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Coronavirus in Georgia | Friday, May 15

Here's the latest from around the state on Friday.

ATLANTA — This is an archive of updates from Friday, May 15. 

For news and information from Saturday, May 16, please visit our daily updates page. 

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We are breaking down the coronavirus trends across the state of Georgia and providing updates as they come in.

Visit the 11Alive coronavirus page 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.

Key Facts: 

  • There have been 1,588 deaths in Georgia, with the state's earliest reported death on March 5. Over the last 14 days (5/2-5/15), the average daily increase in newly reported deaths was 29.5. Over the previous 14-day period (4/18-5/1), the average daily increase in newly reported deaths was 34.86.
  • There have been 36,772 cases confirmed in Georgia, with the state's earliest reported case on Feb. 1. Over the last 14 days, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 603. Over the previous 14-day period, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 689.36.
  • There have been 6,518 total patients hospitalized in Georgia during the pandemic, according to the Department of Public Health's cumulative total. Over the last 14 days, the average daily increase in new patients was 80.71. Over the previous 14-day period, the average daily increase in new patients was 134.64. 
  • The Georgia Emergency Management Agency began reporting current statewide hospitalizations on May 1. That day they reported 1,500 current hospitalizations. By the most recent report on May 15, there were 1,029 current hospitalizations.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp's statewide shelter-in-place order expired at midnight on April 30. However, his order for the elderly and medically-fragile remains in effect until June 12.
  • All public school buildings in Georgia are closed through the end of the school year
  • Public Health Emergency remains in effect.

Things to know for Friday, May 15

  • Health workers in Gainesville are mourning the loss of one of their own, after a 15-year nurse in the Northeast Georgia Health System, known lovingly as "Mama Deb," died this week after a battle with COVID-19.
  • The Georgia Air Guard will conduct a statewide flyover today to honor front-line workers. They'll be flying over hospitals in Chatsworth, Calhoun, Savannah, and south Georgia.
  • Grocery prices in Atlanta are rising rapidly - even faster than the national average.
  • A deaf woman shared a video to help the public learn sign language to communicate while wearing a mask.

Judge dismisses suit seeking to delay Georgia election again

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit prompted by the coronavirus outbreak that sought to further delay Georgia’s primary election and to force other changes to the voting process. 

The lawsuit was filed last month by an election integrity advocacy group and individual Georgia voters.

It asked a judge to postpone the primary election from June 9 to June 30, implement measures to protect voters and election workers from the coronavirus, and make voting by mail more practical. 

The judge wrote in an opinion Thursday that it's up to state legislatures, not the courts, to manage elections.

Georgia and North Carolina: How neighbors compare on COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed our daily lives. We’re constantly trying to figure out what stores are open, how to get a dentist appointment, and when to wear a mask.

It’s easy to forget, the rest of the country is dealing with this too. So, we wanted to look at how Georgia compares to other states.

Georgia and North Carolina have similar populations – roughly 10 and a half million. They closed at similar times - Georgia ordered everyone to shelter in place on April 3, four days after North Carolina.

So, here are how the two states compare.

Kemp touts gains made in Hall County Covid-19 hotspot

Gov. Brian Kemp says new cases of COVID-19 among northeast Georgia poultry workers have dropped 75 percent over the last two weeks.

Kemp said during a visit to Gainesville that community leaders and residents responded to guidance from their employers and health workers, in an effort to curb North Georgia's worst outbreak in Hall County.

RELATED: Kemp touts gains made in Hall County COVID-19 hotspot

New COVID-19 hotspot emerges in Hancock County

Hancock County, located between Atlanta and Augusta, is a new COVID-19 hotspot because of an outbreak in two nursing homes.

Hancock County has gotten a lot of attention over the last few days among state officials trying to wrangle the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, according to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The most alarming COVID-19 outbreaks in Georgia are in the southwestern part of the state.  Yet, Hancock County's rate of COVID-19 infection is now on par with some of those counties in the state's southwestern region.

