Governor Stops Short Of Mandating But Encourages Use Of Masks

D'Ann Lawrence White

ATLANTA, GA — After a record-setting day for coronavirus cases in Georgia Friday (1,900 cases), health officials reported a slight decrease Saturday with 1,549 new cases for the day.

This is the fifth straight day that Georgia has reported more than 1,000 new cases.

Nevertheless, Gov. Brian Kemp said he isn't prepared to mandate the wearing of face masks as has been the case in 18 other states including North Carolina. On Wednesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued the executive order mandating masks for employees and customers at all businesses in the state.

Kemp said he strongly encourages the use of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and is setting the example by wearing his own mask as he visits communities around the state.

“Mandating that I think is a bridge too far for me right now,” Kemp said at a news conference Friday. “We have to have the public buy in. We have asked our citizens to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. It’s a virus. It’s going to spread. We’re not going to stop if from happening.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported a cumulative total of 74,985 cases of the coronavirus Saturday with 2,776 deaths, six more since Friday, which is good news. Over the last two weeks, Georgia has had about 23 coronavirus deaths a day.

The previous record for most new cases reported in a day was a week ago Saturday with 1,800 new cases.

Georgia also reported 10,689 hospitalizations Saturday and 2,261 admissions to intensive-care units.

The state continues to increase testing for the coronavirus with 942,033 tests administered so far with an 8.2 percent positive rate.

Counties in or near metro Atlanta continue to have the highest number of cases, with Gwinnett still in the lead.

  • Gwinnett County: 7,604 confirmed cases
  • Fulton County: 6,506 confirmed cases
  • DeKalb County: 5,404 confirmed cases
  • Cobb County: 4,526 confirmed cases
  • Hall County: 3,101 confirmed cases

Counties in or near metro Atlanta also continue to have the highest number of deaths.

  • Fulton County: 311 deaths
  • Cobb County: 239 deaths
  • DeKalb County: 171 deaths
  • Gwinnett County: 169 deaths
  • Dougherty County: 154 deaths

Globally, more than 9.6 million people have been infected by COVID-19, and more than 491,000 people have died, Johns Hopkins University reported Friday. In the United States, more than 2.4 million people have been infected and nearly 125,000 people have died from COVID-19.

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This article originally appeared on the Across Georgia Patch