This story is an archive of coronavirus news from Friday, March 27. For updates from March 28 on coronavirus in Georgia, see our newer live story here.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia has grown again. There are now 2,198 confirmed cases, with 65 deaths.* Scroll to read more.
At 11Alive News, our coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit 11alive.com/coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about Georgia specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 404-885-7600.
State and federal officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually monitoring the spread of the virus. They are also working hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization to track the spread around the world and to stop it.
We will continue to track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.
Friday, March 27
Douglas County under shelter-in-place order
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to adopt an Emergency Ordinance from the county's board of health to help lessen the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In a special meeting on Friday, just two days after the Douglas County Board of Health voted unanimously to issue a “shelter in place,” the county adopted the order for Douglas County.
Total cases rise to 2,198; 65 deaths reported
The number of confirmed cases across the state of Georgia has increased again, according to the new figures released from the Department of Public Health.
There are now 2,198 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 65 deaths reported. There are 607 hospitalizations from the virus, according to the numbers.
The number of confirmed cases is highest in Fulton County, which is now reporting 347 cases. DeKalb has the second highest number of cases, with 219. Dougherty, Cobb, Gwinnett and Bartow counties are now reporting more than 100 cases each.
*This story has been updated the include the Department of Public Health's corrected numbers.
The county-by-county breakdown is below.
Ben Hill 2
Charlton 1 0
DeKalb County officials issue shelter-in-place order
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond updated the county’s state of emergency with a shelter-in-place order on Friday.
The order is effective Saturday, March 28 at 9 p.m. until further notice.
The order states that individuals are permitted to leave their places of residence only to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and essential governmental functions.
“We are trying to save lives from the serious COVID-19 public health threat,” CEO Thurmond said.
Essential businesses are healthcare operations, utilities, essential infrastructure/telecommunications, delivery services, businesses that sell food, pharmacies, and other things. More details are on the county's website about essential activities and other things that are permitted.
Gwinnett County, all 16 cities issue stay-at-home orders
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash and the mayors of all the cities in Gwinnett have issued stay-at-home orders for their respective jurisdictions "as a means to protect the health, safety and welfare of Gwinnett County residents."
The Ga. Dept. of Public Health is reporting more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gwinnett County, as of the Noon update today.
The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 28, through 11:59 p.m. on April 13, "or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the chairman."
The cities within Gwinnett County include Auburn, Berkeley Lake, Braselton, Buford, Dacula, Duluth, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Loganville, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Rest Haven, Snellville, Sugar Hill and Suwanee.
“We are all navigating uncharted waters as we respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and I am grateful to each of the cities for their decisive actions,” said Nash. “The district commissioners and I would like to express our deep appreciation to all of our residents and businesses for making temporary sacrifices for the good of our communities as our hospitals, healthcare workers, and first responders prepare for a rapidly growing caseload.”
Gwinnett Municipal Association President Kelly Kelkenberg said Gwinnett’s 16 cities recognize the value of consistent directives for all residents in Gwinnett County during this critical time.
“The cities have worked to align their emergency decisions with the directives of Gov. Kemp, guidance from the public health department, and Gwinnett County’s local emergency orders,” said Kelkenberg, who also serves as mayor pro-tem for the city of Duluth. “Our residents need to understand the extreme danger and seriousness of the coronavirus, to which no one has immunity. We are acting in unison to stem its spread, to keep from overwhelming our medical facilities, and to save lives.”
A news release said: "Residents may leave their homes to conduct activities that are essential to their own health and safety and that of family/household members, partners, significant others, and pets. Essential activities include, but are not limited to, obtaining food, medication and medical supplies, household consumer supplies and healthcare services or caring for a family member or pet in another household. It is also permissible to engage in outdoor activity, like walking, hiking, running or bicycling, as long as individuals comply with social distancing requirements."
DeKalb Board of Health opens call center for citizens
The DeKalb County Board of Health has established a COVID-19 call center to provide information related to risks, prevention, symptoms, isolation, community resources and testing, they said.
Currently, only English-speaking operators are available. Additional languages will be available soon, according to a news release.
The call center is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling (404) 294-3700, Option 1.
Confirmed cases in Georgia jump to 2,001 with 64 deaths
The Georgia Department of Health announced new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. As of Noon, there are 2,001 confirmed cases of the virus and 64 deaths reported. This is up from the 1,643 confirmed cases (22 percent) and 56 deaths that they announced on Thursday evening.
Of the 2,001 confirmed cases, 307 are in Fulton, 193 are in Dougherty, 181 are in DeKalb, 144 are in Cobb and 102 are in Gwinnett. In all, there are cases reported in 103 counties (217 cases are listed as unknown counties). For a breakdown by county, view the 11Alive interactive map.
They said 566 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Of the confirmed cases, 1 percent are between the ages of 0-17, while 57 percent are 18-59 years old, 34 percent are over 60 and 8 percent are unknown. 49 percent are female and 46 percent are male.
