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WABE’s Week In Review: Childcare Worker Shortage, Mask Mandates And Medicaid Expansion

The CDC updated its mask guidance Tuesday to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of COVID. That includes nearly two-thirds of all U.S. counties – and almost all of Georgia.
The CDC updated its mask guidance Tuesday to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of COVID. That includes nearly two-thirds of all U.S. counties – and almost all of Georgia.
Credit David J. Phillip / AP Photo

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a mask mandate this week. It requires people wear face masks in indoor public spaces in the city, including in private businesses. The mandate comes as we are seeing a delta-variant fueled rise in COVID-19 cases in the city and across the country.

The mandate move is a similar to last year’s which kicked off a high-profile fight with state leaders. Gov. Brian Kemp eventually allowed local government to issue certain mask rules if infection rates were high enough.

But Kemp said this week he does not plan to issue a statewide mask mandate or restrict businesses or activities as COVID-19 cases rise statewide.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was the first in the state to re-instate a mask mandate in his city.

Who will watch the kids? 

“Childcare has done a great job during the pandemic,” says DECAL’s Deputy Commissioner for Childcare Services Pam Stevens. “We haven’t had huge outbreaks and kids remained safe. They took a lot of precautions, and we really saw how important the role of childcare is in communities.” CREDIT BELLS FERRY LEARNING PROGRAM

Georgia childcare centers are struggling to hire and keep staff members, despite federal stimulus money.  

Warnock and Ossoff push to expand Medicaid

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, arrive for the signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock, shown, and Jon Ossoff on Wednesday wrote a letter saying they want the federal government to find a way to provide health insurance coverage to people in their state of Georgia and 11 other states that haven’t agreed to expand the Medicaid program. CREDIT Evan Vucci/ AP

U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are pushing a plan to create a federal Medicaid look-alike program to extend health coverage to low-income Georgians. Both say the plan was inspired, in part, by the pandemic.

Also in this episode: 

–Stephannie Stokes reports on Fulton County officials warning tenants to be ready for the end of the federal eviction moratorium.

–Johnny Kauffman has more on the guilty plea of the man who killed eight people in multiple mass shootings in March.

–Emma Hurt reports on the issues of the commercial space industry and how one remote Georgia island is dramatically impacted by it.