Georgia surpasses 6,000 cases, more than 200 deaths reported due to COVID-19

The number of reported deaths increased by 10 in the last 24 hours

Doctors in the United States on Sunday called for the loss of sense of smell and taste to be added to the "list of screening tools" for Covid-19.

Credit: Joseph Prezioso/ AFP via Getty Imag
Doctors in the United States on Sunday called for the loss of sense of smell and taste to be added to the "list of screening tools" for Covid-19. Credit: Joseph Prezioso/ AFP via Getty Imag (Joseph Prezioso/ AFP via Getty Image)

ATLANTA – Confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued on an upward trend in the state of Georgia on Saturday, with the number of confirmed moving past 6,000, according to data released during the evening by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, there were 6,383 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state -- up 416 in the last 24 hours. There were 208 deaths as of Saturday evening, that’s an additional 10 from the report released at the same time on Friday.

Of the cases statewide, 69 COVID-19 cases were reported in Southeast Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The cases since the noon report include a total of 28 in Glynn County (an increase of five), 18 in Ware County (increase of one), 16 in Pierce County (no change). Of those counties, three deaths have been in Ware (no change).

There were no changes to the number of cases reported in Camden County (six), Charlton County (one) and Brantley County (zero).

Fulton County still has the highest number of cases in Georgia, 959, and 26 deaths have been reported in the county. The small county of Dougherty has had 30 reported deaths, the most of any county in the state, of its 685 cases.

Georgia’s governor published his order telling people to stay at home Thursday as officials blamed the virus for record-shattering unemployment claims.

Kemp’s order took effect at 6 p.m. Friday and will last through at least April 13. It comes after days of pressure from local officials and widespread criticism of Kemp’s claimed rationale that he was acting because federal officials had just confirmed that the virus is being spread by seemingly healthy people who are infected but have no symptoms such as fever or cough.

The order says people must stay home unless they are providing or receiving food, household supplies, medical supplies or services, sanitation, safety services or essential home maintenance. It also says people can exercise outside as long as they stay 6 feet apart, but they’re not supposed to have visitors

A wide range of critical infrastructure businesses as designated by the federal government can stay open, including laundromats, dry cleaners, home construction, hardware stores, defense plants, banks, sawmills and news outlets.

The measure limits nonessential businesses to the “necessary activities to maintain the value” of the business but says they can stay open to the public subject to those restrictions.

Both essential and nonessential businesses are directed to screen workers for signs of illness, implement teleworking and staggered shifts for all possible workers, and increase the distance between work stations to at least 6 feet.

It closes all dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. However, the sale of guns and ammunition is expressly allowed to continue, as is food for takeout and delivery.

The measure does not expressly bar attendance at worship services, although Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said they would have to follow the same strictures regarding distancing and health checks as any business.

Kemp’s order supersedes all local orders issued earlier, providing uniformity that many local officials sought.

The state police and Georgia National Guard are among the agencies to provide resources to enforce the order. Violations are misdemeanors and officials are “supposed to take reasonable steps” before arresting anyone or writing a ticket.

“When Georgians listen to the guidance provided and follow the orders issued, they are actively joining the fight against this deadly disease,” Kemp told reporters as he announced the decision Wednesday.

Meanwhile, unemployment claims processed in Georgia during the last full week of March rose to nearly 134,000, an increase more than 10 times greater than the number filed the week before. The Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday the staggering number set a new record for the most claims ever processed in one week. The previous record was more than 41,000 in January 2009.

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