2020 coronavirus pandemic in Georgia (U.S. state)

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2020 coronavirus pandemic in Georgia
COVID-19 Georgia (state) by counties graduated 2020-03-27.svg
Number of cases per county[1] (as of March 27, 2020)
  1–69 cases
  70–138 cases
  139–207 cases
  208–276 cases
  277–347 cases
The Georgia Department of Public Health releases new data at noon and 7:00 PM EDT.
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationGeorgia, United States
First outbreakWuhan, China, China
Index caseAtlanta
Arrival dateMarch 2, 2020 (3 weeks and 5 days ago)
Confirmed cases2,198[1] (as of March 27, 2020)
Recovered1
Deaths
65[1] (as of March 27, 2020)
Official website
dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was first detected in the U.S. state of Georgia on March 2, 2020; the state's first death came ten days later on March 12. Governor Brian Kemp on March 23 banned gatherings of over 10 people, ordered bars and nightclubs to close, and issued a shelter-in-place order for the "medically fragile".[2] Kemp previously declared an "unprecedented" public health emergency on March 14[3][4] and ordered on March 16 that all public schools, colleges, and universities in the state close from March 18 through the start of April.[5] COVID-19 was first detected in a prison inmate on March 20.

As of March 27, 2020, 2,198 confirmed cases, 607 hospitalizations, and 65 deaths have been reported[1] in at least 103 of Georgia's counties.

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on March 23 signed a 14-day stay-at-home order to direct all city residents to stay at home except for performing essential tasks through April 7.[6][7] This followed a city-wide state of emergency on March 15 "[prohibiting] large public gatherings of more than 250 people"[8] and a March 20 order for businesses to close.[9] The city of South Fulton instituted a curfew on March 17, requiring residents to stay at home from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM (with work and medical exceptions) and barring gatherings of more than ten people.[10] On March 23, DeKalb County enacted a "voluntary curfew".[11]

One of the hot-spots in the state[12][13] for the coronavirus is Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital,[14] located in Albany in southwest Georgia, where as of March 20, 57 tests have come back positive,[15] four patients have died, and six hospital workers have been infected.[16] The hospital also received media attention after CEO Scott Steiner said they exhausted five months of medical supplies in just six days, experienced price gouging from medical suppliers,[17] and had plans for staff workers to manually sew respiratory masks.[18] In response, Albany and surrounding Dougherty County declared a shelter-in-place order[19] lasting two weeks on March 20.[12]

The now-cancelled NCAA basketball Final Four was to be held in Atlanta. The Masters, held annually in Augusta, have been postponed until "some later date".[20]

COVID-19 cases in Georgia, United States  ()
     Deaths        Confirmed cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-03-02
2(n.a.)
2(=)
2020-03-06
3(+50%)
2020-03-07
8(+166%)
2020-03-08
11(+37%)
2020-03-09
15(+36%)
2020-03-10
17(+13%)
2020-03-11
27(+59%)
2020-03-12
33(+22%)
2020-03-13
64(+94%) 1(n.a.)
2020-03-14
66(+3%) 1(=)
2020-03-15
99(+50%) 1(=)
2020-03-16
121(+22%) 1(=)
2020-03-17
146(+21%) 1(=)
2020-03-18
197(+35%) 1(=)
2020-03-19
287(+46%) 10(+900%)
2020-03-20
420(+46%) 13(+30%)
2020-03-21
555(+32%) 20(+54%)
2020-03-22
620(+12%) 25(+25%)
2020-03-23
800(+29%) 26(+4%)
2020-03-24
1,097(+37%) 38(+46%)
2020-03-25
1,387(+26%) 47(+24%)
2020-03-26
1,643(+18%) 56(+19%)
2020-03-27
2,198(+34%) 65(+16%)

Timeline[edit]

On March 2, state officials announced the first two cases: a Fulton County man in his 50s who had recently returned from a work trip to Milan, and his 15-year-old son.[21][22]

On March 6, public health officials reported a presumptive positive case involving a 46-year-old woman in Floyd County.[23][24]

Grand Princess and rising cases[edit]

