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Real-time updates: Coronavirus in Georgia

We're providing facts, not fear. Refresh this page for the latest coronavirus information in Georgia and metro Atlanta.

ATLANTA — For the latest updates on coronavirus in Georgia, follow this new storyhttp://bit.ly/2TRTqPm

Below is an archive.

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Cases of COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus, are spreading in Georgia after arriving in the United States in February. In Georgia, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, according to officials. At 11Alive, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. 

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

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page.

FACTS NOT FEAR: FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE 

Key facts:

Credit: WXIA
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia as of Sun., March 15, 2020.

Monday, March 16

Government official: Coronavirus vaccine trial starts Monday

A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday. A government official says the first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine that day. The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial that is taking place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle. Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc. Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Sunday, March 15

2 Emory students being tested for coronavirus

Emory University has released information detailing two possible coronavirus cases in connection with students. In a release to the Emory University community, it said that two students in undergraduate housing are being tested.

The university also stressed that neither case is confirmed. However, both students are self-isolating in off-campus housing provided by the university. The move is out of an abundance of caution.

The students live in Dobbs Hall and at the Clairmont campus respectively. Their roommates have been notified and are being supported by student health services staff, the university said.

Meanwhile, their rooms have been cleaned and disinfected by personnel.

Chick-fil-A to temporarily close dining room seating

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A will be closing its dining rooms to help prevent person-to-person contact in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus in its locations nationwide.

The company said the move is only temporary and would take different forms at different locations. Some restaurants may only officer service through the drive-thrus while others may offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options.

On Friday, the company announced it would close its playgrounds and serve meals in carry-out packaging; though guests at that time could have still eaten at the restaurant.

The drive-thru also stopped offering a printed menu. The company said then that beverage refill service may also change though it's unclear what form that change could take.

Atlanta mayor prohibits public gatherings of more than 250 to slow coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she is issuing a state of emergency for the city in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. However, the details of what that means may not be set in stone.

Mayor Bottoms initially tweeted a photo of the declaration Sunday evening saying that large public gatherings of more than 250 people were also prohibited. The executive order would be in effect through March 31.

A short time later, Bottoms acknowledged new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting public gatherings be restricted even further. 

Bottoms suggested that she and city officials "will continue to evaluate and adjust" policies.

Newton County Schools confirms employee diagnosed with virus

Authorities confirmed on Sunday that a Newton County School System employee who works at one of the schools has tested positive for coronavirus.

The school system released an update on its website that school officials were contacted by the Newton County School System about the employee. While they didn't identify the patient, they did say the employee works at Newton County Theme School.

The health department is now conducting an investigation and working to identify close contacts with that employee and is working to make sure it takes necessary precautions. Class in Newton County had already been canceled on the advisement of Governor Brian Kemp before the patient was ever identified.

During the time the school system is closed the school system is urging students to remain home to reduce the chance of getting the virus. Like many school systems across the state, schools in Newton County are closed indefinitely beginning Monday. During this time, the system will thoroughly clean schools and buses.

Coronavirus patient at Hard Labor Creek goes home

A man who was placed in isolation at a Georgia park over coronavirus concerns has been allowed to return home.

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security announced the update on Sunday afternoon.  The agency said Joey Camp had been in isolation at Hard Labor State Park in Morgan County. However, he has since been cleared to leave.

Credit: Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Joey Camp

Camp, at this time, is the only person held in quarantine at the park, which was opened to house those confirmed to have the contagious illness when necessary.

In Camp's case, the governor's office said that he couldn't isolate at his primary residence and was not in critical condition requiring hospital admittance. As such "a specific part of Hard Labor Creek State Park would be best suited for isolation as the individual is treated by medical professionals."

City of Forest Park taking actions

The City of Forest Park says it as postponed severe events scheduled, including the March 16 council meetings. 

