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After teacher tests positive, Atlanta schools close Tuesday

Fulton County employee among 13 people in Georgia to test positive for COVID-19

Anderson Williams in the emergency operations center at the Fulton County Schools Administration Center in Atlanta. (AP photo/Andrea Smith)

ATLANTA – All Fulton County schools and offices will be closed Tuesday after a teacher with school system tested positive for coronavirus, officials have announced.

Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney said the teacher worked at both Bear Creek Middle School and Woodland Middle School and fell ill at work on Friday. He was eventually hospitalized.

“I can say with certainty that within this process, this particular employee had a lot of contact with the students that he or she serves and also with additional staff members,” Looney said.

Based on concerns over the virus, Fulton County says they immediately dismissed Bear Creek Middle School, Woodland Middle School and Creekside High School on Monday.

Health officials are now working to identify all those who had contact with the teacher to follow up.

All schools in Fulton County, including most in Atlanta, will be closed on Tuesday as a precaution to assess potential risk and to clean and disinfect all schools.

Watch news conference with Gov. Brian Kemp and state health officials.

On Monday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp detailed six confirmed and seven presumptive cases of COVID-19. They are waiting on confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the second six cases, including a South Korean person who arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport showing symptoms and was immediately hospitalized.

A total of 17 people in the state have tested positive, according to figures released by the state late Monday, although some tests have yet to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 17 cases are from eight Georgia counties: Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Fayette, Floyd, Fulton, and Polk, according to a statement from Gov. Brian Kemp.

Georgia has completed more than 50 COVID-19 tests so far and has requested more test kits from the federal government.

Georgia officials are preparing Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County as a site where they can isolate and monitor coronavirus patients should it become necessary, the governor’s office said. The state is also preparing to accept 34 Georgians and other passengers who live on the East Coast who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked Monday in Oakland, California. They will be quarantined for 14 days at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Cobb County.

Other patients from the ship where 21 people tested positive for COVID-19 are being quarantined at military bases in California and Texas.

Currently, seven emergency trailers have been installed inside the park and more materials are en route.

Gov. Brian Kemp was to hold a news conference late Monday afternoon to discuss the most recent cases and how the state was dealing with the infections.

Georgia Department of Health status of coronavirus cases (Updated Monday morning)

Infection source for recent Georgia virus patients a mystery

Health officials say they don’t know how the most recent COVID-19 infections happened in Georgia, though all of the cases are in metropolitan Atlanta.

Kemp said late Sunday the people in the four recent cases are from Fulton, Cobb and Cherokee counties, but have no connection to each other. They were hospitalized as of Sunday.

Test results by the state health lab are awaiting confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The office stressed in a news release Monday that state officials are making the preparations at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County “out of an abundance of caution,” and no patients are currently scheduled to be transferred there.

Officials have already installed seven emergency trailers at the park about 50 miles east of Atlanta. The Department of Public Safety will provide security at the site once it is established, the governor’s office said.

Eleven Georgia residents have now tested positive for the COVID-19, and five of those tests have been federally confirmed.

Cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus have been confirmed in a total of five people in Fulton, Cobb and Polk counties. The Polk County resident had previously been reported as from Floyd County, the department said.

Those from Fulton County include a 56-year-old man who had returned to Atlanta from Milan, Italy, on Feb. 22, and his homeschooled son. Health officials have not yet said whether the person connected to Fulton County schools is the third confirmed case or one of the presumptive positive cases.

The 46-year-old Polk County woman had gone twice to a Georgia emergency center with flu-like symptoms in February but was originally turned down for testing because she had not traveled abroad or had known of any contact with travelers from abroad.

Dozens of Americans on a cruise ship off the California coast are expected to arrive Monday night or Tuesday for quarantine and testing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, officials said Sunday. They include 34 Georgia residents.

Information from WAGA-TV contributed to this article.

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