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Coronavirus in Georgia: Saturday, March 28 updates

Another 660 people are hospitalized, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health on Saturday afternoon.

This story is an archive of coronavirus news from Saturday, March 28. For updates from March 29 on coronavirus in Georgia, see our newer live story here.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia has grown again. There are now 2,366 confirmed cases, with 69 deaths.* Scroll to read more.

At 11Alive News, our coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit 11alive.com/coronavirus-covid-19  for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about Georgia specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 404-885-7600.

State and federal officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually monitoring the spread of the virus. They are also working hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization to track the spread around the world and to stop it.

We will continue to track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

Key Facts: 

Credit: WXIA

Saturday, March 28

2,446 confirmed cases, 79 deaths

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Georgia has increased by 10 since the noon update from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The agency now confirms 79 deaths in the state - up from 69 at noon. Nine of those deaths were in Dougherty County - a south Georgia location hit extremely hard by the virus. It also has the highest number of deaths related to coronavirus of any in Georgia. The death rate from COVID-19 in Georgia overall now stands at 3.23 percent.

Cases also rose to 2,446 people confirmed to have the virus. The hospitalization rate sits at just under 27 percent - or about one in four people who test positive for COVID-19.

Fulton County still has the highest number of confirmed cases at 378 and the second-highest number of deaths. DeKalb follows with 247 cases, Dougherty with 224, Cobb with 185, Gwinnett with 131 and Bartow with 117.

County-by-county coronavirus case breakdown

Fulton    378
Dekalb    246
Dougherty    224
Cobb    185
Gwinnett    131
Bartow    117
Carroll    64
Clayton    57
Cherokee    54
Henry    50
Lee    39
Clarke    35
Douglas    35
Hall    31
Floyd    27
Fayette    26
Forsyth    22
Coweta    20
Lowndes    20
Paulding    20
Rockdale    17
Early    16
Chatham    15
Mitchell    15
Newton    15
Gordon    14
Bibb    13
Houston    13
Sumter    13
Tift    13
Columbia    12
Richmond    12
Spalding    11
Oconee    10
Polk    10
Terrell    10
Laurens    9
Troup    9
Muscogee    8
Worth    8
Barrow    7
Bryan    7
Coffee    7
Glynn    7
Thomas    7
Crisp    6
Peach    6
Whitfield    6
Butts    5
Colquitt    5
Pickens    5
Upson    5
Ware    5
Decatur    4
Effingham    4
Lumpkin    4
Miller    4
Burke    3
Calhoun    3
Catoosa    3
Fannin    3
Irwin    3
Liberty    3
Lincoln    3
Madison    3
Meriwether    3
Monroe    3
Pulaski    3
Randolph    3
Seminole    3
Stephens    3
Baldwin    2
Ben Hill    2
Camden    2
Dawson    2
Franklin    2
Haralson    2
Harris    2
Jackson    2
Jasper    2
Jones    2
Lamar    2
Murray    2
Pierce    2
Tattnall    2
Turner    2
Twiggs    2
Walton    2
Washington    2
Baker    1
Bulloch    1
Charlton    1
Chattahoochee    1
Chattooga    1
Clinch    1
Dodge    1
Greene    1
Hart    1
Heard    1
Jenkins    1
Long    1
Macon    1
Mcduffie    1
Morgan    1
Pike    1
Taylor    1
Toombs    1
Wheeler    1
White    1
Wilkes    1
Unknown    229
*Based on patient county of residence when known

Gov. Kemp, state agencies file for emergency Medicare waiver

Governor Brian Kemp has joined several health agencies and organizations in the state are requesting an emergency waiver he and others hope will expand access to care and ease the administrative burden on hospitals.

Gov. Kemp's office issued a statement on Saturday announcing that Kemp, the Department of Community Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Hospital Association were filing for an 1135 Medicare waiver.

According to the Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry the waiver is designed to provide "a number of flexibilities for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids providers and members."

Some examples of requested flexibilities include 

  • Modifying the Medicaid authorizations process to enhance fee-for-service prior authorization requirements by extending certain pre-existing authorizations
  • Expediting long-term care services and supports process for pre-admission screening and annual resident review 
  • Extending fair hearings and appeal timelines for managed care and fee-for-service enrollees 
  • Streamlining provider enrollment, recredentialing, and revalidation processes, including for out-of-state providers 
  • Modifying reporting and oversight requirements in certain healthcare facilities
  • Expanding provider settings to help ensure our providers can deliver care in non-traditional settings."

Berry said that with the expansion of telehealth options, this will promote access to care during the coronavirus health emergency.

“As we continue fighting COVID-19, these waivers will empower the healthcare community and increase their ability to care for patients by reducing federal regulations,” said Governor Kemp.

