Coronavirus

Kemp to send more troops to hospitals amid coronavirus surge

Kemp to send more troops to hospitals amid coronavirus surge

Gov. Brian Kemp committed up to 2,500 Georgia National Guard troops Monday to fighting the surge of COVID-19 cases across the state. While the 105 Guard members Kemp deployed to 10 hard-hit hospitals last week were medically trained, the newly assigned troops will be given non-medical assignments, the governor said. He said hospital executives have told him they need help with such tasks as directing traffic, staffing cafeterias and cleaning rooms. “It’s a real morale booster to let the people working in the hospitals know we’re listening to them,” Kemp said. The additional commitment came as COVID-19 cases continued to…
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‘Everybody is acting as if nothing is going on’ despite coronavirus surge

‘Everybody is acting as if nothing is going on’ despite coronavirus surge

Cases of COVID-19 in Georgia have surged to levels not seen since the virus peaked last January, a public health expert warned this week. New cases statewide are nearing 8,000 a day, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Of Georgians being tested for COVID-19, 17.2% are turning up positive, Dr. Janet Memark, district health director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health, said Thursday during an online forum sponsored by the Georgia House Democratic Caucus. The community is considered safe when fewer than 5% of test results are positive, she said. Memark blamed the delta variant, which is much…
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Georgia National Guard deployed to hospitals as COVID-19 surges

Georgia National Guard deployed to hospitals as COVID-19 surges

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is calling in the National Guard to help ease the strain of a COIVD-19 surge and a nursing shortage on Georgia's ailing hospitals. Kemp will deploy 105 personnel to hospitals throughout the state. These trained medical personnel will assist staff at the following hospitals: ▪ Southeast Georgia Health System, Brunswick▪ Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville▪ Wellstar Kennestone, Marietta▪ Piedmont Henry, Stockbridge▪ Phoebe Putney, Albany▪ Memorial Health University Medical Center, Savannah▪ Navicent Health, Macon▪ Grady Hospital, Atlanta▪ Piedmont Fayette, Fayetteville▪ Houston Medical Center, Warner Robins “These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality…
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Georgia schools chief shares his experience being hospitalized with COVID-19

Georgia schools chief shares his experience being hospitalized with COVID-19

The following is a column by Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods about his experience being hospitalized after catching a breakthrough case of COVID-19. As school started last year, I made it a point to be out on the frontlines to hear directly from our students, teachers, and school leaders. I was in more than seventy schools – likely more than any other Georgian.  Schools in different parts of the state were deploying similar and different practices to mitigate COVID-19. All these efforts were undertaken with the intent of keeping in-person teaching and learning going. Despite different approaches, I felt safe in every…
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Democratic lawmakers to Kemp: ‘Start invalidating anti-vaccine rhetoric’

Democratic lawmakers to Kemp: ‘Start invalidating anti-vaccine rhetoric’

Nine Georgia House of Representatives democrats penned a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods urging them to "come off the sidelines" with regard to masks and the coronavirus vaccine. Kemp has been an outspoken supporter of both wearing masks and the COVID-19 vaccine, but has pushed back on all efforts to mandate either. House democrats are asking him to both mandate masks and stop pushing back against vaccine verification. “The most powerful step the governor can take to prevent illness and deaths is to start being active rather than passive,” said these members of…
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Four Georgia mayors challenge Kemp on mask mandates

Four Georgia mayors challenge Kemp on mask mandates

The Democratic mayors of four Georgia cities are asking Gov. Brian Kemp to impose a mask mandate inside state buildings to show he is interested in the health of Georgians as well as the economy. An open letter sent to the Republican governor Friday by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz came one day after Kemp issued an executive order prohibiting local governments from imposing any restrictions related to COVID-19. Kemp cited the need to protect small businesses from government interference. “As mayors representing nearly 10% of Georgia’s…
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Kemp halts mask mandates by local governments

Kemp halts mask mandates by local governments

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday prohibiting local governments in Georgia from imposing mask mandates to discourage the spread of COVID-19. The cities of Atlanta and Savannah reinstated mask mandates late last month for public indoor spaces, citing a rise in cases of the virus driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Some school districts in Georgia also are requiring students and teachers to wear masks inside school buildings. While Kemp has supported letting individual school systems make those decisions, he said his executive order is aimed at businesses. “Small businesses across our state should not be punished…
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McIntosh County schools take a ‘brief pause’ due to COVID spread

