COVID-19 cases in Georgia surpass 22,000; nearly 900 deaths in state

Additional death reported overnight in Ware County

At a pilot large-scale drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Thursday in Conyers, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) (Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Georgia reached 22,491 on Friday, an increase of 608 in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

On Friday, there were 18 additional deaths reported due to the virus in the state, bringing the total of confirmed deaths in the Georgia to 899. In Southeast Georgia, an additional death was reported in Ware County.

The latest report from the state Department of Public Health said 4,322 people -- 19.2% of those testing positive for COVID-19 -- were hospitalized.

The first deaths from COVID-19 were reported Thursday morning in Camden and Glynn counties, health officials said.

A total of 262 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Southeast Georgia, with 14 deaths. Some of the most recent deaths include a 71-year-old woman in Ware County, a 76-year-old man in Glynn County and a man in Camden County, who was identified by friends as 44-year-old Lalonee Gibbs, a former school bus driver.

Ware County continues to be the hardest hit in Southeast Georgia, reaching 103 confirmed cases, with eight deaths.

Georgia Gov. Kemp is allowing elective medical procedures to resume Friday and the close-contact businesses he had ordered closed may reopen, including barber shops, nail salons, gyms, tattoo parlors, bowling alleys and massage therapists.

On Monday, limited in-restaurant dining may resume and movie theaters may reopen.

All the businesses are subject to a list of restrictions including separating workers and enhanced sanitation.

Kemp has defended the move as measured, but he’s been widely criticized, with President Donald Trump saying Wednesday that he told Kemp by phone that “I totally disagree” with the decision.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause severe illness such as pneumonia or death.