On March 8, Governor Brian Kemp announced that a number of Americans on the cruise ship Grand Princess — including 34 Georgians — would be "securely transferred" to Dobbins Air Reserve Base for testing and quarantine on March 9 or 10. That night, Kemp said four currently hospitalized Georgians had been tested for COVID-19, with the Georgia Department of Public Health waiting for confirmation from the CDC; one person was a resident of Cherokee County, two were residents of Cobb County, and one a resident of Fulton County.[25][26]

On March 10, the Department of Public Health reported five additional cases, bringing the state total to 22. The majority of cases were in Cobb County (7 cases) and Fulton County (6 cases).[27] On March 11, the state announced nine more cases, making the total 31 presumed, with twelve confirmed.[28]

On March 12, the state of Georgia reported its first death related to the pandemic, according to a statement from the governor's office.[29] A dining facility worker at Moody Air Force Base, near Valdosta, tested positive for the virus, prompting temporary closure of the facility for cleaning.[30]

School closures[edit]

Emory University became the first state college to close its campus and move classes online for the remainder of the semester.[31] The University System of Georgia announced that its 26 public institutions would remain open based on the current advice of the Georgia Department of Public Health.[32] Three hours later the decision was reversed and the University System of Georgia has temporarily suspended instruction for two weeks starting on March 16.[32] On March 14, Gwinnett Technical College decided to close both of its campuses from March 16 through March 22, after announcing on March 13 that from March 23, to resume all currently 100% online courses as usual, and to convert all other courses to online instruction where possible.[33]

Also on March 12, many school districts in the state of Georgia made the decision to cancel classes for at least two weeks, such as Cobb County School District, who had an elementary school teacher test positive for the coronavirus.[34]

States of emergency[edit]

On March 15, Atlanta mayor Bottoms declared a state of emergency in the city, and banned public gatherings of more than 250 people.[35]

On March 24, the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, ordered all bars and clubs to close.[36]

Dates when Georgia counties declared a State of Emergency (as of March 24, 2020)
County Date Length, notes
Cobb County, Georgia[37][38] March 24, 2020 Until April 15, 2020

Responses[edit]

Brigadier General Dwayne Wilson, director of joint staff of the Georgia National Guard, speaks with reporters from 11 Alive about the Georgia Guard's response to COVID-19 in the joint operations center at the Clay National Guard Center on March 17, 2020.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, after a private briefing on the coronavirus from the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on January 24, 2020, began to offload various stocks[39] — by February 14, she had sold between $1.2 million and $3.1 million worth of holdings.[40] These actions attracted widespread condemnation — Democratic Senate contender Raphael Warnock called her actions "unconscionable", US Representative Doug Collins said he was "sickened just thinking about it", and Georgia Speaker David Ralston said he was "absolutely worried about the down-ticket damage".[41]

On February 28 Loeffler said on Twitter that "Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on [coronavirus] readiness".[42]

State government[edit]

All state lawmakers and their staff members were urged to self-quarantine on March 18 after state Senator Brandon Beach tested positive. Beach had displayed symptoms for nearly a week, and despite knowing his coronavirus test was pending, he went to work at the state capitol on March 16 when emergency legislation was passed. Beach explained in an interview that he "was cleared to go back to normal duties" and added that "[i]n no way, shape or form would [he] ever intentionally expose anyone".[43] Governor Kemp, who was also potentially exposed, said he would not self-quarantine or be tested because his time around others was "severely limited" and he "never interacted with any legislators".[44]

Quarantine sites[edit]

On March 9, Governor Kemp announced the preparation of Hard Labor Creek State Park, located in Morgan County, as a quarantine destination for diagnosed individuals "without other options".[45][46] On March 10, a coronavirus patient from Cherokee County, who did not need hospitalization but lacked adequate quarantine conditions at home, became the first to be relocated to the park; he was released on March 15.[47] A second person arrived on March 17.[45] Georgia stopped using this location on March 24.

