I don’t know about you, but I’ve completely lost track of what day of the week it is. As I work to keep up-to-date with the various executive orders and declarations at the city and state level, it’s hard to believe that some of the biggest changes around the COVID-19 outbreak happened just last week.
I do know that numbers of confirmed cases in the state of Georgia are increasing at an exponential rate.
Two weeks ago, there were 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia.
Last Sunday, there were 600.
Last night, there were 2,683.
It is more important than ever that we stay at home to do our best to flatten this curve.
Here’s a quick summary of where we stand.
CITY OF ATLANTA
The City of Atlanta has issued a Stay at Home order asking all Atlantans to stay in their residences except for essential errands, caregiving, or work. Gathering spots in Atlanta parks are now closed, like basketball courts, tennis courts, and pavilions. It’s critical that we follow this order; if people continue to gather in large crowds at parks, the city will be forced to close them entirely. I’m living for my daily walks these days, so I want to see your green spaces stay open while people walk at least six feet apart!
The city launched ATLSTRONG.ORG this week where you can sign up for COVID-19 text alerts, request information on emergency fund assistance relief, and more. By texting “ATLCOVID19” to 888777, you can receive the latest and necessary information on COVID-19 as it happens.
STATE OF GEORGIA
Governor Kemp has issued a Shelter in Place order for the medically fragile, elderly, and other vulnerable populations. The governor also issued an executive order to keep public schools closed for in-person instruction through April 24th. He acknowledged that he might extend the closure and will assess closer to that date.
On Sunday, Governor Kemp announced that President Trump has declared a major disaster for all 159 Georgia counties due to the impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a statewide Public Health Emergency declared on March 14. The declaration for federal assistance currently covers Emergency Protective Measures, which are those actions taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health, or safety. This declaration also allows federal agencies to provide direct assistance to the State of Georgia.
MEDICAL FACILITIES, SUPPLIES AND TESTING
By the end of last week, metro Albany, Georgia had become the fourth biggest hot spot in the world for the COVID-19 virus based on the number of confirmed cases per capita. It’s second in the nation only to New York City. We have reports that the area’s largest medical center, Phoebe Putnam Hospital, has no more beds available. We’ve also heard reports that the four largest hospitals in the Atlanta metro area are now at capacity in their ICUs.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency is working to acquire and distribute personal protection equipment, ventilators, and trailers. Discussions are underway about buildings that can be converted to temporary field hospitals to manage overflow.
Experts seem to agree that the sooner we get widespread testing in Georgia, the faster we can combat COVID-19. Testing capacity is increasing in Georgia but still is not as widely available as we’d like. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, please call your healthcare provider, who can direct you to a testing facility.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The best possible way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is for everyone who can to stay home. If you have access to online grocery delivery or curbside pick-up, please utilize that for your grocery needs. Do not go to the store unless you absolutely must. Do not visit with friends and neighbors unless you’re doing so from 6-10 feet away. We have a lot of these “over the fence” visits during our daily family walks.
I proudly signed a letter along with my legislative colleagues urging Governor Kemp to take stronger action to encourage people to stay in their residences and avoid non-essential work or errands until the spread of the virus is under control. You can also encourage the governor to do this by calling (404) 656-1776.
The Presidential Preference Primary has been delayed until May 19th, which is the election for state and local offices. If you have already voted, your vote for the primary has been counted! But you will need to vote again on May 19th for state and local offices.
All registered voters will receive an absentee ballot request form for the May 19th election. You must fill out that form and return it by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the Fulton County Board of Registrar’s Office:
130 PEACHTREE ST SW SUITE 2186
ATLANTA, GA 30303-3460
The Georgia COVID-19 Hotline is 1-844-442-2681.
- Find a food bank in your area here.
- Find food assistance programs near you here.
- Student meal pick up locations by school-district here.
Resources for Service Workers
- Food service workers can find assistance from The Giving Kitchen here.
- Domestic workers can access emergency assistance funds here.
- Access at-home learning resources from Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Georgia Department of Education here.
Small Business Resources
- Small businesses can apply for SBA emergency loans here.
- SNAP Benefits for all current recipients have been extended through June 2020.
- Apply for SNAP benefits here.
- The Georgia Department of Labor is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers and other reemployment services.
- File unemployment and other claims here.
Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report (updated daily at 12 pm and 7 pm)
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
When this is all over, I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54