“While there have not been any reported cases of the virus in our great city, we must be united in our individual and collective efforts towards the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Forest Park. We are taking every step to ensure the safety of our city," Mayor Angelyne Butler said.

They are also implementing a protocol for maintaining critical city services Non-essential employees are not required to report to work the week of March 16 and Thursday, a re-evaluation will occur to evaluate additional safety measures.

Piedmont Healthcare implementing visitor restrictions 

Piedmont Healthcare is implementing Level III visitor restrictions at all 11 hospitals, which means that no more than two visitors will be allowed per patient and no children ages 13 and under (except for those who are coming in for healthcare services).

The hospital also said that visitors will have to undergo health screenings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly and we as a health system also must react rapidly to protect our patients and our employees,” said Piedmont Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Leigh Hamby, M.D. “Safety is at the center of our organization and we believe these steps are necessary to create the safest environment at our hospitals.”

Fulton County Schools says Banneker High employee has coronavirus

Officials with Fulton County Schools say they were notified that a staff member at Banneker High has coronavirus.

"As the employee was at school during the last day of operation, we are notifying our community," the district said in a news release Sunday. 

They said health officials would contact the individuals who may have been impacted. 

This is the third employee for FCS that has tested positive for COVID-19.

Fayetteville City Hall, several other buildings closing to public 

"Most City of Fayetteville buildings will be closed to the public until further notice due to concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic," the city posted on its Facebook page.

The buildings include the Main Street Fayetteville and Fayetteville Economic Development offices located in the Historic Courthouse, the Holliday Dorsey Fife Museum, the Police Department Headquarters, the Building Department, and the Fire Department Administrative Offices. 

Officials said city personnel will report to work as normal unless they are sick, in which case they advised to stay home. 

Updates will be posted on the City’s website, www.fayetteville-ga.gov,  

DeKalb activates Emergency Response Plan

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said Sunday that he has directed all county departments to activate their emergency operations plans to protect the public and employees while ensuring the continuation of essential services. 

“Our government will continue to serve the people of DeKalb County,” Thurmond said in a release. “We are taking every precaution to limit the spread of the virus in our community.” 

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, as of Sunday, there are 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus in DeKalb County.

Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia rises to 99; Largest numbers in Fulton, Cobb counties

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, as of Sunday, March 15, there are 99 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Georgia. There remains 1 reported death in Georgia.

The largest number of cases remain in metro Atlanta, primarily in Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties. 

The breakdown by county is as follows: 20 in Fulton County; 19 in Cobb County; 10 in DeKalb County; 9 in Bartow County; 6 in Cherokee County; 6 in Dougherty County; 5 in Fayette County; 4 in Floyd County; 4 in Gwinnett County; 2 in Coweta County; 2 in Clayton County; 2 in Clarke County; 2 in Lowndes County; 2 in Lee County; 2 in Gordon County; 1 in Newton County; 1 in Charlton County; 1 in Henry County; 1 in Polk County.

Hunger Walk Run goes virtual

The Hunger Walk Run that was scheduled to take place Sunday has been canceled. However, since this is a critical fundraiser for the Food Bank and others, the event is going virtual.

Event organizers said people can take selfies while walking in their neighborhoods or doing another physical activities. They've posted additional information about how to make donations on its website. 

Oconee County Sheriff's Office delivering medicine, groceries to seniors

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is stepping in to help seniors in the area. 

"With the closing of the Senior Center the Sheriff's Office will be offering grocery and pharmacy deliveries to Seniors and those shut in or self quarantined starting Monday," a Facebook post from the sheriff's office reads. "The idea being that you pay for your purchases online and we will deliver them to your home."

They plan on making the delivers until normal operations resume.

"I don't want our Seniors to worry, we will take care of them," the sheriff's office said.

Few churches meeting in person this week, most opting for online services

While some churches and religious groups have gathered this Sunday, many others have decided not to. 

The majority of churches in metro Atlanta have either opted not to meet at all or to stream their services online. 

