GEORGIA — As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations climb throughout Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has once again extended restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing and sheltering-in-place.
On Wednesday, Kemp renewed existing COVID-19 safety measures. The executive order continues to require social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is 6 feet between each person, outlines mandatory operating criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile. The order runs through 11:59 p.m. on July 31.
Georgia's public health state of emergency was extended last month through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 11. The public health state of emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing, and healthcare capacity.
Face masks are not required in Georgia, but are strongly encouraged except when eating, drinking, or exercising outdoors, according to the executive order.
The executive order also outlines that local jurisdictions cannot set mandates that are stricter than the state regulations, as many cities, including Atlanta, continue to do so.
Georgia reported nearly 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Wednesday's daily report, the seventh time the number of new coronavirus cases has surpassed 3,000 since the pandemic began.
The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a total of 127,834 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday. That's 3,871 more than was reported at the same time Tuesday. Georgia's record for most new COVID-19 cases in a day is 4,484, set on July 10.
Georgia also reported 3,091 deaths so far from COVID-19, 37 more that reported Tuesday. In addition, the state reported 14,102 hospitalizations — 417 more than the day before — and 2,702 admissions to intensive-care units.
As of Wednesday, more than 1.3 million Georgians have been tested for COVID-19, with about 14 percent of those tests the less reliable ones used to detect antibodies.
The renewed restrictions also comes on the same day that Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, mandated that shoppers wear masks starting on July 20.
Meanwhile, as the number of Georgia cases continues to spike, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged help to Atlanta in the form of contact tracers and supplies. On July 10 — the day Georgia set a one-day record for most new COVID-19 cases — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms rolled the city back to Phase 1 status, which includes shelter in place and mandated masks. Those restrictions clashed with Kemp's more relaxed standards, which led to a public sniping between the two.
All Georgia statistics are available on the state's COVID-19 website.
Globally, more than 13.4 million people have been infected by COVID-19, and more than 580,000 people have died, Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday.
In the United States, more than 3.4 million people have been infected and nearly 137,000 people have died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday. The U.S. has only about 4 percent of the world's population but more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country.