Gov. Kemp to announce new guidance for Georgia businesses; COVID-19 cases pass 39,800

Statewide coronavirus death toll hits 1,697

Lester Crowell, managing partner of Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique, changes the letters of the salon's sign on Friday, April 24, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. (AP Photo/Ron Harris) (Ron Harris, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Gov. Brian Kemp said he plans to announce new guidance soon about Georgia businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with WSB-TV, Kemp said that state officials are aiming to make public new guidelines regarding businesses “over the next several days.”

“They’re wanting to open back those businesses, and people want to go participate in those activities, and I get that. We just got to make sure we do it in a way that’s safe for Georgians,” Kemp said.

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Georgia had 39,801 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. Of those cases, 1,080 were reported since 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported at least 1,687 people had died as of Wednesday evening, including 33 deaths that were reported in the last 30 hours.

Of the six Southeast Georgia counties tracked by News4Jax, Ware County has been hit the hardest, with 191 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths, including one that was reported Monday night.

In the region, there have been 482 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths.

For a full breakdown of all those Southeast Georgia counties, see the table below.

In the state of 10.6 million people, 402,940 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, with 9.9% of tests coming back positive.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.