Governor Brian Kemp said Wednesday he will extend the statewide shelter in place order through April 30, as well as the public health emergency through May 13, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was made with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and state House Speaker David Ralston. The shelter in place order was set to expire on April 13.
Kemp also held a news conference Wednesday afternoon with Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia National Guard Adjutant General Tom Carden, and Georgia Emergency Management Director Homer Bryson.
Kemp first declared a public health emergency on March 14 as COVID-19 began taking hold in Georgia.
“Earlier (Wednesday), I signed an executive order extending Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020. This measure will allow us to deploy more resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our health care facilities,” Kemp said.
The governor also signed an executive order mandating more aggressive infection control measures at long-term care facilities across Georgia.
“Facilities must adopt infectious disease transfer protocols with nearby hospitals. Visitors and nonessential personnel are strictly prohibited except in compassionate care situations. If feasible, these facilities must provide in-room dining services, and all group activities are canceled,” Kemp said.
“Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after any interaction with a resident,” the governor said. “Facilities must implement protocols to screen residents for fever and respiratory symptoms, and employees must be screened before starting a shift. If an employee is exposed, to the extent feasible, he or she must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Facilities are required to implement universal and correct use of personal protective equipment, and we stand ready to coordinate delivery of supplies.”
The state now has more than 10,000 cases of coronavirus (10,189) with 369 deaths as of Wednesday evening’s update from the DPH. Kemp asked for all Georgians to continue to join forces to battle the health crisis.
“During this sacred Holy Week, we must stay united in the fight against coronavirus,” Kemp said. “I want to thank the millions of Georgians who are following public health guidance and helping us flatten the curve. We are making progress. I want to thank the frontline workers who are sacrificing every day to keep us all safe: first responders, law enforcement, our doctors, nurses, and medical staff. These men and women are doing heroic work. Keep praying for their safety — and their families, who many of these frontline workers are unable to see as they fight this pandemic.”