Kemp extends COVID-19 executive order as cases rise

In response to a rising number of cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has extended his executive order requiring social distancing measures.

The order was set to expire June 30 and has been extended through July 15.

The order requires social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person, outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile.

The order also outlines that the State Board of Education must provide “rules, regulations, and guidance for the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for local boards of education” in accordance with guidance from Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the Department of Public Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Kemp acknowledged that not only was Georgia seeing an increase in cases, but that hospitalizations were also rising throughout the state.

“While we continue to see a decreasing case fatality rate, expanded testing, and adequate hospital surge capacity, in recent days, Georgia has seen an increase in new cases reported and current hospitalizations,” Kemp said. “Given these trends, I am extending previous COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines that were due to expire on June 30 at 11:59 PM. Dr. Kathleen Toomey and the Department of Public Health, along with our local public health partners, will continue to monitor ongoing cases and related data to ensure that we are taking appropriate measures moving forward. Together, we can win the fight against COVID-19 and emerge stronger.”

Kemp also extended the public health state of emergency until August 11.

On Monday, Georgia posted its second consecutive day with more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases and its eighth consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide is 79,417. The state also reported 113 new hospitalizations for the virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 10,824 statewide.

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