clearn.png
Sunday April 18th, 2021 3:41AM

Kemp: Use Labor Day caution after prior holiday virus spikes

By The Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp toured the state Friday urging Georgia residents to take health precautions over the Labor Day weekend, acknowledging spikes in coronavirus infections following prior holidays when people dropped their guard and celebrated in large crowds.

The Republican governor touted progress against COVID-19 during stops in Atlanta, Valdosta, Savannah and Augusta, saying hospitalizations are down and a smaller percentage of coronavirus tests are coming back positive.

But he also warned that a return to the sort of carefree behavior Georgia saw during Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations — when many congregated at backyard barbecues, lakes and beaches and ignored social distancing guidelines — could erase those gains.

“When you look at the charts, it’s abundantly clear that cases have spiked and hospitalizations have risen and deaths have increased after our holiday weekends,” Kemp told reporters at a private terminal where his plane landed in Savannah. "People forget that we are battling an invisible enemy and unfortunately many let their guard down.”

He said people going shopping or heading to parks and beaches should be mindful to avoid crowds, wear masks when social distancing isn't possible, wash their hands and follow other guidance from public health officials.

As of Friday, Georgia had more than 279,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 5,900 deaths. Infections have tripled statewide and deaths have doubled since Kemp traveled Georgia asking people to take similar safeguards before the Fourth of July.

Kemp said he still he opposes a statewide mandate that people wear masks in public — a step taken by 34 other states. Instead, he's encouraging people to wear them voluntarily.

"We’re asking Georgians, and I trust them to do the right thing,” Kemp said.

Standing behind the governor was Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who has been one of Kemp's most outspoken critics on masks.

Savannah was the first city in Georgia to require wearing masks. When Kemp issued an executive order July 15 voiding mask mandates enacted by at least 15 Georgia cities and counties, Johnson tweeted: “Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us.”

Kemp later revised his order to say local governments could require masks but could not impose them on private businesses without their consent.

Both Kemp and Johnson downplayed the feud Friday, saying they have policy differences but agree that people should take the virus seriously and protect themselves and others.

“I don’t think, during the middle of a pandemic, now is the time to point fingers at people," Kemp said when a reporter asked if infections would have been lower if state officials had shown support earlier for local mask mandates.

Johnson even gave Kemp a gift — a face mask with Savannah's logo printed on it.

Speaking to reporters after the governor departed, the mayor noted that Kemp had praised Savannah for reductions in infection rates and hospitalizations.

“You can draw that directly to the fact that Savannah had a mask ordinance before anyone else in the state,” Johnson said.

___

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Groups ask for restraining order to stop census wind-down
A day after the U.S. Census Bureau said that it has already taken steps to wind down operations for the 2020 census, a coalition of cities and civil rights groups is trying to stop the statistical agency in its tracks
2:13PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Biden slams Trump over alleged comments mocking US war dead
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declared President Donald Trump “unfit” for the presidency, delivering an impassioned reaction to a report that Trump _ who never served in uniform _ allegedly mocked American war dead
2:08PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Tiz the Law is a big favorite in a Derby unlike any other
In a Kentucky Derby postponed four months because of the coronavirus, Tiz the Law is the biggest favorite at 3-5 odds since 1989
1:55PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
No. 1 Clemson picked to win sixth straight ACC championship
Top-ranked Clemson is the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship for a sixth straight season
12:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Indictment accuses 12 of illegally trading shark fins, drugs
Federal authorities say they indicted 12 people and seized nearly $8 million in cash, jewels and precious metals after disrupting a criminal enterprise that dealt drugs and sold illegally harvested shark fins to buyers overseas
12:13PM ( 2 hours ago )
Georgia school chief: `Don't worry' if feds force testing
Georgia's state school superintendent is urging parents not to worry after the federal government says it plans to require standardized testing for students this school year despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic
7:30PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Groups ask for restraining order to stop census wind-down
A day after the U.S. Census Bureau said that it has already taken steps to wind down operations for the 2020 census, a coalition of cities and civil rights groups is trying to stop the statistical agency in its tracks
2:13PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Biden slams Trump over alleged comments mocking US war dead
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declared President Donald Trump “unfit” for the presidency, delivering an impassioned reaction to a report that Trump _ who never served in uniform _ allegedly mocked American war dead
2:08PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Tiz the Law is a big favorite in a Derby unlike any other
In a Kentucky Derby postponed four months because of the coronavirus, Tiz the Law is the biggest favorite at 3-5 odds since 1989
1:55PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Biden confirms virus test, says he'll be tested regularly
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is confirming that he’s been tested at least once for the COVID-19 virus and promised he will be tested regularly during his campaign against President Donald Trump
1:51PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Turkey sees highest daily death toll in months
The number of daily confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Turkey topped 50  _ the highest single-day fatality in the country since mid-May
1:49PM ( 39 minutes ago )