Georgia public health officials have confirmed more than 10,566 COVID-19 cases, and 379 deaths from the disease statewide.
This represents about a 3% increase over the numbers reported Wednesday evening, with deaths climbing by nine people.
Gov. Brian Kemp has closed public schools through the end of the academic year and ordered Georgia residents to shelter at home except for reasons such as work and grocery shopping. He has prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people and closed some businesses. Restaurants can only serve meals for takeout or delivery.
One of Kemp’s new executive orders on Wednesday seeks improvements at long-term care facilities. Several nursing homes have reported multiple fatalities, including one in Athens where 10 people have died.
The Georgia National Guard now has 36 infection control teams that have completed work at 67 facilities, Kemp said.
“There was a lack of consistent infection control being observed,” Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said.
Officials said the state’s stock of masks, gloves, shields and gowns has improved thanks to federal distributions and state purchases.
“I feel a lot better about (personal protective equipment) than I did a week or 10 days ago,” Kemp said. He said efforts to increase hospital beds show promise, citing the early opening of a just-completed building at Piedmont Healthcare’s Atlanta hospital.
Georgia AG Warns About Scams
Georgia’s attorney general’s office is again warning residents of scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The phone rings. The person on the other line gives you a first name, Devon, in this case, but no company name. Devon tells you you’ve qualified for a hardship program. He then leaves a number with an entirely different area code from the one he called from.
It’s something many people are reporting, as well as similar scams, some linked to a specific “case number.”
The attorney general’s office says websites, texts, robocalls–like Devon’ s–and emails are trying to steal your information in this stressful and chaotic time.
Remember, money from the federal government will be sent to most folks without having to register or give personal information–especially bank accounts. The AG’s office says don’t open or respond to unsolicited emails or texts.
Also, officials say avoid attached .exe files, notably ones that come in on COVID-19 emails claiming people in your area have the virus. The files can install malware –allowing scammers access to your computer.
Emory Is Testing A New Drug To Treat COVID-19
Emory University is starting human clinical trials on an antiviral drug that was discovered and developed by school researchers to potentially treat COVID-19.
In a release this week, Emory said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug, which can be taken orally.
It’s licensed to a biotech company headquartered in Miami called Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Officials say the drug was originally developed several years ago to fight a spectrum of viruses.
It has also shown results in animal testing against influenza.
VA Is Moving Vets; Families Protest
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it is moving dozens of residents from a nursing home in suburban Atlanta to protect them from new coronavirus outbreaks.
The agency says veterans are being moved from the Eagles’ Nest community living center, adjoining the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur.
Officials want to clear out space in the area in case the hospital needs it for an increase in COVID-19 patients.
Multiple news reports say the veterans’ families protest they had no voice in the decision and fear for their relatives’ safety in nursing homes elsewhere.
Delta Is Implementing Distancing On Flights
The relatively few flights Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines continues to fly are often sparsely occupied. But the airline is implementing social distancing among passengers anyway.
Delta says it’s limiting the number of seats it will sell on any given flight. It’s also boarding passengers ten at a time. And if there’s a silver lining in all this, it’s that no passenger will have to suffer the middle seat. Delta’s making them all off-limits.
The new provisions start next week and run until the end of May.