Georgia virus death toll rises to 10, total cases at 287

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s death toll from the coronavirus jumped to 10 on Thursday as state health officials also reported a big increase in the number of confirmed infections statewide.

The update from Georgia Department of Public Health more than doubled the number of deaths in the state, which had stood at four Wednesday. The agency said confirmed coronavirus cases now stand at 287 — up from 197 the day before.

No other details were provided about where the new deaths occurred. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

More than half the Georgia cases remain in metro Atlanta, where Fulton County alone has reported 66 confirmed coronavirus infections. Neighboring Cobb County had 37 cases, the state’s second-highest total. However, some communities with a fraction of Atlanta’s population are also seeing high numbers.

There have been 26 cases confirmed in Bartow County, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta. And Dougherty County in southwest Georgia has 20 confirmed infections — including at least two deaths.

As Georgia began to open drive-thru locations for coronavirus testing, Gov. Brian Kemp cautioned that priority for tests was being given to those at highest risk — the elderly, people who already have chronic illnesses, those in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and first responders such as paramedics.

“Many Georgians are eager to be tested right now, but we need to be mindful of our resources,” Kemp said in statement. “We have to be in this fight together.”

Two women who died in Dougherty County were ages 42 and 69, and both had underlying medical conditions, the Georgia Department of Public Health said in a news release Wednesday.

Emory Healthcare in Atlanta also reported a death Wednesday. The patient died “despite the heroic efforts of our physicians, nurses and care team,” Emory said in a statement. No other details were released.

The news came as state Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican, announced he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness, sending Lt. Gov Geoff Duncan and Georgia’s other 55 state senators into self-quarantine. Duncan, a Republican, presides over the Senate.

Reprinted courtesy of The Associated Press
Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.
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