The unprecedented public health emergency in Georgia will last at least another month.
Gov. Brian Kemp and legislative leaders said Wednesday they will continue the emergency through May 13 in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston said they agreed the public health emergency should renewed, and they agreed not to request a second special session of the General Assembly, which previously was set tentatively for April 15.
“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 health care facilities,” Kemp said.
Georgia had 9,156 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, including 1,899 that have required hospitalization.
Some 348 cases have proven fatal.
In Newton County, 67 residents have contracted the illness and three have died. The three deaths were males ages 85, 77 and 61. Two of the males were confirmed to have had underlying health conditions, while the third remains unknown.
Public health officials have said citizens sheltering in place, leaving their homes only for essential business, will help reduce the number of cases. Across the nation, citizens are urged to keep 6 feet of distance between each other and avoid crowds of 10 or more.
“We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing and helping us flatten the curve,” Kemp said. “We are in this fight together.”
Duncan said Georgia is in an “aggressive fight” against the illness.
“By extending the public health state of emergency, we can ensure Georgians have access to every available state resource during this crisis.”
Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he expects Georgia to prevail after the pandemic.
“While we have difficult days ahead, we continue to coordinate with both local and federal partners in responding to needs as they arise,” he said. “As Georgians, we will persevere and emerge stronger on the other side.”