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest is one of the few churches that we have discovered that has opened their doors for regular services on Sunday. 

Ga. Power, Jackson EMC temporarily suspend disconnections for non-payment

Two of the largest power providers in metro Atlanta -- Jackson EMC and Georgia Power -- are suspending disconnections during the coronavirus outbreak

Jackson EMC is the electronic cooperative for large portions of northeast Georgia, including parts of metro Atlanta. Georgia Power serves most of the state. 

Both have said they are suspending disconnections of service for non-payment. Jackson EMC is suspending disconnections through at least March 27, while Georgia Power is following suit. The Atlanta-based company says it is suspending disconnections for the next 30 days.

Saturday, March 14

Fox Theatre closes temporarily

Atlanta's famed Fox Theatre announced on Saturday that it would close effective immediately. The move was in response to the "evolving COVID-19 situation" and Gov. Kemp's declaration of a public health emergency in Georgia.

The theatre said, in a statement, that they anticipate the closure to last for two weeks; though, this will be based on what management decides after monitoring the latest information at that time.

Ticketholders for Miss Saigon, AllStar Legends of Hip Hop, Bill Maher and Fox Theatre tours who are impacted by the closure will be notified by email of what to do next.

Georgia to postpone primaries

Georgia election officials are postponing the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May because of fears over the coronavirus.

Georgia's secretary of state said that in-person early voting will be halted and the election will be moved to May 19, when Georgia’s other 2020 primary elections are being held. 

The action followed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature of an emergency declaration that unlocked sweeping powers to fight COVID-19. 

On Friday, Louisiana became the first state to push back its presidential primaries. Republican Brian Kemp said the number of cases in Georgia caused by the new coronavirus rose to 66 Saturday from 42 on Friday. 

Kemp authorizes calling up 2,000 Ga. National Guard troops

Governor Brian Kemp has authorized calling up as many as 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops to active duty to address novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, in Georgia.

"Through extensive emergency preparedness training, the brave men and women in the Georgia National Guard stand ready to serve above and beyond their traditional military duties. In states of emergency, they are equipped to take necessary action to protect the health and safety of Georgia families in every region," Kemp said.

To assist with COVID-19 mitigation and critical services, including the transfer of Georgians currently at Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes, the Georgia National Guard will now be available to communities to ensure the steady supply of medical equipment, food, shelter, or related materials to keep Georgians safe in the weeks ahead, he added."

Zoo Atlanta announces temporary closure

Zoo Atlanta will temporarily close to the public beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and will remain closed until March 31; though, that date could be pushed back.

"While the Zoo is an almost exclusively open-air destination and is a resource for thousands of students, families and individuals who benefit from the Zoo experience and its connections with wildlife, the difficult decision to temporarily close is driven by Zoo Atlanta’s commitment to the well-being of its Members, guests, team and Volunteers, and community," the organization said in a statement.

The animals at the zoo will continue to receive the same care they do during normal operating hours and days.

Zoo Atlanta will provide continued updates on its public awareness page.

Atlanta Botanical Garden closed through March 30

The Atlanta Botanical Garden announced on Saturday that they are closing both their Midtown Atlanta and Gainesville locations through March 30. 

The move comes out of a concern for guests, staff and volunteers during the Georgia and national public health state of emergency.

Atlanta mayor says after-school program will continue to provide free meals for students during closures

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced the Centers of Hope after-school program will continue to provide free meals to all students who rely on them while schools are closed. 

The city's meal program provides dinner and a healthy snack to Atlanta students between the ages of 5 - 18. 

Beginning Monday, March 16, the program will run on a modified schedule, allowing students to receive meals between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays.

Atlanta City Council to move full meeting to Tuesday, March 17 by remote access

The regularly scheduled Monday city council meeting is being moved to Tuesday, March 17 at 10 a.m. by remote access. Council members will cast votes electronically while communicating through a phone bridge.

