CGinspiration/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Since officials announced Georgia’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 2, the state has drawn national attention over the coronavirus pandemic. It was one of the first states in the country to begin reopening its economy, and has since joined others in pausing its phased approach amid rising numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.Most recently, its Republican governor, Brian Kemp, has become engaged in a legal dispute with the mayor of Atlanta over mask mandates, which more states and cities have been issuing as coronavirus cases rise. As of Monday, Georgia had 145,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,176 deaths, according to state data. Hospitalizations have also steadily increased since mid-June. The state reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with 4,689.Here’s a look at some of the key moments in Kemp’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic so far:Feb. 28With COVID-19 spreading around the globe, including in the United States, Kemp announces the creation of a coronavirus task force to assess the state’s preparedness in addressing the virus.March 2In a late-night press conference, Kemp announces Georgia’s first cases of COVID-19, involving two residents of Fulton County in the same household, one of whom had recently returned from Italy. The state health department later determines that Georgia had cases as early as Feb. 1.March 12The governor directs state agencies to implement teleworking policies and suspend nonessential travel for most state employees. The same day, the state reports its first death from COVID-19 — a 63-year-old man who had underlying medical conditions. Later, the health department updates its data to report that the first death was on March 5.March 14With 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, Kemp declares a public health state of emergency. He also authorizes up to 2,000 National Guard troops to assist in the emergency response.March 16Kemp signs an executive order closing all elementary, secondary and post-secondary public schools from March 18 to March 31.March 19Per federal and state health officials, Kemp urges that the state start prioritizing COVID-19 tests “for our most vulnerable populations,” first responders and healthcare workers, in an effort to conserve hard-to-find medical supplies.March 24An executive order goes into effect closing all bars and nightclubs, banning gatherings of 10 or more people unless social distancing is in place, and requiring at-risk populations to shelter in place for two weeks.April 1Schools are closed through the end of the school year. At a coronavirus press briefing, Kemp draws ridicule after saying that he only recently became aware that asymptomatic people could spread the virus.April 3A statewide shelter-in-place order goes into effect, issued as the state reports more than 4,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases.April 8Kemp signs executive orders extending Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13 and activating 1,000 more National Guard troops. He also extends the statewide shelter-in-place order through the end of the month.April 13The state expands testing criteria to include symptomatic critical infrastructure workers and asymptomatic people who have had direct contact with positive COVID-19 patients. In a statement, Kemp says, “Our testing numbers in Georgia continue to lag.”The governor also signs an order suspending enforcement of Georgia’s anti-mask statute “so people can follow the guidance of public health officials without fear of prosecution,” Kemp says, adding, “I want to thank Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for raising awareness about this issue.”April 17Kemp announces the completion of a 200-bed alternate care facility at the Georgia World Congress Center to provide treatment to non-critical COVID-19 patients.April 20In the wake of new reopening guidelines released by the White House, Kemp announces that he will let his shelter-in-place order expire on April 30 and allow some nonessential businesses to reopen, starting with gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and other similar businesses on April 24 and restaurant dine-in service on April 27. The move draws criticism, including from President Donald Trump, who says, “I think it’s too soon.”April 30On the day the statewide shelter-in-place order expires, Kemp extends the public health state of emergency through June 12 “to continue enhanced testing across Georgia, ramp up contact tracing, and maintain effective emergency response operations in every region.” Vulnerable populations are also ordered to continue to shelter in place through June 12.May 28The governor renews the state of emergency for a third time, through July 12. On the same day, he loosens public gathering restrictions up to 25 people and announces more reopenings, including bars and nightclubs starting June 1 and amusement parks and water parks starting June 12.June 11Kemp rolls out more reopenings, including live performance venues starting July 1, and increases limitations on gatherings to up to 50 people with social distancing in place.June 29Kemp extends the public health emergency through Aug. 11 as the state “has seen an increase in new cases reported and current hospitalizations.” An ABC News analysis finds that Georgia has recently seen record numbers of new cases.July 10The governor announces he is reactivating the Georgia World Congress Center, which had discharged its last patient in early May. That day, the state reports a record number of new coronavirus cases, with 4,484.July 13Three days after Bottoms announces that Atlanta is reverting to “Phase One” due to rising cases in the city, Kemp releases a statement that the action is “non-binding and legally unenforceable” and asks residents to follow his orders.July 15Kemp voids at least 15 local mask mandates, including those in Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and Rome, instead encouraging voluntary mask wearing in the state.July 16Kemp sues the city of Atlanta over its requirement to wear masks in public.“Governor Kemp must be allowed, as the chief executive of this state, to manage the public health emergency without Mayor Bottoms issuing void and unenforceable orders which only serve to confuse the public,” the lawsuit states. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
