ATLANTA – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is in quarantine after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, but he has tested negative for the virus, his spokesman said.
In a statement on Twitter, Cody Hall said the governor’s office was told Monday that someone the governor had been near when he was touring storm damage Saturday in the town of Newnan tested positive Monday.
The governor took a “rapid-response antigen test” Monday and it was negative, Hall said. Those tests provide quick on-site results and are less expensive to administer than the more widely used molecular tests, but the tests are deemed less accurate.
This is the second time Kemp has had to go into quarantine over exposure to the virus. Last year he was exposed at a campaign event. On Friday, the governor was vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson shot.
The news comes as the governor is planning to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the state. Kemp said his administration will outline plans to rescind remaining coronavirus restrictions including capacity limits, restrictions on large-scale gatherings and dozens of safety guidelines for restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other venues, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The move is a “critical step” in moving the state back to normalcy, Kemp said. He points to recent declines of new infections and rising numbers of Georgians getting vaccinated.
“Georgians know the right thing to do,” Kemp said. “They know the value in best practices, but they also can’t wait to return to their normal life. Loosening these restrictions is the next critical step in that process, and it signals an even bigger light at the end of the tunnel.”
The changes are expected to take effect Thursday, the newspaper reported.
Georgia joins Texas, Mississippi and other states in easing their restrictions in recent weeks.