about 13,000 tests recorded by the state health department on Monday, the largest single-day increase of that data according to Governor Brian Kemp. WSB-TV also reports that sites operated by Augusta University Health and the Georgia National Guard will begin offering tests to asymptomatic essential workers beyond already eligible healthcare workers and first responders, including utility workers, grocery store employees, and food plant employees. [Office of the Governor/WSB-TV]

• The Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC are beginning random antibody testing in Fulton and DeKalb county. Through May 4, workers are vising randomly selected homes and asking the residents questions about their recent health and for a blood sample that will be used in a COVID-19 antibody test. Antibodies determine if someone previously had COVID-19. Says the CDC, “The results of these studies will allow us to estimate how many people have been infected nationally. The results will also provide information about the percentage of U.S. residents who have not had COVID-19 and are still at risk for infection.” Participation in the program is completely voluntary. [Georgia DPH]

• Mall chain Simon Property Group, which owns Lenox Square among other metro area malls, said in an internal corporate memo it would begin re-opening 49 of its malls (with limited hours) as early as Friday. (Lenox GM Robin Suggs confirmed to the AJC that the mall and other Simon malls in metro Atlanta—Mall of Georgia, North Georgia Premium Outlets, Phipps Plaza, Sugarloaf Mills, and Town Center at Cobb—would open Friday.) The memo said malls would provide temperature testing, as well as masks and hand sanitizer for shoppers upon request. Employees would be required to wear masks. Even if the malls themselves re-open, individual retailers have their own policies, so it’s not clear how many stores would be open right away. Beyond the Simon properties, the AJC also reports that Greenbriar Mall will re-open Friday, as will Arbor Place in Douglasville. Ponce City Market reportedly plans to open in mid-May. [CNBC/AJC]

• The CDC is extending its social distancing guidelines to include pets. Pet owners are advised to keep their animals away from other pets and people who do not live in their household and are advised to avoid their pets if they become sick. [11 Alive]

• The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs conducted an online poll with 1,233 registered Georgia voters to gauge their reactions to the state’s coronavirus response. Half of the respondents support the shelter-in-place order, with another 25 percent somewhat supporting it. 62 percent disagreed with Governor Kemp’s decision to re-open businesses this past week. 44 percent said that the state’s actions to contain the virus were appropriate, 41 percent say not enough action has been taken, and 15 percent say the state has gone too far. [AJC]

• Jenna Cao, owner of Chateau de Nails in Alpharetta, penned an op-ed for the New York Times on her decision to re-open her nail salon. “To be clear, I’m still scared. But I have decided to open with limited, reservation-only hours, approving appointments only with clientele that my staff personally know and trust,” Cao wrote, saying that she and her staff were going “above and beyond” the safety guidelines required by the state. “I don’t blame other shop owners who are waiting to see how this partial reopening goes before opening themselves. But I’m one of many Georgians easing back into work because we know that if we don’t our business might not come back and our staff would probably go broke. I’ve been having nightmares about it.” [New York Times]

• Brookhaven’s mayor signed an executive order that will allow restaurants to set up tents in parking lots for the next 90 days to provide temporary outdoor seating. [AJC]

• The Atlanta Jazz Festival, originally planned to occur on Memorial Day weekend, has been indefinitely postponed. [AJF]

• The New Yorker magazine posted a video of what life in Atlanta has looked like under the shelter-in-place order. [New Yorker]

• Skywriting, cute scavenger hunts, and colorful banners—for today’s feel-good story, check out our story on the many ways Atlantans are encouraging each other from a distance.