The public can access the meeting using the conference bridge by dialing 877-579-6743 and using the ID number 8315991256. Public comments may submitted via email to epc@atlantaga.gov.

Dept. of Public Health adds two more confirmed cases in Fulton County

The Georgia Department of Public Health says there are a total of 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia as of early Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2020. 

The data includes 15 cases in Cobb County, 13 cases in Fulton County, 8 cases in DeKalb County, 7 cases in Bartow County, 5 cases in Cherokee County, 4 cases in Fayette County, 3 cases in Floyd County, 2 cases in Coweta County, 2 cases on Gordon County, 2 cases in Gordon County, 2 cases in Gwinnett County, 1 case in Lee County, 1 case in Henry County, 1 case in Lowndes County, 1 case in Polk County and 1 case in Charlton County.

Georgians quarantined at Dobbins to be transferred to their homes ASAP, Kemp says

The 34 Georgians that were among 250 passengers transported to Dobbins Air Reserve Base from the Grand Princess cruise ship off California last Wednesday have now been given permission to be transferred to their homes as soon as possible, according to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The passengers were being quarantined at the air base after possibly being exposed to the novel coronavirus while they were on the cruise ship.

Confirmed cases jump to 64

Now that the state of Georgia has increased their testing capacity, we're getting a more clear picture of how many cases are in the state. Earlier this week, the state had the capacity to conduct 50 tests a day. Now they are up to 100 tests a day and hope to get more capacity next week.

Credit: WXIA
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia as of March 14, 2020.

There are now 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. In an address to the state Saturday morning, Governor Kemp said the increase was the largest in a 24 hour period. The confirmed cases in Cobb, DeKalb and Bartow doubled overnight, Kemp said. Below is a breakdown by county.

15 - Cobb
11 - Fulton
8 - DeKalb
7 - Bartow
5 - Cherokee
4 - Fayette
3 - Floyd
2 - Coweta
2 - Gordon
2 - Gwinnett
1 - Lee
1 - Henry
1 - Lowndes
1 - Polk
1 - Charlton 

Watch the address, here.

Brookhaven City Hall closes after employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee with the City of Brookhaven who worked at City Hall tested positive for coronavirus on March 13, according to a release from the city. Therefore, City Hall will be closed to the public until March 30. All City Hall employees are being directed to self-quarantine or self-monitor following CDC guidelines.

"The employee began experiencing symptoms on March 9 and was excused from work. The employee was in an administrative position and did not have face-to-face interactions with the public at large. The employee was subsequently hospitalized and diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 13," the statement read.

City employees who work at different locations will continue work as scheduled.

800 Delta contractors cut in bid to 'preserve cash, protect company'

Delta has announced new, dire steps it is taking in order to "protect the company" after the airline has been dealt a significant blow amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

11Alive confirmed that AgileOne, who provides contractor work support to Delta and other companies, is working to inform more than 800 contractors that their work assignments will end at Delta.  The spokesperson for the airline said the workers would have the opportunity to be placed within the AgileOne network.

Friday, March 13

Publix stores to close early during coronavirus outbreak to clean, stock shelves

Your next late-night run to Publix is about to be cut a little short.

Publix Super Markets said its stores would start closing at 8 p.m. starting Saturday.

This will give the stores more time to clean and restock their shelves.

Public Health Emergency in Georgia

Amid the spread of coronavirus around the globe, Governor Kemp has announced the state will be under a public health emergency, effective Saturday. It is believed to be the state's first-ever declaration of its kind, according to state records. 

The announcement follows President Trump declaring a national emergency for the United States, during a Friday press conference.

According to the governor, the declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia to deploy all available resources "for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19."

Delta CEO to give up own salary amid cuts tied to coronavirus

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian outlined a number of sweeping changes the Atlanta-based company was going to need to make in light of the travel industry taking a major hit due to coronavirus.  

