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Kemp pushes the masks and extends the state of emergency for the coronavirus

Governor Brian Kemp on Monday extended the state’s public health emergency, some trade restrictions, and his on-site order of refuge for fragile doctors amid a record spike in new coronavirus cases.

The governor also announced on Monday that he is ready to take a plane ride across the state before the fourth weekend of July to encourage Georgians to wear masks, but said he has no intention of requiring residents to do so.

Extensive orders and Kemp’s media blitz on the masks comes after Georgia set a record last week with over 11,000 coronavirus cases. The State Public Health Department on Monday reported 2,207 new cases of coronavirus, which almost corresponded to a 2,225 record one day on Sunday.

Georgia had set daily records for three consecutive days before Monday.

The public health emergency, which is now extended to August 1

1, ensures that Kemp’s authority will impose new restrictions and take other actions to stem the spread of the virus. The reception order for frail doctors and long-term care facility residents, which was due to expire on Wednesday, was extended for two weeks until July 15th.

In another sign of concern over the increase in cases, Kemp extended the two-week coronavirus restrictions for businesses and restaurants that were due to expire on Wednesday. It is a pause from a series of orders that has constantly loosened the regulations.

The order also required the state Board of Education to develop rules to guide local officials who plan to reopen public schools.

Kemp is scheduled to travel to Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Savannah and Valdosta before the holiday weekend to “encourage citizens to pay attention to public health advice and wear a mask” to stem the spread of the disease, he said. his office.


“Wear a mask, practice social removal, wash your hands and continue to follow the guidance provided by public health officials,” said Kemp, who said he wears a mask in public and on social media.

Public health experts welcomed Kemp’s efforts to promote masks to mitigate the spread of the virus. But critics of Kemp’s coronavirus response said the governor’s moves were not aggressive enough.

“He is continuing to sit literally on his hands and is unable to act significantly despite the fact that the pandemic is going on in our state,” said Dr. Harry J. Heiman, clinical associate professor at Georgia State University School of Public Health. “I appreciate that the governor will participate in a campaign to encourage the use of the mask, it is important. But this alone in the absence of significant political action will not do much to reverse this pandemic in this state.”

The wave of COVID-19 cases in Georgia reflects an increase in disease cases in many places in the United States, particularly in the south and west, while states reduce restrictions.

Georgia has been among the most aggressive states to reopen its economy since late April, when restaurants were allowed to resume catering services and personal care activities, such as beauty salons and barbers, were able to reopen if they followed the safety guidelines.

Since then, Kemp has put an end to the hospitalization in place for all Georgians, except those “medically fragile”, has allowed larger gatherings and has allowed bars, night clubs and live entertainment venues to welcome guests if they follow a series of regulations.

Kemp said he does not intend to impose any new limitations to combat the disease, and his office on Monday indicated a steady increase in tests and a disease mortality rate of 3.6%, the lowest since mid-April, as a sign that his approach has been effective.

Although tests have increased since the virus’s initial peak in April, the positive test rate has also recently increased, a sign of increased prevalence.

The state also reported a dramatic increase in current hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the past few weeks. On Monday there were 1,359 hospitalizations in progress, compared to 783 on 7 June. Deaths are also a late indicator of the virus.

Adults under the age of 30 have been leaders in new virus cases, but health experts warn that the virus can easily spread to older and more vulnerable populations.


The use of the mask has become politicized, especially for many on the right.

But Kemp is on a growing list of Republican officials begging residents to wear a face cover, although President Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask in public and ridicules the alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for using one. .

The group includes Vice President Mike Pence, who encouraged Americans to wear masks during a weekend visit to Texas, and American Representative Liz Cheney, who tweeted a photo of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, wearing one with the hashtag “#realmenwearmasks”.

Consensus has grown among medical experts that masks are critical to fighting the virus.

“There is good evidence to suggest wearing a face cover that can reduce potential exposure and spread, particularly among asymptomatic carriers and vulnerable populations and in situations where social distance cannot be maintained,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, vice president and medical director of the Health System of the University of Augusta.

Kemp also announced that state officials will distribute over 3 million covers for faces to local government officials and schools.

Asked specifically about the need to use the mask, Kemp said that their mandate is a “bridge too far”, and expressed concern that there is insufficient public support to establish a state-level order.

“There are some people who simply don’t want to wear a mask. I’m sensitive to this from a political environment where people buy themselves and create other issues,” he said recently. “But it’s definitely a good idea.”

In addition, state capitol was not required for lawmakers, lobbyists and agents of the Georgia State Patrol to wear masks, although Georgia House required lawmakers to wear facades during the two-week restarted legislative session that ended on Friday. .