Governor Brian Kemp today extended the Public Health State of Emergency for Georgia through August 11. He also extended existing COVID-19 safety measures.
“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 in announcing his decision.
He made the announcement on a day when the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 79,417 cumulative COVID-19 cases in the state, an increase of 2,210 cases in just the past 24 hours.
The state’s highest ever single-day spike, came on Sunday when public health officials reported an increase of 2,225 new coronavirus cases.
On Friday, Kemp said he has no plans to impose new restrictions on Georgians and will not require people to wear masks. Still, the governor’s move is an acknowledgment that the COVID-19 pandemic is growing worse.
Kemp signed two executive orders on June 29. The first extends the Public Health State of Emergency through 11:59 p.m. on August 11. The existing state of emergency was set to expire on July 12. By extending his emergency declaration, Kemp makes it easier for the state to work across agencies and with the private sector to procure supplies, coordinate comprehensive testing, and provide healthcare capacity.
The governor also extended current statewide safety measures through mid-July. His latest order requires Georgians to continue to practice social distancing, bans crowds of more than fifty people unless they are socially distanced six feet apart, and extends the shelter-in-place order for long-term care residents and the medically fragile. Kemp’s order also outlines mandatory criteria for businesses.
These current restrictions were set to expire on Tuesday, June 30, but will now apply through at least July 15.
The governor also instructed the State Board of Education to follow the guidance of the Department of Public Health and American Academy of Pediatrics to provide “rules, regulations, and guidance” to local boards of education for operating public elementary and secondary schools.
Gov. Kemp says officials will continue to monitor ongoing cases and related data “to ensure that we are taking appropriate measures moving forward.” He is embarking on a statewide tour to encourage Georgians to follow public health guidance in combatting COVID-19 by “wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and practicing social distancing.”