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14 new COVID-19 cases reported in Southeast Georgia; state nears 2,000 deaths

More than 45,600 COVID-19 cases reported in Georgia

Vietnam veteran Robert Ingram, 74, walks down West Broad Street in downtown Sparta hit hard by COVID-19 on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Ingram's aunt survived coronavirus at Sparta Health and Rehab where multiple residents have died.(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

One day after Georiga Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state’s public health emergency and announced that bars and nightclubs would soon be able to reopen, the state surpassed 45,600 COVID-19 cases and neared 2,000 deaths, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported at 1 p.m. Friday that the state’s caseload reached 45,670, an increase of 600 cases in a span of 24 hours.

Since Wednesday afternoon, 67 additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,974 as of Friday afternoon, according to the health department.

In the six Southeast Georgia counties tracked by News4Jax, there were 14 new cases reported Friday. There have been 584 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths.

View the chart below for a full breakdown of Southeast Georgia counties:

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. have died.

Kemp said that using common sense and following health advice, including social distancing and wearing masks, will allow Georgians to get out of their homes safely and help spur the economy. He said people should patronize businesses that follow health restrictions and sanitation guidelines.

A seven-day moving average of confirmed cases provided by the health department shows the number of new daily cases in Georgia declining between April 22 and May 11, then beginning to trend back upward.

Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to allow businesses including tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to reopen in late April, despite warnings from public health experts that the move was too soon.

The public health state of emergency is now extended through July 12.

Beginning June 1, bars and nightclubs can reopen as long as they abide by strict sanitation and social distancing rules. Kemp said they must meet 39 mandatory measures to ensure patron wellbeing. They include:

  • Screening workers for illness
  • Limiting the number of people in the building to 25 people, or 35% of total occupancy
  • Requiring the facility to be thoroughly and regularly sanitized
  • Only serving drinks to seated patrons, or those in designated areas,
  • Limiting party size to six people
  • Preventing patrons from congregating

Live performance venues will remain closed, Kemp said.

Additionally, Kemp said the shelter in place order for Georgians who are 65 and older, or medically fragile, will continue through June 12. The order strongly encourages all Georgians to wear face coverings in public.

Also beginning June 1, overnight summer camps will be allowed to reopen if they meet 33 specific criteria for reopening.