Read the full story.

Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue named to White House coronavirus task force

Former Georgia governor and current secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue, has been named to the White House coronavirus task force, officials said. 

Perdue joins four others named to the team to help the US respond to the pandemic. The announcement comes as the task force enters a new phase, "which is focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to re-open."

"The new members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force will add expertise in the fields of vaccines and therapeutics as well as worker safety as the Task Force renews its focus on getting Americans back to work,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

Gwinnett County places official drop boxes for mail-in ballots

Eight official ballot drop boxes are now in place across Gwinnett County to provide voters with a new way to return absentee/advance by mail ballots for the June 9 Presidential Preference Primary, General Primary and Nonpartisan Election.

No postage is necessary on ballots placed in the drop boxes. The secure drop boxes will be monitored by video and available 24/7 at these locations:

  • Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 North Bogan Road, Buford
  • Dacula Park Activity Building, 2735 Old Auburn Ave., Dacula
  • George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee
  • Lenora Park Gym, 4515 Lenora Church Road, Snellville
  • Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Road, Norcross
  • Mountain Park Aquatic Center,1063 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain
  • Shorty Howell Park Activity Building, 2750 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth 
  • Voter Registrations and Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building, 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200, Lawrenceville 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium working through all options as sports eyes a return

AMB Group President and CEO Steve Cannon says they are in constant communication with the NFL and Major League Soccer as they continue to take steps towards what a return to sports will look like. 

Read the full story.

Ebenezer Baptist Church to distribute free masks, sanitizer

Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Sr. Community Resources Collaborative will be providing free masks and hand sanitizer kits, Saturday.

More than 60,000 kits are available through the initiative, “Masks For The People.” Each kit consists of 10 masks and one travel-size hand sanitizer.  

The first distribution wave will take place Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The most vulnerable members of the community will be accommodated first; such as seniors, impoverished, and homeless. Also, thousands of kits have been earmarked for essential and first-line workers, individuals who are currently incarcerated and families residing in subsidized and senior housing. 

More than 300K Covid-19 tests reported to Department of Public Health

The governor's office announced that 301,874 COVID-19 tests have been completed and reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

They said as the state continues to ramp up testing, the number of positive cases will continue to rise; however, with more than 300,000 tests reported to the state, they said the percent of positive cases in Georgia continues to decrease.

Free Covid-19 testing available at Columbus Civic Center

Free testing will be available at a pop-up site at the Columbus Civic Center this Saturday. Testing is free, and insurance is not required

WHERE: Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th Street, Columbus, GA 31901

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2020 from 9 AM to 1 PM

You must enter the Columbus Civic Center's parking lot from Lumpkin Boulevard.

Piedmont Healthcare participating in Remdesivir expanded access program

Piedmont Healthcare is participating in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expanded access program for the antiviral drug remdesivir, which was granted emergency use authorization on May 1. The investigational drug was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients.

The program is available for patients at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Piedmont Fayette Hospital and Piedmont Columbus Regional-Midtown Campus and may be expanded to other Piedmont hospitals. Previously, Piedmont participated in the FDA’s compassionate use program for remdesivir.

Across Atlanta metro, select YMCAs begin reopening

The YMCA is open for business. Several locations across the metro area reopened their doors to the public on Friday.

For the seven YMCA locations across metro Atlanta that are opening, today is considered Phase One - and the YMCA is taking it gradually.

YMCA of Metro Atlanta President and CEO Lauren Koontz spoke to 11Alive's Nick Sturdivant, and said the plan to reopen was well thought out.

Read that breakdown here.

2020 Truist Atlanta Open suspended

The ATP Tour announced today that tour suspension will continue through the end of July due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a result, the 2020 edition of the Truist Atlanta Open will not take place as scheduled. The event was to run July 25 - Aug. 2 at Atlantic Station.

The popular Midtown Atlanta event was set to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

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