One change, he said, would take effect immediately. He was going to forego his own salary for six months. 

"In light of these developments, I’m foregoing 100 percent of my salary, effective immediately, for the next six months," Bastian wrote in a letter to employees. 

Customers Age 60+ Receive 120 Day Extension from DDS

In an effort to assist one of Georgia’s high-risk groups during the health situation involving coronavirus, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) will be providing a 120-day extension for driver’s license and identification card holders age 60 and older. DDS estimates that more than 36,000 Georgians are eligible for this service.

Customers aged 60 years of age and older whose license or ID card is valid with an expiration from March through June 30, 2020 will be automatically mailed an updated card with a 120-day extension.

Fulton County Jail detainee quarantined, protocols changing

On Friday, the Fulton County Jail said a detainee was brought to the facility whose daughter might have been exposed to the virus. He is being placed in isolation for the next 14 days as a precaution. The jail said it has a negative pressure rooms to prevent the spread of pathogens.

According to the sheriff's office, all inmates undergo medical screenings before being committed to the Fulton County Jail system. Medical personnel are on alert for persons with temperatures above 101°, those with persistent coughs, and other symptoms of the COVID-19. Additional cleaning protocols are ongoing to disinfect surfaces. More handwashing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers are being installed.

The public is advised to avoid coming to Fulton County Jail facilities unless absolutely necessary. Enhanced screenings are taking place at the jail checkpoints.

Rockdale County Jail visits suspended

The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the suspension of all Visitation at the Jail.  “At-home” Video Visitation will be the only type of visit authorized until further notice.  Visits can be scheduled at https://securustech.net/.

As an extra measure, each inmate will receive one free video visitation per week and will be given the login pin to share with the person of their choice.

Douglas County Magistrate Court 

Douglas County Chief Magistrate Court Judge Susan S. Camp has continued all civil cases for March 16th and March 17th out of an abundance of caution due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

All cases set for March 16, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. are continued until Monday, March 23, 2020, at 1:30 p.m.

All cases set for March 17, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. will receive a Notice of Hearing through the mail with a new court date.

All other Magistrate Court operations will continue as normal.

Sweetwater 420 Fest called off

Sweetwater 420 Fest, a massive 3-day music festival held annually in Centennial Olympic Park has been “postponed or canceled,” they announced today. 

The event was set to take place April 24-26 and had more than 40 acts, including Oysterhead, Trey Anastasio Band, Cage the Elephant, Snoop Dogg and The Revivalists lined up.

“We are evaluating if a rescheduled event is possible or if we will see you next April, 2021.”

Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola set to close

The Georgia Aquarium said it is closing to the public starting Saturday, March 14 for a two-week period, according to a news release.

"We will continually reassess our operating schedule until then," the statement said. 

The World of Coca-Cola said, when contacted by telephone, that they'd be closing starting March 16 through at least March 30.

Quarantine Space Under Construction in Monroe County

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that a quarantine space for people who test positive for COVID-19 and are unable to self-isolate is under construction on the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) Campus in Monroe County. The quarantine space will be able to accommodate 20 temporary housing units. 

No patients are currently located at the facility.

"This is one of many measures that we're taking to prepare for any scenario," said Governor Kemp. "I appreciate the hard work of GEMA, DPH, and Monroe County officials to protect the health and safety of all Georgians."

Six Flags Over Georgia closes

The theme park announced it has temporarily suspended operations until the end of March, at which time they said they would re-evaluate the situation. 

"While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at this property, the safety of our guests and team members is always our highest priority," the park said. 

More lists of closures and things canceled.

Free meals for APS Students

Beginning March 16, all Atlanta Public Schools students can received a daily free bagged meal from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at five school sites.

The locations are: 

Douglass High School
Cleveland Elementary
Bunche Middle School
Sylvan Middle School
Phoenix Academy (formerly Crim High School)

After that, all APS families can report to the above locations from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to receive a bag of shelf stable grocery store items.

