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'I worry that they don’t understand': Georgia health commissioner reiterates importance of masks, social distancing

Dr. Kathleen Toomey worries that if we don't all do our part we could see another increase in cases.

ATLANTA — Crowds gathered across Atlanta over the weekend causing alarm to many as social distancing was practically non-existent, and many weren't wearing masks. 

It came just a day after Gov. Brian Kemp's shelter-in-place order ended for most Georgians. Kemp still urged everyone to stay at home if they can, stay six feet apart if they go out and wear masks in public.

The idea is that even as places reopen, Georgia still needs everyone’s help to make sure we don’t see a another spike in cases.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Department of Public Health commissioner, said she was at Piedmont Park, too, this past weekend but adhering to social distancing guidelines, and sorry to see others not doing the same. 

“What I saw in Midtown and in Piedmont Park a lot of people gathering and even in my own Virginia Highlands area, a lot of people partying together," she said.

"I worry that they don’t understand, not only is their risk to them, but I’m really concerned that they will get infected and carry this virus home," she explained.

RELATED: Crowds gathering around metro Atlanta in national spotlight amid pandemic

While the statewide shelter-in-place order has expired for most, Toomey said it shouldn't require government mandates for everyone to continue to follow the guidelines to prevent another wave of cases.

“What I’m concerned about is if people don’t respect these very reasonable guidelines that were laid out by Governor Kemp then in the next two, three, four weeks we are going to see markedly increasing cases, which is unnecessary, it’s preventable," she said.

"It doesn’t have to happen if people continue to follow appropriate social distancing." she added. 

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

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

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