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Gov. extends public health emergency, COVID cases rise

Staff Written News

By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor 

The State of Georgia is extending the public health emergency due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The new executive order extends the rules for business operations, social distancing guidelines, bans gatherings of 50 of more, and mandates shelter-in-place for the medically fragile until July 15. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is also embarking on a state tour before the Fourth of July weekend to encourage Georgians to wear masks in public as a record spike in coronavirus cases surges throughout Georgia.

“Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and continue to follow the guidance provided by public health officials,” said Kemp.

These actions come on the heels of more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases in Georgia last week. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, on Monday, June 29, the agency reported 2,207 new cases of the coronavirus, which was close to Sunday’s one-day record of 2,225 cases. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Georgia had set daily records for three straight days prior to Monday.”

As of press time, Morgan County has documented 49 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, zero deaths and six hospitalizations. 

In light of the spiking case numbers, Governor Kemp signed the executive order on Monday, mandating that the medically fragile and residents of long-term care facilities continue to quarantine and shelter-in-place until July 15. Gatherings of 50 or more are banned unless people can remain six feet apart. Governor Kemp also extended sanitation requirements and occupancy limits for open businesses. The public health emergency has been extended through Aug. 11. 

Kemp has ordered the State Board of Education to draw up a new set of rules to help local education officials who in the process of crafting plans to reopen schools. 

Regionally, cases are also trending upward. 

According to GDPH, Greene County has 97 confirmed cases, nine deaths and 20 hospitalizations. Putnam County has 142 cases, 12 deaths, and 22 hospitalizations. Jasper County has 66 confirmed cases, one death and eight hospitalizations. Oconee County has 148 confirmed cases, with 10 deaths and 23 hospitalizations. Walton County has 383 confirmed cases with 28 deaths and 57 hospitalizations. Newton County has 571 confirmed cases, resulting in 11 deaths and 86 hospitalizations.  Morgan County cases combined with surrounding counties total 1456 confirmed cases, 71 deaths, and 222 hospitalizations. 

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