6 new cases in Southeast Georgia as statewide COVID-19 cases surpass 27,000

Statewide death toll reaches 1,147 as Georgia’s shelter-at-home order ends

FILE - In this April 16, 2020, file photo, vials containing nasal swabs collected at a COVID-19 drive-through testing site are dropped into a plastic bag to be sent off for processing. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

There were six new cases of novel coronavirus reported in Southeast Georgia since Thursday evening, including four new cases in Ware County, the state Department of Public Health reported Friday afternoon.

The statewide death toll was at 1,147 as of 12:30 p.m. Friday as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed a statewide shelter-in-place order to expire at midnight. Kemp is extending his emergency powers to June 12 and telling the elderly and medically fragile to stay at home until then.

Of the six Southeast Georgia counties tracked by News4Jax, Ware County has been hit the hardest, with a total of 125 cases reported. The county recorded its 11th coronavirus-related death Thursday night.

A total of 18 deaths have been reported in the region, which has 301 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Across the state, infections have been confirmed in 27,134 people, an increase of 870 since Thursday evening.

Last week, Kemp allowed elective medical procedures to resume, and barbers, hairstylists, massage therapists, tattoo artists and bowling alleys to go back to work beginning Friday. Restaurants were allowed to begin serving diners on-site again on Monday.

They and other businesses are operating under restrictions meant to slow down virus transmission through May 13. But Kemp’s moves drew sharp criticism from within the state and nationwide, including multiple public rebukes from President Donald Trump.

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