Coronavirus Updates: Georgia Hits 300K Coronavirus Tests, But Still Falling Short

A sign asked people to maintain social distance as they enjoy the warm weather on the Beltline earlier this month.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Georgia officials reported Friday that the state has surpassed 300,000 coronavirus tests, though that still represents a small fraction of Georgia’s overall population.

The state health department had received just under 301,900 test results as of Friday evening. Of those, roughly 36,700 were positive for the virus. The state’s death toll from the virus was just over 1,580.

Gov. Brian Kemp said the state was “moving the needle on testing” everyday. Georgia went from 200,000 reported tests to 300,000 in a matter of ten days, according to Kemp.

But the latest testing figure still represents less than 3 percent of the state’s population. And an Associated Press analysis found Georgia was among 41 states that are falling short of the COVID-19 testing levels that public health experts say are necessary to safely ease lockdowns and avoid another deadly wave of outbreaks.

Parks And Outdoor Attractions Reopen – With Restrictions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s OK to visit parks close to home — with caveats — bring hand sanitizer, practice social distancing, and avoid crowded areas. Don’t go if you’re sick or have been exposed to the coronavirus recently. No playgrounds, no organized sports.

Around Atlanta — all the trails at the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield are open, as are some parking areas.

City of Atlanta parks are open, though not for team sports, and the same goes for many counties. To try to reduce crowds, the BeltLine is still asking people to only use it at certain times — early morning for older adults and people who could be more susceptible to COVID-19 and midday for general use.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden plans to reopen a week from Saturday, and Zoo Atlanta will reopen this Saturday.

Democratic Caucus Urging Georgians To Stay Home 

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus is urging all Georgians to continue sheltering in place despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to begin re-opening the state for business.

During a “virtual” news conference Thursday, Georgia House Minority leader, Bob Trammel said the Caucus is also going to push for Medicaid expansion in the state.

“We would call upon the General Assembly and the Governor to expand Medicaid and make available the coverage that could cover over 600-thousand Georgians under the Affordable Care Act. It’s never been more important than it is now and we need this to be a priority as we resume the legislative session,” he said.

The House Democrats say they will also ask Attorney General Chris Carr to withdraw Georgia from a lawsuit aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act.

The Democratic lawmakers say the ACA will play a major role in the battle against COVID-19.

NASCAR Is Coming Back To Atlanta

NASCAR will be one of the first sports to come back to Atlanta.

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, which was scheduled for March, is now set for June 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

But there will be no fans in the stands.

And that might not matter to the TV audience because auto racing has one thing other sports don’t: cars noise. That often drowns out the cheers and boos over the airwaves.

NASCAR is still one of America’s most popular in-person sporting events even though attendance has been declining for years.

The races now scheduled through late June, all in the South, will be run without fans in the stands.

Atlanta Mayor Deliberates On Camp

On her weekly call with the City Council, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said virtual summer camps are a possibility.

Mayor Bottoms hasn’t said if she’s decided to open up Atlanta’s city-run summer day camps as stay-at-home orders are being eased in the state.

“We’re also exploring some options on how we can get devices and Wi-Fi access to our kids in the event that some of our camps need to be conducted virtually,” she said.

Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed day camps to open. They will have to follow health guidelines to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Those include social distancing and limiting groups to no more than 20 people.

Parents will also have to stay in their cars when dropping off children.