Click here to see what other districts are doing to support students in need of meals.

NASCAR race postponed

Officials were originally going to try and hold the race without fans.

Read more about the postponement here: NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway postponed

The Masters has been postponed

Augusta National made the announcement, with course chairman Fred Riley saying, "the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances."

Churches altering plans

North Point Church in Alpharetta, the largest in the Atlanta area, has canceled in-person services for the next three Sundays. 

North Point says services will be available online.

They said this in a message to members: 

"If someone asks why your church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, here’s my response:

  1. We are loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors.
  2. We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
  3. This is what love requires of us in this season."

Gov. Brian Kemp advised Thursday that the elderly, who are especially vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19, should avoid church services. Three cases in Bartow County have been linked to a church.

Click here for a list of churches closing or altering plans.

WellStar to begin screenings at facility entrances

WellStar, which operates numerous hospitals and care centers in the Atlanta area, says it will begin screening visitors for coronavirus symptoms. 

"Visitors should expect to have their temperature taken, have any potential symptoms reviewed, and will be asked about their travel history. Visitors who do not pass the screening will be requested to refrain from visiting patients until they have been self-quarantined for 14 days or all symptoms have been resolved. No visitors will be allowed for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have recently traveled from regions with widespread community spread of the disease. This process is temporary and is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

The network has also assembled a team of infectious disease and infection prevention specialists who will "communicate daily to stay up to date on the latest developments and prepare for patient care."

The first death from coronavirus in Georgia was reported at WellStar Kennestone in Marietta yesterday.

New case count announcement procedure

Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted that daily numbers will begin updating at midnight at the Georgia Department of Health website.

Thursday, March 12

Latest Case Count

The Georgia Department of Heath's website shows there are 42 cases of the virus in the state. The reported cases are in 14 counties. Only one person has died.

Gov. Brian Kemp and DPH have created a new daily status report to keep track of the cases.

It also lists a break down of cases by age group and sex. 

Kemp urging Georgians to remain calm

11Alive got the chance to talk to Gov. Kemp Thursday night about the coronavirus situation in Georgia.

In an interview with 11Alive's Jeff Hullinger, Kemp said Georgians should still remain calm and that the risk for COVID-19 remains low for many in the state. He also stressed the importance of community.

Photos have surfaced of people stocking up on products and supplies, leaving shelves in grocery stores empty. 

"Just remain calm, don't overreact," Kemp said. "Save a loaf of bread for your neighbor, We are not going to cut off the supply chain. We are going to make sure those things continue to work. This is not going to be a two or three day snow storm. We are going to be dealing with this for weeks, perhaps longer."

Watch the interview below.

Department of Corrections suspended visitation

Visitation at all GDC facilities has been suspended through 4/10/20. Offenders will continue to have access to their loved ones via mail, phone calls, and GOAL devices. The GDC has no known cases of COVID-19, at this time. For more information visit: https://bit.ly/38Kdvv5 

Brookhaven closing recreations centers, suspending events

The City of Brookhaven is temporarily closing the Lynwood Park Recreation Center and the Briarwood Recreation Center in an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 virus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. The closings are effective Friday, March 13, through at least April 3, the city said.

Final Four in Atlanta, NCAA championship games canceled amid coronavirus concerns

The NCAA has officially canceled all winter and spring NCAA championships, amid coronavirus fears. The men's Final Four was set to take place in Atlanta.

The collegiate organization had initially indicated that the tournaments would go ahead as usual, without fans. That plan was scrapped, as every major American sports league, from the NBA to MLB, ended their seasons due to concerns about the pandemic.

Many metro Atlanta school districts announce closings

For a full list, click here.

Atlanta Public Schools closes for 2 weeks starting Monday

Students and teachers are asked to come to school on Friday to prepare to be out for two weeks starting on Monday March 16.

"Anticipate being closed up to 2 wks & potentially extending beyond Spring Break," Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said in a tweet.