In total, 8,119 tests were conducted at commercial labs, reporting 1,739 positive cases. At the Department of Public Health Laboratory, 1,746 tests were conducted with 262 positive results.
COUNTY - # CASES
Ben Hill 2
MARTA making additional changes, cuts to service
MARTA announced Friday they are making additional adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic and "to address the dramatic ridership and revenue decline seen in the wake of this national health crisis."
Beginning Monday, March 30, MARTA will reduce bus service by approximately 30 percent. All bus routes will continue to operate, but with fewer buses on each route. The exception is on routes with the heaviest ridership; 15, 39, 5, 121, 196, 73, 110, 78, 83, and 89, which will have buses added to help with social distancing.
Rail service will operate on a weekend schedule beginning Monday, March 30, except for start time which will remain the regular weekday start time to complement bus service. Also, all Red and Gold Line trains will go to the airport, and Green Line trains will turn back at King Memorial.
Due to extremely low ridership, MARTA is closing Mercedes-Benz/State Farm Arena/GWCC rail station. Trains will not stop at this rail station beginning Monday.
They previously announced that bus customers will enter and exit using the rear doors and that they are suspending fare collection on buses.
MARTA is also closing public restrooms at low-utilization rail stations.
Fox Theatre releases new dates for 'Hamilton'
After needing to postpone the popular 'Hamilton' engagement at the Fox Theatre due to the coronavius outbreak, they announced new dates on Friday.
Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta said the show has been rescheduled and will now play the Fox Theatre August 4 – September 6, 2020.
If you are a ticket holder, there is nothing for you to do. Current ticket holder seats remain valid and secure. Emails have gone out to ticket holders with information on which new performance replaces the cancelled performance. If you are unable to attend your performance, please contact them by April 10 to discuss your options.
Those that purchased through a 3rd party will need to contact their point of purchase directly for options.
Stop holding 'drive-in' church services, Georgia public health director says
As new procedures and guidelines were set forth, both at the state and national level, many churches looked for alternative methods for Sunday services. Some went online -- and a few had "drive-in" services.
Now, one Georgia Department of Pubic Health director is saying those should stop -- because they don't adhere to the rules for "no public gatherings."
"While we understand the desire of local churches to gather in worship, we encourage our churches to please strictly abide by local guidelines that limit social gatherings," District Health Director Thomas Craft said.
He went on to say that many of the large outbreaks across our nation and state are directly linked to places of worship and similar gatherings.
As part of the state of emergency declared locally, social gatherings of 10 or more people are not allowed, the health director said.
"Our only hope is that by practicing this and other social distancing measures set by our local government, we can safely return to our places of worship sooner rather than later," Craft added.
The governor's office said, however, drive-in churches are OK if everyone practices social distancing and that no one is gathering in groups of 10 or more.
"The Governor has encouraged religious institutions to move to online services and to strictly adhere to social distancing, but no state level mandate would preclude those organizations from holding a “drive-in” church," a representative from the governor's office said.
Many church leaders are using social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to provide updates. Some churches are directing members to their websites for prayer requests.
Cobb County said they were reopening some parks, but now they say 'nothing has been decided'
A Cobb County spokesman said "Nothing has been decided at this time," after a tweet and post on the Cobb County website suddenly disappeared on Friday saying that some parks and trails would reopen.
11Alive is trying to figure out more, but this was our story when we heard the news earlier.
Stay tuned. But for now, all Cobb County parks and trails are closed.
ORIGINAL STORY: After receiving input from residents and consulting with public health officials, Cobb County PARKS will reopen the Silver Comet Trail, two other trails, and 11 “passive” parks.
Any buildings on these properties will be closed and locked.
Public health officials told commissioners they encourage the use of parks and trails for the physical and mental health benefits they provide, as long as park-goers observe social distancing guidelines.
After receiving input from residents and consulting with public health officials, Cobb County PARKS will reopen the Silver Comet Trail, two other trails, and 11 “passive” parks. These are park areas largely without amenities such as playgrounds and bathrooms. Any buildings on these properties will be closed and locked.
Public health officials told us they encourage the use of parks and trails for the physical and mental health benefits they provide, as long as park-goers observe social distancing guidelines. Those guidelines include groups smaller than 10 people and a six-foot buffer between patrons.
The following parks and trails will reopen at noon on Friday:
Allatoona Creek Park
Green Meadows Preserve
Kemp Family Park
Leone Hall Price Park
Bob Callan Trail (Entire Trail)
Trolley Line Park
Noonday Creek Trail (Entire Trail)
Ebenezer Downs Park
Old Clarkdale Park
Silver Comet Trail (Entire Trail)
Carrollton issues shelter-in-place order for residents.
In a resolution, the mayor and city council ordered all residents to remain in their homes unless it's necessary to go outside. However, when they are outside, residents are ordered to keep a social distance of at least six feet.
The order reads, "All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses."
The purpose of the order is to help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Carrollton is the county seat of Carroll County and as of Friday, the county had more than 50 confirmed cases.
"The intent of this Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible."
Get specific details about the virus, here.
MORE CORONAVIRUS NEWS