A second quarantine site was constructed at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Monroe County. The area houses twenty trailers[48][49] with room for up to 40 patients. This site opened on March 24, replacing the old site.[50]

Prisons[edit]

The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) suspended visitations and announced additional sanitation measures, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that inmates had seen no extra soap.[51] A prison worker was confirmed to have the coronavirus on March 18 — the DOC, citing "security and HIPAA restrictions", declined to name the affected prison. The first detected case on COVID-19 in a prison inmate was at Lee State Prison two days later, on March 20.[52]

Department of Public Health[edit]

The Department of Public Health (DPH) releases daily coronavirus statistics, including the number of confirmed cases, deaths, positive tests, and total tests, as well as breakdowns by age, sex, and county. DPH recently began releasing numbers twice a day at 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and starting on March 24 included the number of hospitalizations. On March 27, the DPH updated the state map on its website.

COVID-19 lab tests (as of March 27, 2020)
Laboratory Positive tests Total tests
Georgia Public Health Laboratory 265 1,746
Other (commercial) 1,933 8,119

County and city governments[edit]

In addition to Atlanta, the cities of Brookhaven, Clarkston, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody have approved plans to ban dine-in service at restaurants. Clarkston also banned gatherings of more than ten people.[9] South Fulton on March 17 instituted a curfew from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM, with work and medical exceptions.[10]

Athens–Clarke County declared on March 19 that "all individuals... shall shelter at their place of residence", though with exceptions.[53][54]

Commercial entities[edit]

Six Flags Over Georgia announced that the theme park would close temporarily from March 13 to April 1.[55] Emory Healthcare announced the postponement of "all inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases" starting on March 16.[56] Furry Weekend Atlanta, a furry convention held in Atlanta, announced that the 2020 iteration of the convention scheduled for May had been cancelled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.[57]

Other attractions in Atlanta that have closed temporarily include the Children's Museum of Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Georgia Aquarium, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Zoo Atlanta.[58]

MARTA[edit]

In an effort to reduce exposure between bus drivers and riders, MARTA starting requiring passengers to use the rear door. Since the fare box is at the front near the driver, MARTA stopped collecting fares on buses.[59]

By the end of March, ridership on trains had fallen 67% and bus ridership dropped by 55% compared with the previous month,[59] reflecting national trends. A coalition of public transportation systems across the country — MARTA, along with Bay Area Rapid Transit, the Chicago Transit Authority, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, King County Metro, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NJ Transit, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority — requested at least $25 billion in relief from the federal government.[60]

Foundations[edit]

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced on March 20 that it would donate $5 million to an Atlanta coronavirus fund set up by United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, in addition to $400,000 in other grants for non-profits in Georgia and Montana.[61][62]

Impact[edit]

Airline passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks

Economy[edit]

During the week of March 16–20, unemployment benefit filings in Georgia increased by 400%.[63]

Politics[edit]

Georgia's Democratic presidential primary elections were originally scheduled for March 24, 2020, but they were moved to May 19.[64] On March 24, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that all registered voters would receive absentee ballot request forms in the mail.[65][66]

Sports[edit]

Most of the state's sports teams were affected. Several leagues began postponing or suspending their seasons starting March 12. Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of spring training on that date, and on March 16, they announced that the season will be postponed indefinitely, after the recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, affecting the Atlanta Braves.[67] Also on March 12, the National Basketball Association announced the season would be suspended for 30 days, affecting the Atlanta Hawks.[68]

In college sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association cancelled all winter and spring tournaments, most notably the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, affecting colleges and universities statewide.[69] On March 16, the National Junior College Athletic Association also canceled the remainder of the winter seasons as well as the spring seasons.[70]

Data[edit]

