By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Public health emergency declared in Georgia due to coronavirus as number of cases shows largest increase in 24 hours
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is depicted in an illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020. - photo by Associated Press

We know that you need accurate and up-to-date information about the effects of the coronavirus in the state and our region. The Forsyth County News is making this article available free to non-subscribers as a public service. Please consider subscribing to the Forsyth County News.

Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency for the state of Georgia Saturday morning.

“This declaration will greatly assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by deploying all available resources for mitigation and treatment of COVID-19,” Kemp said.

As of Saturday morning, he said there are 64 COVID-19 cases in Georgia, which is the state’s largest increase in over a 24-hour period. There are no confirmed cases in Forsyth.

Coronavirus testing in the state has been limited. Kemp said the state lab is increasing capacity. 

Local Department of Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer said Friday that criteria to get tested included both travel history or exposure to a confirmed positive case and having symptoms of the virus. 

“We’re not in a position to have widespread testing right now, so we’re having to kind of manage the testing and make sure that we can test those people who need to be tested,” Palmer said.

Kemp said there are cases with no known cause in the state.

“Right now we’re processing 100 specimens per day, and by the end of the week we will double it to 200 per day with the addition of new equipment and staffing,” Kemp said.

He assured the public the state will continue working closely with local health care providers, local government officials, private labs, emergency responders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal counterparts. 

The state is in the process of establishing independent test sites in every major region in Georgia. Kemp said the specific locations are expected to be announced early next week. 

Out of an abundance of caution, he said that he has worked with the Georgia General Assembly to appropriate $100 million in emergency funding to address the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.