GA Coronavirus: Metro Schools Close, First Death, State Workers
Most metro Atlanta school districts have already closed schools indefinitely, and Gov. Kemp created an Emergency Preparedness Committee.
ATLANTA, GA — After Gov. Brian Kemp announced the in 12 counties around Georgia, Kemp said.
Kemp said Thursday afternoon that a person in Cobb County died from the new coronavirus. The 67-year-old man was hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 7, authorities said. In addition to being infected with coronavirus disease, the victim also had underlying medical conditions, a news release said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults (age 60 or older) and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
Related: , Johns Hopkins reported Thursday evening. Of that total, more than 80,000 confirmed cases are in China五福彩票6688下载, while the entire United States had 1,663 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning. There have been 40 U.S. deaths tied to the virus outbreak.
There are six new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia as of Thursday morning, Kemp said in the release. One person is a resident of Lee County and is hospitalized. The source of the infection is unknown.
Another patient is a resident of Cobb County and is hospitalized. That person has a history of travel outside the United States.
One person is from Floyd County and is hospitalized. The source of the infection is unknown.
Three of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 are residents of Bartow County. Two patients are hospitalized and the sources of the infections are unknown at this time. The third person is not hospitalized, and while the source of the infection is unknown, that person does share a connection with the patient from Floyd County.
School districts across Georgia have been preparing for potential closures for several weeks. The Georgia Department of Education urged districts to develop a plan to continue student learning should they need to close, using resources such as study packets, cable access, virtual school/online classes, etc. Georgia Department of Education's office of Teaching and Learning has compiled virtual educational resources that are available at .
In response many districts have closed, delayed or cancelled school, including:
- Fulton County Schools: Effective Monday, March 16, Fulton County Schools, including all schools and administrative offices, will be closed until further notice.
- Gwinnett County Schools: Friday, March 13, is a scheduled student/teacher holiday for Gwinnett County Public Schools. For the week of March 16-20, GCPS will hold Digital Learning Days. On Thursday, March 19, the school system will announce its plans for March 23-27, following a thorough review of the COVID-19 situation at that time.
- Cobb County Schools: Effective Monday, March 16, Cobb County Schools, including all schools and administrative offices, will be closed until further notice.
- Cherokee County Schools: Cherokee County School District schools and offices will be closed for two weeks from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. CCSD will use Digital Learning Days during this closure to continue teaching and learning.
- DeKalb County Schools: Effective Monday, March 16, DeKalb County Schools, including all schools and administrative offices, will be closed until further notice.
- Atlanta Public Schools: Effective Monday, March 16, Atlanta Public Schools, including all schools and administrative offices, will be closed until further notice.
- Hall County Schools: Beginning Monday, March 16, the Hall County School District will conduct school from 五福彩票6688下载 for one week
- Bartow County Schools: Bartow County Schools will be closed to all students and staff March 16, through March 27. Staff, if healthy, should report tomorrow, March 13. Student attendance is optional tomorrow, March 13, and bus routes will operate on a normal schedule.
- Douglas County Schools: All schools and school system offices will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27. All students and employees will return on Monday, March 30.
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Food insecurity for students who rely on school meals is a major concern if extended school closures become necessary, officials said. Georgia Department of Education has sought approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for alternate meal service flexibility in the case of extended closures. This would allow schools to serve students meals at approved sites within the community. USDA has said it will review these waiver requests quickly in light of concerns about COVID-19. Georgia Department of Education will inform local districts and schools as soon as it receive USDA's response.
Local school systems have already implemented some limited closures in specific areas to deal with recent presumed positive and confirmed cases of COVID-19. During the press conference, Kemp said day cares, schools, and school districts have the freedom to implement further closures as early as Friday, March 13, for the next two weeks.
"The Georgia Department of Education, University System of Georgia, Technical College System, and local school leaders have been invaluable partners to determine the best measures to protect students, teachers, and administrators," Kemp said. "We believe in local control for all systems when it comes to making the best decisions for their communities. They have flexibility, and regardless of whether they stay open or decide to close, we will support their decision."
Effective Monday, March 16, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks, the system announced Thursday afternoon. This will allow time for the colleges and universities to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules, and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus in Georgia.
Specific State Department Directives
At this time, state government and the Georgia State Capitol will remain open. However, Kemp is immediately suspending nonessential travel and implementing telework policies for most state employees.
Until April 10, the Departments of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Veterans 五福彩票6688下载 facilities will suspend visitation except for next of kin in end-of-life situations.
"This decision wasn't made lightly," Kemp said. "These populations are in close contact, some with underlying health conditions that - if exposed to COVID-19 - could result in serious medical problems or cause widespread infection to those in close proximity."
New Coronavirus Task Force Committees:
- Emergency Preparedness Committee: Chaired by General John King, this committee will analyze the availability of necessary supplies and evaluate logistical needs. Their job will be to lay the groundwork for supply chain needs in the weeks ahead.
- Economic Impact Committee: Chaired by State Economist Jeffrey Dorfman, this committee will work with leaders in academia, business, and lawmakers on preparing for the short-and-long-term impacts of the virus on the Georgia economy.
- Primary Care Physicians Committee: Chaired by State Senator Ben Watson (R - Savannah), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human 五福彩票6688下载, this committee of public and private healthcare experts will work to ensure that the best decisions are being made for the healthcare community as they mitigate this crisis.
- Committee for the 五福彩票6688下载less and Displaced: Chaired by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, this committee will ensure adequate shelter, resources, and care for vulnerable populations in Georgia.
All Georgians should follow basic prevention measures suggested by the Georgia Department of Public Health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay 五福彩票6688下载 when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is important for you to prepare now in the event of community outbreak of COVID-19. Be ready to stay at 五福彩票6688下载 for an extended period to limit your exposure to the virus. Ask your health care provider about having extra prescription medication on hand and stock up on over-the-counter medicines to treat fevers and other symptoms. Be sure you have two weeks of household items, groceries and water so you do not have to leave 五福彩票6688下载.
If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and develop fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay 五福彩票6688下载 and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor's office, emergency room or urgent care center, and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
For information about the new coronavirus, visit the or the .