Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order Monday, March 23, that will go into effect at noon today, Tuesday, and will continue for a little under two weeks.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, Kemp ordered those who are “medically fragile” to shelter in place for two weeks, until April 6.
“This order for isolation, quarantine, or shelter-in-place covers those who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19,” Kemp said. "The Department of Public Health will promulgate rules and regulations to implement this order and define how these individuals can access essential services, travel, and receive visitors in end-of-life circumstances.”
Kemp went on to order all bars and nightclubs to close and banned gathering of 10 or more people unless a distance of 6 feet can be maintained between individuals. “The Department of Public Health will be empowered to close any business, establishment, non-profit, or organization for noncompliance,” Kemp said.
Kemp went on to discuss that the state’s income tax filing deadline was extended to July 15, saying more information would be announced at a later date.
“We’ve seen a large increase in the number of applications submitted for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” Kemp continues. “Approximately 1 million Georgians who receive SNAP will get an additional hundred dollars in nutritional benefits.”
"This change could be a major support to senior citizens in our state, who typically receive about $15 in SNAP benefits each month,” Kemp said. “This supplement will allow them to get the maximum benefit amount for their household size, which is $194 for a household of one, in March and April.”
The governor also mentioned that last week, the state Division of Family and Children Services received around 12,000 online-only applications, doubling the number from more than two weeks ago. He went on to note that PeachCare for Kids and Medicare and medical assistance requests were also up by 50 percent.
“Without question, families are facing hardship in this time of need,” Kemp said.
Testing Updates: Who Can Be Tested and Where?
Kemp went on to discuss how many tests have been conducted so far, saying “The Department of Public Health’s state lab has now conducted 1,245 COVID-19 tests, and commercial labs have conducted 3,824 COVID-19 tests.”
“We now have twenty-three test sites for specific populations at the following locations: Cartersville, Rome, Dalton, Woodstock, Gainesville, Marietta, Atlanta, Morrow, Lawrenceville, Stone Mountain, Newnan, Dublin, Warner Robins, Augusta, Columbus, Valdosta, Tifton, Albany, Douglas, Statesboro, Brunswick, Savannah, and Athens,” the governor continues. “To be tested at one of these locations, you must have a referral from a medical provider. Tests are limited to elderly Georgians, members of the law enforcement community, first responders, long-term care facility residents and staff, and healthcare workers. We must protect those who are protecting us, and that is why we have these new testing sites in strategic locations statewide.”
Executive Order Continued
“I will sign an executive order today (March 23) suspending restrictions against the practice of medicine by individuals whose licenses became inactive or lapsed within the past five years,” Kemp said. “Graduate nursing students who have yet to take their licensing exams will also be allowed to seek temporary licensure through the Georgia Board of Nursing. These measures will directly address critical healthcare needs in the weeks ahead.”
Kemp goes on to say “This fight is far from over, but we are in this together. Look out for your fellow Georgians and pray for the continued safety of our first responders, healthcare workforce, elderly, and medically fragile. We cannot let this virus defeat us. We are stronger than this crisis, and we will weather the storm.”