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Georgia governor declares public health emergency

66 reported cases of COVID-19 in Georgia as of Saturday afternoon

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(AP photo/Evan Vucci)

As of Saturday afternoon, there were 66 reported cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health

“Many of these cases have no connection to travel and the capacity of our healthcare system remains at the forefront of my mind,” Gov. Brian Kemp said during a morning news conference.

During the news conference, Kemp said he was declaring a public health emergency.

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“I will declare a public health emergency for the state of Georgia, this declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by deploying all available resources for mitigation and treatment of COVID-19," Kemp said.

The move came as one of the state’s marquee events joins the growing list of canceled events over fears of coronavirus infections. The Augusta National Golf Club on Friday said it would postpone The Masters golf tournament.

Kemp said in a statement that the declaration would allow resources to be marshaled for treatment and mitigation of the virus.

An interactive map of Georgia’s identified coronavirus patients shows they are highly concentrated around metro Atlanta.