McIntosh County schools take a ‘brief pause’ due to COVID spread

The McIntosh County School system will take a "brief pause" until Sept. 7 due to the spread of coronavirus in the area. Superintendent Jim Pulos announced the news in a message to parents. The message is posted below in its entirety. The McIntosh County School System will take a brief pause to allow for students and staff to recover from the impact of a high rate of COVID infections that we are experiencing throughout our community. The delta variant is extremely contagious and our high rate of infections is something that we must address immediately to stop the spread.  Effective…
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Cobb County requires masks in government buildings

Cobb County requires masks in government buildings

After meeting with Public Health officials, and learning of the increase in Covid-19 cases within the county workforce, Cobb County Manager, Dr. Jackie McMorris, announced that masks will be required for anyone entering county facilities effective this Friday. “As the result of what is going on across the nation, the region, and of course here in Cobb, we’ve had to make some tough decisions on what we are going to do here in Cobb County Government,” Dr. McMorris said. The requirement extends to Cobb County employees as well as visitors, contractors, and vendors.  Those inside county facilities will be asked to wear…
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Help is on the way for Georgia hospitals swamped with COVID patients

Help is on the way for Georgia hospitals swamped with COVID patients

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is doubling the staffing help that the state is sending to hospitals grappling with shortages of nurses, respiratory therapists and other workers amid the latest COVID-19 surge. The staffing help expands the supply of temporary workers that the state is providing from 1,300 to 2,800, Kemp told a news conference Monday. It will be executed through the continuation of the state’s no-bid contract with a private Alpharetta-based staffing firm, Jackson Healthcare and its HWL subsidiary, state officials said. GHN recently reported that the contract, which began with the first wave of COVID in Georgia last year, has…
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COVID surge forces Glynn County to close government buildings

COVID surge forces Glynn County to close government buildings

Government buildings in Glynn County will be closed to the public again due to the coronavirus surge. The county will close buildings to the public beginning on Monday. The Special Called Commission Meeting on Tuesday, August 17 and the Regular Commission Meeting on August 19 will continue in person due to scheduled public hearings. The Island Planning Commission meeting on August 17 will also continue in person as scheduled. Masks and temperature checks will be required to attend the meetings Future meetings will return to a virtual format. The following buildings will be closed to the public. ·         W. Harold Pate Courthouse…
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‘They can’t take it anymore:’ Nurse shortage complicates COVID surge

‘They can’t take it anymore:’ Nurse shortage complicates COVID surge

Across Georgia on Wednesday, dozens of hospitals were reporting severe ER crowding and various forms of “diversion ” — sending patients elsewhere due to capacity problems. The Delta variant of COVID-19, sweeping through the state, is rapidly increasing case numbers and hospitalizations. But exacerbating the current patient crunch is the ever-worsening shortage of health care workers in the state, especially nurses. Those shortages are hamstringing the ability of hospitals to respond to the medical crisis. The nursing shortage in the state is worse than ever, Matt Caseman, CEO of the Georgia Nurses Association, said Wednesday. Many of the RNs who…
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Masks now required at all Fulton County Schools

Masks now required at all Fulton County Schools

In response to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Fulton County, the school system is now requiring students at all schools to mask up. According to school officials, there has been a significant increase in cases across the county. All cities within the Fulton County Schools jurisdiction are now above 100 per 100,000 positive COVID-19 cases. According to the new data, all cities are being identified as high community spread by public health officials. Effective tomorrow, the school system will expand its mask mandate to all schools, including the schools and facilities within Johns Creek. In addition, after receiving additional…
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More Georgians are getting vaccinated

More Georgians are getting vaccinated

As the Delta variant drives a relentless COVID-19 surge, Georgia’s vaccination rate has picked up steam. A Washington Post analysis, based on CDC data, reported Tuesday that the state’s rate of new doses administered climbed 26 percent over the past week. The national vaccination rate rose 8 percent during the same time. Georgia has seen a spike in infections — especially in the southern part of the state — and had the ninth-most confirmed COVID cases per capita among the states and D.C. over the past week, the Post analysis shows. Meanwhile, the state reported more than 7,000 new COVID…
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Kemp says he won’t mandate or prohibit masks in schools

Kemp says he won’t mandate or prohibit masks in schools

Gov. Brian Kemp Friday defended his decision not to impose mask-wearing or vaccination mandates on Georgians to stem the latest surge in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “I don’t believe we need to have a dictatorship in government telling what local school systems need to do, what private businesses need to do, what nonprofits need to do, or what individuals should do,” Kemp said during an appearance at Ball Ground Elementary School in Cherokee County to mark the start of a new school year. “Individuals need to make the best decision they can.” Kemp said Georgians seem to be getting…
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