Forest Park issues order for residents to shelter-in-place

Mayor Angelyne Butler of Forest Park and members of the city's government have issued a shelter-in-place order that will go into effect on Monday, March 30, at 10 p.m. THe order will remain in effect until April 13 at 11:59 p.m. 

The move comes after dozens of positive cases were reported in Clayton County. The notice said that four of those cases were in the city of Forest Park.

In a note from the city, officials said the decision wasn't made without careful consideration but that the city believed it was important to "do everything we can to flatten the curve and put an end to this deadly virus."

Dunwoody issues shelter-in-place order

Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch has added a shelter-in-place ordinance to the city's COVID-19 emergency ordinance.

Residents of the city will be under the shelter-in-place order starting at midnight heading into Sunday morning. The order will be in effect through April 15 - or until it is rescinded or amended by the city council.

“This is our strongest statement yet in demonstrating how important it is that we work together to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Deutsch. “The vast majority of our residents and businesses are already doing exactly what’s in this order to protect their families and neighbors, but we want to be clearer about what’s expected.”  

The order requires residents to remain in their residence but also allows outdoor activity coupled with social distancing practices. Residents can also go to work at any business that remains open and engage in activities related to health and safety. Residents can also obtain necessarily supplies and food or take actions to care for a family member or pet in another household.

Stay-at-home order for Chamblee begins Saturday night at 6

Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson issued an executive order on Saturday afternoon directing all city residents to remain at their homes beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, until further notice. 

"All individuals are permitted to leave their places of residence only to provide or receive essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and essential governmental functions," the order said, in part. 

The mayor's order indicates that the city is adopting DeKalb County's official definition of minimum basic operations, and noting that only essential businesses are permitted to operate once the executive order takes effect.  

RELATED: Chamblee Mayor signs stay-at-home order, effective Saturday evening

TeleMed available for free in Georgia, six other states and Washington, DC

Heal.com is now making TeleMed available for zero cost for most insurance plans and/or Medicare in Georgia, California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

Heal doctors are able to provide a variety of services, including initial screening for symptoms of COVID-19, medication refills, check-ups, chronic disease management and other services. 

Details and full information on which insurance providers are participating in the program are available at Heal.com.

UPS eliminates need for signatures on package deliveries

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service announced Saturday afternoon that signatures were no longer necessary for package deliveries. 

This is being done in order to maintain social distancing for the protection of drivers and customers, the delivery service says.

Recipients do, however, need to acknowledge that UPS is making a delivery and show a government-issued photo ID if needed.

Delta offering free flights to volunteering medical professionals

Delta Air Lines says they are supporting medical professionals volunteering to help in areas hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic by offering free flights to certain regions of the U.S.

Eligible medical volunteers will be able to book round-trip flights on Delta free-of-charge to Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan, where they will work in coordination with state and local government offices to be deployed to hospitals in areas hardest hit by the virus.

Delta is looking at expanding this program to other areas of the nation in need, including California, New York and Washington.

RELATED: Delta offering free flights for medical professionals volunteering to help in COVID-19 hotspots

Atlanta Archdiocese issues new instructions for Holy Week masses

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has issued new instructions regarding Holy Week and the distribution of sacraments as a result of the spread of COVID-19.  

Pastors and other priests are encouraged to celebrate Palm Sunday Masses privately on April 5 for the intentions of the people with only those necessary for the celebration of the liturgy such as a deacon, lector or server. Palms will be blessed and distributed later.

Atlanta's bishops will celebrate the liturgies of Easter at the Cathedral of Christ the King, which will be live-streamed. The observances of Holy Thursday Mass will omit the washing of the feet; the Good Friday and Easter Vigil will also take place without people present.  

Confirmed cases rise to 2,366; 69 deaths reported according to DPH

The total number of confirmed cases across Georgia has increased to 2,366, according to the state Department of Public Health early Saturday afternoon.

In addition, there are 69 deaths reported across the state. There are 617 hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19, the agency reported. 

The largest number of confirmed cases continues to be in Fulton County, where 373 cases have been reported. DeKalb County is reporting the second-largest total with 240 cases, followed by Dougherty County at 205, Cobb County at 181, Gwinnett County with 129 and Bartow County with 116.