As Indonesia transitions into the “new normal”, the country continues to report high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, with three new daily records reported since the beginning of June as well as the highest daily death toll of 64 fatalities on Monday.The government reported a record daily high of 993 new cases on June 6, exceeding the previous high of 973 cases on May 21, followed by 1,043 cases on June 9 and 1,240 cases the following day, with epicenters East Java and Jakarta contributing significantly to the tallies.Government spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs Achmad Yurianto attributed the spikes to “aggressive contact tracing”. COVID-19 task force expert staff chief Wiku Adisasmito said the spikes “should not be seen negatively”, as it was a sign of the country’s increased polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid molecular testing and improved tracing capacities, arguing that it did not necessarily indicate that the rate of infection had increased.”This [spike in the number of daily reported cases] is also a result of an accumulation of previously unreported cases. [The data on new cases] must be by averaged out weekly; this is more informative than viewing it on a daily basis,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.In the past week, Indonesia has recorded an average of 1,103 new cases from an average of 7,684 people tested daily, representing a 14 percent positivity rate on average. Indonesia has tested 1.2 per 1,000 people, one of the lowest rates in the world, according to ourworldindata.org.On Tuesday, the government reported 1,106 new cases, with the overall total reaching 40,400 with 2,231 deaths. Read also: COVID-19: Jokowi warns of second wave, but first one may not be overWhile acknowledging that testing capacity had been improved thanks to an increased number of labs processing COVID-19 tests, epidemiologist Pandu Riono argued that the testing rate was still far from ideal, as more tests should have led to a lower positivity rate.”If infections have declined and we have tested more people, then the positivity rate should have declined,” he said.Pandu pointed to the possibility of new clusters emerging because of increased travel during the Idul Fitri holiday in late May, as it fit with the timeline.The government issued a mudik (exodus) ban as part of its COVID-19 containment efforts but experts have criticized the lack of enforcement, especially after authorities announced several exemptions to the travel restrictions in early May. The virus has now reached 431 of the country’s 514 cities and regencies, up from 416 cities and regencies on May 31.The World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest COVID-19 situation report on Indonesia published on June 10 said one of the epidemiological criteria for relaxing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) was for fewer than 5 percent of samples to test positive over a two-week period.More than one sample can be taken from one person.None of Java’s six provinces the WHO assessed between May 25 and June 7 had met the criteria, the report said. It noted, however, that a reliable positivity rate requires at least 1 test per 1,000 population per week, which only Jakarta has fulfilled.Jakarta has tested 102,859 people so far, and reported 105 new cases with a positivity rate of 6.2 percent among the total number of people tested, or 6.7 percent of the total samples tested, on Monday when it began reopening malls, shops and offices.Not all regions provide data on the number of people tested. West Java, home to some 48 million people, had only tested 60,389 people as of June 13. East Java, which has recorded more fatalities than Jakarta, does not provide testing data, but its capital of Surabaya, home to some 2.7 million people, revealed it had conducted 8,214 tests as of June 13.Read also: Indonesian wet markets carry high risk of virus transmissionEpidemiologist Pandu urged local administrations to be transparent with their testing data, as he feared regional leaders were not willing to conduct increased tests for fear of losing their low-risk or “green zone” status or for political interest given the upcoming regional elections.Further upgrades to the country’s diagnostic capabilities to provide real-time reports of new cases was also necessary, he said.A time lag between tests and results continues to persist in Indonesia, and can vary greatly with some people having to wait a week or more for test results, Wiku of the COVID-19 task force said.The country’s inability to report real-time case numbers is likely to persist, given its size and the fact some regions need to ship samples to labs in other cities, he said.In addition, not all labs in the country can operate 24 hours a day, as a shortage of trained lab workers and limited automatic extractors prevented the country from scaling up its diagnostic capacity. Yurianto, for instance, attributed the low number samples recorded on Monday to the fact staff at some hospital and university labs did not work on the weekend.The WHO report advises that test results be made available within 24 to 48 hours, and lists this as one of the “non-negotiable measures for the ‘new normal’ scenario”.The report, however, acknowledges that provinces with hard-to-reach areas faced difficulties transporting samples and with effective contact tracing.A senior epidemiologist close to the issue said ideally each community health center (Puskesmas) in the country should have at least three epidemiologists to conduct contact tracing and data analysis, especially when dealing with a highly infectious disease like COVID-19. He said, however, that epidemiologists were not evenly distributed across the country as not all regions “felt the need” to request for additional manpower. Topics :
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