Cobb Schools closes for 3 weeks starting Monday

Cobb Schools are closing "until further notice," according to a release Thursday afternoon.

"While our school buildings will be closed, the education process will not stop. All staff will work remotely to best support students, including delivering digital and physical instructional resources to students while they’re at home.," the district said.

Georgia General Assembly suspends legislative session

The Georgia General Assembly will suspend the 2020 legislative session indefinitely after Friday, March 13, the 29th Legislative Day. The suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of health and safety of members, staff and the public given the prevalence of the Coronavirus. 

Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston have mutually agreed to suspend the session and resume at a future date to be determined. 

All Georgia public colleges and universities suspended for two weeks during coronavirus outbreak

Classes are suspended for two weeks at all schools in the University System of Georgia- UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, etc. 

The move was to "allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia," the system said. Students on spring break are encouraged not to return to campus. 

"Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020," the release said.

GHSA decision

In a statement from the Georgia High School Association Director Robin Hines, the local sports group said it is postponing the State Literary Meets the next two weekends and are recommending that all schools postpone all GHSA activities for the next two weeks. 

"We will re-evaluate on March 27 as to the plans moving forward," Hines said.

Bartow County cases linked to church

In his press conference, Gov. Kemp said three newly confirmed cases in Bartow County appeared to be connected to a local church. The one case in Floyd County is also connected to these cases, according to the state.

The governor encouraged everyone - especially those vulnerable to coronavirus, such as the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions - to avoid mass gatherings, even faith-based events.

Governor Kemp press conference

Gov. Brian Kemp in an afternoon press conference calls on educational and community leaders to consider closing day cares, schools and school districts as soon as tomorrow through the next two weeks. He stressed it was not a mandate.

"At this point we believe that local decision making is the right course of action and that you have flexibility," he said.

The governor also announced that he would not be shutting down state government or the state capitol, but was suspending non-essential travel by state employees and implementing telework policies for state employees.

"This will prevent substantial disruption of services to our constituents," he said.

The governor also says the state's message is changing, saying elderly Georgians and those with chronic and underlying conditions face "much higher risk of adverse consequences from exposure to coronavirus."

He encouraged "all families to get together to talk about how they're going to protect their grandparents, how they're going to protect their loved ones with health conditions and come up with a game plan for getting them what they need."

Moody AFB employee tests positive for coronavirus

A dining facility at Moody Air Force Base has was temporarily closed for health and safety precautions after an employee at the bae tested positive for coronavirus. 

Moody AFB declared a public health emergency after being notified by the Georgia Department of Public Health that an employee in the dining facility tested positive for the COVID-19 infection.

The base has increased its Health Protection Condition to Level B which is designed to "mitigate a moderate health threat to base personnel due to a heightened exposure list."

Moody AFB is located in Lowndes County roughly 200 miles south of Atlanta.

First coronavirus death in Georgia

He was described in a release as a 67-year-old man who had been hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone in Cobb County.

"Marty, the girls, and I are praying for the family and loved ones of this individual during this incredibly difficult time," said Governor Kemp

"I know the medical professionals on-site did everything that they could, and I greatly appreciate their efforts. As our state continues to address this pandemic, I urge Georgians to remain calm and support their neighbors and communities. We are in this fight together."

More information on the death, here: http://bit.ly/38OmnzQ

Governor to provide 3 p.m. update

Gov. Brian Kemp will be holding a press conference this afternoon to "provide an update on the state's efforts regarding COVID-19," a release from his office says.

Latest Case Count

Gov. Brian Kemp's Office has released the latest number of coronavirus cases in Georgia. There are now 31 confirmed and presumptive positive cases, 12 of those confirmed by the CDC and 19 more awaiting final CDC confirmation.

The confirmed cases are in the following counties: Three (3) in Fulton County, two (2) in Floyd County, one (1) in Polk County, two (2) in Cobb County, three (3) in Bartow County, one (1) in Lee County. 

