Tests for COVID-19 and COVID-19 Antibodies – What Should You Do?

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, two current hot topics are testing for the virus and testing for antibodies. Right now, we encourage you to consider getting a COVID-19 test, even if you are not exhibiting symptoms. You can find more information here.

Meanwhile, coronavirus antibody tests have also become available. As I talk with members of the medical community, they warn that the majority of antibody tests currently available are unreliable, with some demonstrated as high as a 40% misdiagnosis rate. Experts believe that the test from Abbott Laboratories is by far the most reliable and the best test to take right now. If you take a test from another manufacturer, please take those results with a grain of salt.


Primary Elections

Many constituents have reached out to ask about absentee ballots and voting in the June 9 Primary, so I wanted to provide an update.  Many voters expressed concern that they sent in an application to request an absentee ballot and the application is not showing up when they check the My Voter page on the SOS website.

I’m told that Fulton County Board of Elections has been overwhelmed with requests and is behind on processing ballot request applications. They acknowledge this and are working overtime to get the requests processed. A number of factors – including a COVID-19 diagnosis and death in the office – caused delays in processing applications.

The good news is that they are quickly catching up. At last count, more than 100,000 absentee ballots requests had already been processed. Since my household has not received our ballots yet either, we are monitoring the situation closely!

If you do not receive your absentee ballot in time, you can still vote in person – you will need to inform your poll worker, who will call the registrar to confirm that you have not voted. You will then need to sign a form swearing that you have not voted, after which, you will be allowed to vote. If you have any problems with casting your vote, call the Georgia Voter Protection Hotline: 1-888-730-5816. 

Your absentee ballot will be counted as long as it arrives at your County Election Office by Election Day. 

Fulton County is in the process of finalizing locations for nearly 20 drop boxes for secure, no contact drop off of your absentee ballot. I should have more information about that next week.

Meanwhile, early voting in Fulton County begins today. While you still have time to request an absentee ballot, I recognize that many people would prefer to vote in person. Information about early voting can be found here.  Please note that you should wear a mask or face covering if you vote in person, and be prepared to practice physical distancing from other voters. 

Returning to the Gold Dome

The Georgia General Assembly is tentatively resuming session on June 11. The Georgia House and Senate must pass a state budget before the fiscal year begins on July 1, so it’s critical that we meet to vote before then….even though it’s not ideal for anyone to be working closely together at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The budget seemed challenging back in January, and now it seems darn near impossible. With revenues way down and unemployment way up due to the COVID-19 crisis, legislators are faced with cutting nearly 14% of the state’s already very lean budget. We have to explore cuts, but we should also explore ways to increase revenue like increasing the tobacco tax (currently one of the lowest in the nation) or reducing certain corporate tax credits.  

Regardless, when we return to the Capitol, I will not be holding office hours in my legislative office, for the safety of our staff and constituents. If you would like to schedule a virtual meeting, please contact me via email to set up an appointment.


COVID-19 Numbers

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the state of Georgia. There are 37,552 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia as of May 17th, 7 pm, with 1,609 deaths. In the past week, there have been 4732 new cases (an increase of 14.4%). In the past week there have been 197 deaths, a rate increase of 14% compared to the previous week.

The Fulton County Board of Health tracks the number of COVID-19 cases by zipcode.

Their latest update is from May 15, 2020. These are the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 for the zip codes located within District 54: 

30305 – 85

30318 – 217

30319 – 25

30324 – 76

30326 – 24

30327 – 85

30342 – 157


Voting deadline update

The date for the primary election has been moved to June 9th, 2020. This will be the election for the Presidential Preference Primary, as well as the primary for state and local races. You should have received an absentee ballot request form. If you did not receive an absentee ballot, you can request one here: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia

You must fill out that form and return it by mail, fax, email (as an attachment to elections.voterregistration@fultoncountyga.gov), or in-person to the Fulton County Board of Registrar’s Office:

130 PEACHTREE ST SW SUITE 2186
ATLANTA, GA 30303-3460

If mailing your absentee ballot request form, you must attach postage!

Once you receive your ballot, it must be submitted no later than the close of polls on Election Day. Delivery can be either U.S. first class mail, hand delivered by the voter, or dropped off in a secure Fulton County ballot box (when they are made available). If mailing, you should affix postage to the ballot envelope; however, ballots without postage will still be counted. Ballots received after the polls close cannot be counted.   

Sample voting ballots are now available when you log into your My Voter Page:

My Voter Page/Check your voter status


RESOURCES

The Georgia COVID-19 Hotline is 1-844-442-2681.

The Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is 1-866-399-8938.

Food Assistance 

  • 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.

Educational Resources

  • 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 Program

  • SNAP Benefits for all current recipients have been extended through June 2020.
  • Apply for SNAP benefits here.

Unemployment Services

  • 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.
  • File unemployment for those not normally eligible for unemployment here, through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.

As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at betsy.holland@house.ga.gov 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

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