LILBURN, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared Friday that the state is seeing great headway in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, even as he said Georgia is experiencing an uptick in confirmed cases and battling hot spots in several areas.
Data released later Friday shows that the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections rose to 1,184. That’s the highest number since May 8 and a 51% increase since the number of hospitalized people bottomed out on June 7.
Georgia’s total confirmed infections rose to nearly 73,000 Friday, though experts say counts likely capture only a fraction of those infected, and the state has been averaging more than 1,200 new confirmed infections a day over the past 14 days. That’s substantially higher than the earlier peak in late April.
The Republican governor said during a news conference Friday, after touring a drive-through testing site, that “we’re not letting our guard down. We’ve got to continue to fight hard every day, continue to jump on the hot spots, and that’s what we’re seeing a lot of in the state right now."
Kemp cited a nursing home issue in Troop County, tied “mainly to workers in the flooring industry” and a flare-up among farm workers in south Georgia. He said he's not considering requiring people to wear masks in public or imposing any other new restrictions, saying the ones in place are sufficient.
While Georgia's universities are planning a resumption of on-campus instruction, some of the state's largest K-12 school systems are announcing that parents can choose whether their students return in-person or learn remotely from home.
The state's largest school system, Gwinnett County, announced Thursday that parents should choose at-home or remote instruction by July 10 for classes resuming Aug. 5. People will be able to change their decision after the first quarter of the school year, and the 180,000-student system could reconsider the arrangement after December.
Cobb County schools announced a similar arrangement, saying that for students attending in person, masks will be “encouraged" on buses and at school and social distancing will be enforced. The Cobb system said it will provide hand sanitizer and clean buildings daily
The 51,000-student Forsyth County system announced a similar plan last week, while the Rockdale County school system says it will use a combination of online and in-person learning
Amy reported from Atlanta.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.