Governor Brian Kemp answers questions during a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda on May 7. Screen grab
Yesterday Governor Brian Kemp gave a press briefing at the State Capitol to address the current progress of defeating the coronavirus in Georgia. His comments were encouraging as we move forward as a state in what has been a difficult time. See the video of the briefing here.
The governor said, “We are living in unprecedented times here in Georgia and across the country. COVID-19 has threatened our health and well-being. This deadly virus has rocked our economy. While we have experienced some dark days on this journey, I am encouraged by our progress in this war. Most Georgians are taking this pandemic seriously – wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and following the CDC guidelines. I’m confident that if we remain vigilant, we will emerge from this stronger, more united, and victorious.”
He went on to say, “I’m proud to report that we are seeing record highs in testing. Thanks to Georgia’s partnership with Augusta University, our university system, the private sector, and local public health officials, we’ve doubled our daily testing capacity and now have over 217,000 total tests reported to the state’s website. A few weeks ago, Georgia ranked 43rd out of 54 states and territories in testing per capita. Today, we are 29th according to the COVID-19 Mapping Project. Out of 23 states with more than five million people, we are now 12th in per capita testing. While I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, there’s more we can do to realize our full potential and enhance health outcomes.”
The governor talked about the successes to this point by saying, “Through our shelter-in-place order, we were able to slow the spread and strengthen our healthcare infrastructure. Because of your patience and your compliance, we reduced the amount of stress on our hospitals and their employees. Through this mitigation strategy, we were also able to enhance hospital bed capacity throughout Georgia.”
Again, we know the cases of COVID-19 numbers are increasing in part as more testing is done. The governor also said he will be monitoring any areas of the state that can become hot spots. For example, we know there have been several cases recently in Gainesville related to a chicken processing plant.
Current regulations regarding businesses and social gatherings are still in effect until May 13. The current shelter-in-place order and the general health order are still in effect until June 12. There are no changes regarding churches.
While the governor understands some churches may decide to begin person-to-person services, he recommends very strict social distancing. This includes such things as wearing a mask, maintaining 6-foot distances, and using hand sanitizer. See this Christian Index article for the governor’s last detailed advisement.
If we continue to follow the proper protocols, we can continue to hear the kind of good news we heard yesterday. The governor also said, “With record testing numbers, enhanced surge capacity, low ventilator use, and favorable data coming in from the Department of Public Health, we continue to take small, measured steps forward as a state.
“As I have said many times before: We must protect both the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians. There are many people today who literally cannot afford to put food on the table. We must fight for both the public – and economic – health of our state.”
Please stay tuned as we get further updates from the Governor’s Office. In the meantime, please check out our blog post to keep up with the latest information about the reopening of our churches.
A transcript of the governor’s remarks can be accessed here.
God bless you all and stay safe.