COVID-19 cases by county (cumulative)[71]
Baker
Baldwin
Barrow
Bartow
Ben Hill
Bibb
Bryan
Burke
Butts
Calhoun
Camden
Carroll
Catoosa
Charlton
Chatham
Chattahoochee
Chattooga
Cherokee
Clarke
Clayton
Clinch
Cobb
Coffee
Colquitt
Columbia
Coweta
Crisp
Dawson
Decatur
DeKalb
Dodge
Dougherty
Douglas
Early
Effingham
Fannin
Fayette
Floyd
Forsyth
Franklin
Fulton
Glynn
Gordon
Greene
Gwinnett
Hall
Haralson
Harris
Hart
Heard
Henry
Houston
Irwin
Jackson
Jasper
Jones
Lamar
Laurens
Lee
Liberty
Lincoln
Long
Lowndes
Lumpkin
Macon
Madison
Mcduffie
Meriwether
Miller
Mitchell
Monroe
Morgan
Muscogee
Newton
Oconee
Paulding
Peach
Pickens
Pierce
Polk
Pulaski
Randolph
Richmond
Rockdale
Seminole
Spalding
Stephens
Sumter
Tattnall
Taylor
Telfair
Terrell
Thomas
Tift
Troup
Turner
Twiggs
Upson
Walton
Ware
Washington
White
Whitfield
Worth
Unknown
Daily
Cumulative
Hospitalizations
Positive tests
Total tests
Mar 2 2 2 2
Mar 3 0 2
Mar 4 0 2
Mar 5 0 2
Mar 6 1 1 3
Mar 7 1 4 1 1 5 8
Mar 8 1 2 5 3 11
Mar 9 3 1 1 2 4 15
Mar 10 4 6 2 17
Mar 11 2 1 6 2 2 7 1 1 10 27
Mar 12 1 3 2 3 8 1 6 33
Mar 13 7 5 15 2 8 4 13 31 64
Mar 14 7 2 1 2 66
Mar 15 9 6 2 2 19 10 6 5 4 20 4 2 2 1 33 99
Mar 16 7 3 5 22 1 27 5 1 2 3 1 1 22 121
Mar 17 1 10 4 25 1 3 15 6 33 7 4 1 1 2 25 146
Mar 18 19 9 5 6 28 18 7 8 2 49 3 3 1 2 5 3 3 0 1 51 197 197 1,508
Mar 19 26 1 16 8 37 22 20 2 9 3 66 2 4 12 5 3 2 3 6 1 1 2 1 6 90 287 287 1,831
Mar 20 54 7 2 10 10 47 6 1 36 44 1 1 7 88 3 23 6 1 6 2 1 13 7 1 1 4 1 2 3 8 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 31 198 485 485 2,386
Mar 21 2 56 14 4 17 9 13 50 3 8 41 47 4 8 4 99 4 9 7 1 1 14 1 2 4 2 4 10 2 2 4 37 70 555 555 3,616
Mar 22 2 16 1 18 10 1 67 9 53 52 2 9 5 111 4 27 3 16 8 2 3 1 1 2 27 65 620 620 4,020
Mar 23 61 2 1 21 1 24 14 19 79 1 74 69 7 11 10 7 152 6 35 10 1 9 19 1 2 1 1 3 5 3 1 1 11 5 4 1 3 46 180 800 800 5,069
Mar 24 3 2 76 1 4 2 1 26 7 30 17 21 90 2 1 6 10 3 107 101 12 5 3 1 12 12 8 191 5 8 1 46 16 13 5 1 1 6 24 11 3 1 1 4 3 4 6 5 6 4 8 1 10 8 2 5 2 4 1 3 4 6 1 4 79 297 1,097 361 1,097 5,484
Mar 25 82 6 3 3 50 36 21 29 109 2 10 1 125 1 123 18 6 14 10 204 9 69 19 20 6 2 1 2 1 7 25 1 12 2 2 8 6 5 9 10 10 1 5 1 0 4 1 5 7 2 0 1 2 1 4 3 160 290 1,387 438 1,387 6,179
Mar 26 1 5 93 8 3 1 2 52 9 44 29 37 119 4 14 4 2 2 137 164 7 14 17 15 1 231 6 79 22 1 29 9 3 2 8 29 3 14 4 3 1 3 10 6 12 7 7 10 2 11 13 11 7 2 5 7 10 2 2 6 6 178 256 1,643 509 1,643 8,948
Mar 27 7 107 2 11 5 2 61 15 1 50 34 53 163 3 5 10 19 3 219 203 32 13 4 3 22 26 21 347 7 12 121 30 1 44 10 2 2 7 37 20 3 14 7 15 10 13 6 2 3 16 2 10 6 3 13 9 4 7 207 555 2,198 607 2,198 9,865

References[edit]

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External links[edit]