Update: At a press conference at 4 p.m. today, Governor Kemp announced that he is extending Georgia’s shelter-in-place order until April 30.
Governor Brian Kemp is extending the public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The executive order was previously set to expire on April 13.
The declaration, first issued on March 14, facilitates the deployment of all available resources for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19. It also allows the Department of Public Health to direct specific healthcare action in extraordinary circumstances.
Governor Kemp’s shelter-in-place mandate, also set to expire on April 13, has not been extended yet. However, his staff told WSB-TV that an extension is likely.
“To ensure the health and well-being of Georgians, I will extend the public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020,” said Governor Kemp. “This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers, and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our healthcare facilities.”
“We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing, and helping us flatten the curve. We are in this fight together,” he continued.
Governor Kemp also asked for continued prayers for Georgians, especially first responders, law enforcement, and the healthcare workers. “They are going above and beyond to keep us all safe, and we will never be able to repay them for their sacrifices,” he said.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been 9,156 confirmed cases in Georgia, 1,899 people hospitalized and 348 deaths. In Fulton County alone, 1,185 people have been diagnosed with the virus and 39 people have died.
This week, the state partnered with CVS to open a rapid testing site near Georgia Tech at 352 Peachtree Place. The testing is conducted using the new Abbott ID NOW™ COVID-19 test, which recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes.
A spokesperson for CVS said that several hundred people have been tested so far. The goal is to administer tests to 1,000 people daily.
“Increased access to rapid testing remains one of our top priorities in order to identify more cases, get Georgians the care they need, and prevent further infection in our communities,” said Governor Kemp. “This unique, public-private partnership will strengthen our testing capability as we continue to take the fight to COVID-19 in Georgia, and we are grateful for CVS Health’s support to stop the spread of the virus.”
Rapid COVID-19 testing is available at the CVS site to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to state residency and age guidelines. Patients will need to pre-register in advance online at CVS.com in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.
The CDC offers a self-checker tool online for people who need help determining if they should seek medical help and testing.