The county-by-county breakdown is listed as follows: 

Fulton 373
Dekalb 240
Dougherty 205
Cobb 181
Gwinnett 129
Bartow 116
Carroll 64
Clayton 57
Cherokee 52
Henry 50
Lee 37
Clarke 35
Douglas 35
Hall 31
Floyd 27
Fayette 25
Forsyth 21
Lowndes 20
Coweta 19
Paulding 19
Rockdale 17
Chatham 15
Early 15
Newton 15
Gordon 14
Mitchell 14
Tift 13
Columbia 12
Houston 12
Richmond 12
Bibb 11
Spalding 11
Sumter 11
Oconee 10
Polk 10
Troup 9
Muscogee 8
Worth 8
Barrow 7
Glynn 7
Laurens 7
Bryan 6
Peach 6
Terrell 6
Thomas 6
Whitfield 6
Butts 5
Colquitt 5
Crisp 5
Pickens 5
Effingham 4
Lumpkin 4
Miller 4
Upson 4
Burke 3
Coffee 3
Decatur 3
Fannin 3
Irwin 3
Lincoln 3
Madison 3
Meriwether 3
Monroe 3
Randolph 3
Seminole 3
Baldwin 2
Ben Hill 2
Calhoun 2
Camden 2
Dawson 2
Franklin 2
Jackson 2
Jasper 2
Jones 2
Lamar 2
Liberty 2
Murray 2
Pulaski 2
Stephens 2
Tattnall 2
Turner 2
Twiggs 2
Walton 2
Ware 2
Washington 2
Baker 1
Catoosa 1
Charlton 1
Chattahoochee 1
Chattooga 1
Clinch 1
Dodge 1
Greene 1
Haralson 1
Harris 1
Hart 1
Heard 1
Jenkins 1
Long 1
Macon 1
Mcduffie 1
Morgan 1
Pierce 1
Pike 1
Taylor 1
Toombs 1
White 1
Wilkes 1
Unknown 230

For a full map of counties affected, please see our detailed map. 

Total cases rise to 2,198; 65 deaths reported

The number of confirmed cases across the state of Georgia has increased again, according to the new figures released from the Department of Public Health.

There are now 2,198 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 65 deaths reported. There are 607 hospitalizations from the virus, according to the numbers.

The number of confirmed cases is highest in Fulton County, which is now reporting 347 cases. DeKalb has the second highest number of cases, with 219. Dougherty, Cobb, Gwinnett and Bartow counties are now reporting more than 100 cases each.

*This story has been updated the include the Department of Public Health's corrected numbers.

The county-by-county breakdown is below.

Fulton    347    
Dekalb    219  
Dougherty    203
Cobb    163    
Gwinnett    121    
Bartow    107    
Carroll    61    
Clayton    53    
Cherokee    50    
Henry    44    
Lee    37    
Clarke    34    
Douglas    32  
Hall    30  
Floyd    26    
Fayette    22    
Forsyth    21    
Lowndes    20    
Coweta    19    
Rockdale    16    
Chatham    15    
Newton    15    
Mitchell    14    
Early    13    
Paulding    13  
Tift    13  
Gordon    12    
Bibb    11    
Richmond    11    
Spalding    11    
Columbia    10  
Houston    10    
Oconee    10    
Polk    10    
Sumter    10    
Troup    9    
Barrow    7    
Glynn    7  
Laurens    7    
Muscogee    7    
Worth    7    
Peach    6  
Terrell    6    
Whitfield    6    
Bryan    5    
Colquitt    5    
Crisp    4    
Effingham    4    
Lumpkin    4    
Pickens    4    
Upson    4    
Burke    3    
Butts    3    
Coffee    3    
Decatur    3    
Fannin    3    
Irwin    3  
Lincoln    3  
Madison    3    
Meriwether    3    
Miller    3    
Monroe    3    
Randolph    3    
Thomas    3    
Baldwin    2    
Ben Hill    2    
Calhoun    2    
Camden    2    
Dawson    2    
Jackson    2    
Jasper    2    
Jones    2    
Lamar    2    
Pulaski    2    
Seminole    2    
Stephens    2    
Tattnall    2    
Turner    2    
Twiggs    2    
Ware    2  
Washington    2    
Baker    1  
Catoosa    1    
Charlton    1    0
Chattahoochee    1    
Chattooga    1    
Clinch    1    
Dodge    1    
Franklin    1    
Greene    1    
Haralson    1    
Harris    1    
Hart    1    
Heard    1    
Liberty    1  
Long    1  
Macon    1    
Mcduffie    1    
Morgan    1  
Pierce    1    
Taylor    1    
Toombs    1    
White    1    
Wilkes    1    
Unknown    207   

Facts to know on Saturday

  • Douglas County under a shelter-in-place order
  • DeKalb County officials issue shelter-in-place order
  • Gwinnett County, all 16 cities issue stay-at-home orders
  • DeKalb Board of Health opens call center for citizens
  • MARTA makes additional changes, cuts to service
  • Fox Theatre releases new dates for 'Hamilton'
  • Georgia public health director says to stop holding 'drive-in' church services
  • Cobb County said they were reopening some parks, but now says 'nothing has been decided'

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