Georgia governor calls up National Guard to assist in coronavirus response
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This story has been updated.
Atlanta, GA – Gov. Brian Kemp has called in the national guard to assist the state as it responds to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued Executive Order 03.14.20.02 authorizing Adjutant General Tom Carden – at the request of Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Homer Bryson – to call up as many as 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops to State Active Duty to address novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Georgia,” the Governor’s Office announced.
Kemp said the National Gaurd troops will assist in transferring Georgians at Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes and ensure a steady supply of medical equipment, food, shelter and other items reach people who need them in the coming weeks.
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“The Georgia National Guard is already assisting with the transfer of thirty-one Georgians – formerly passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship – from Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes today for isolation and monitoring by Department of Public Health officials,” the Governor’s Office said.
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In other COVID-19 news, the state is building a quarantine facility in Monroe County at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center campus.
“The quarantine space will be able to accommodate 20 temporary housing units,” the Governor’s Office said. “No patients are currently located at the facility.”
The space is for people who are “unable to self isolate.” The Governor’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a question about who falls into that category.
This space will be in addition to the space already established at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Morgan County. The state will not force anyone to be quarantined there, but the state Department of Public Health has the authority to seek a legal order to send someone there if it’s needed.
There are 66 cases of coronavirus reported so far in Georgia, with eight reported in DeKalb County. Worldwide there have been 156,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths.
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Here are the recommendations on coronavirus prevention from the DeKalb County Board of Health:
– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Stay home when you are sick.
– Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The DeKalb County Board of Health is encouraging people not to buy facemasks.
“Surgical masks should be reserved for people who exhibit symptoms (to prevent them from spreading the virus through respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus) and healthcare professionals who are taking care of sick people,” the DeKalb County Board of Health says. “Regular surgical face masks are not effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to the CDC. A more specialized face mask known as N95 respirators are thicker than surgical masks and are fitted to a person’s face to keep out any viral particles.”
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The state and federal governments are recommending social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means postponing or canceling large events and social functions. Many public institutions have closed. Some businesses and organizations are open and taking special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There has been no government-ordered shutdown of businesses.
The Decatur Business Association says, “Currently, many City of Decatur’s restaurants and retail stores are taking extra steps to ensure their spaces are clean and safe for customers. Follow guidance from public health officials regarding social distancing and proper health etiquette if and when visiting businesses and public spaces.”
Decaturish has created a crowd-sourced map for people to list openings and closings in our area, as well as any special measures being taken at these locations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if they are open. To use this map, you have to be logged into a Gmail account. While you’re logged in to your Gmail account, click here. When you want to make an entry, click on the map and click the plus sign that says “Add to map.” You can put a description on the map that includes whether a business or entity is open or closed and any other notes you want to add. Be advised: this is user generated. You will need to call the businesses or entity, or visit their website, to verify for sure if the information is up to date.