The presumptive positive cases are in the following counties: Three (3) in Fulton County, six (6) in Cobb County, one (1) in Fayette County, four (4) in DeKalb County, two (2) in Gwinnett County, one (1) in Cherokee County, one (1) in Charlton County, and one (1) in Lowndes County. 

Credit: WXIA

Kroger limits supplies, outlines preparedness plans

Kroger is limiting supplies to customers and says it activated its preparedness plans "several weeks ago," according to a Thursday morning press release. 

"We believe that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials, especially in times of uncertainty," the statement said. "That’s why our teams are working so hard to keep our stores clean, open and stocked."

Kroger said they will be specifically limiting the number of cold, flu, and sanitary items bought so everyone can "have access to the products they need." 

The press release also mentioned they are working to get the "food, medicine and cleaning supplies" needed to stores "as quickly as possibly." 

They also listed the steps they are taking within their stores, for their workers and of course, for customers.

For more on the full plan, read here: Kroger limits supplies, activates preparedness plans

NASCAR still on

UPDATE: The race will be held without fans, NASCAR said.

Atlanta Motor Speedway tells 11Alive that, among the many cancellations and postponements in the sports world, this weekend's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500  is still a go.

MLS off

Major League Soccer announced it was suspending its season for 30 days.

That means all Atlanta United games within that time frame, including the one scheduled for Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, are postponed.

It's not clear what will happen with United's next game against Club America in the Concacaf Champions League, a competition that is not administered by MLS.

United fell to America last night 3-0 in Mexico, and the return match is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Colleges closing up shop

Emory University announced Wednesday night it was suspending in-person classes and shifting to remote learning. Today, Oglethorpe University has followed suit, announcing it will suspend in-person classes starting on Monday.

Classes will be suspended all next week before resuming remotely on March 23.

"Students are free to go home or to remain on campus," the university said.

The school has an enrollment of nearly 1,400 students.

Spelman College and Morehouse have also suspended in-person classes, saying they will move to remote learning on March 23.

"As you know the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 is very fluid, and we spent a lot of time trying to make sure that we are addressing the potentiality of any spread, community spread that may be happening or could potentially happen on the campus," Morehouse Provost and Senior Vice President Michael Hodge told 11Alive's Jay Plyburn.

USG bucking trend

The University System of Georgia has announced it will resume normal class operations on Monday following the end of Spring Break.

"The University System of Georgia is consulting constantly with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force.  DPH has advised that the risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia remains low," a statement says. "Therefore, all 26 USG institutions will remain open for face-to-face education at this time."

SEC basketball tournament canceled

The conference joins the Big Ten and others in making the call.

National Lacrosse League suspended

The Georgia Swarm's next home game had been scheduled for March 27.

More cancellations

More events around Atlanta have been canceled, including a major dental conference and the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.

So far, the weekend's NASCAR race remains on.

For a full list of cancellations and postponements, see here: List of things canceled or postponed around Atlanta due to coronavirus

Chick-fil-A corporate employees working from home

The company confirmed to 11Alive its corporate employees are working from home at least today and tomorrow as they test operational preparedness.

Airline response to ban on travel from Europe

Delta sent 11Alive's sister station in Dallas, WFAA, this statement: 

"The safety and health of our customers and employees is always our highest priority. Delta has and will continue to quickly make adjustments to service, as needed, in response to government travel directives. More information on Delta’s response to the COVID-19 virus is available here." 

No fans at the Final Four

The NCAA made the extraordinary decision late Wednesday night to go ahead with the men's and women's basketball tournaments without fan attendance.

That means what was set to be the biggest sporting event of the year in Atlanta, the Final Four, will now effectively be canceled for everyone who was planning to attend.

Read more about this development here: Final Four in Atlanta to be held without fans amid coronavirus concerns, NCAA president says

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