Latest Atlanta coronavirus news: 8 more people have died since noon

There are now 1,643 confirmed cases and 56 deaths in Georgia

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is committed to providing our readers with the most comprehensive coverage of the deadly coronavirus.

This blog will be updated throughout Thursday, March 26, with news and details of COVID-19 in Georgia.

» Complete coverage: Coronavirus

7 p.m.: With eight additional COVID-19 deaths recorded statewide, Georgia has now topped 50 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, Chelsea Prince and Zachary Hansen report. In total, 56 patients in the state have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Department of Public Health also announced 118 more confirmed coronavirus cases since noon, bringing the state's total to 1,643. Of those patients, 509 are hospitalized, which is about 31% of all cases.

6:30 p.m.: 

Ron Hill, an athletic coach at a school in Fulton County, had seven children, 16 grandchildren and relationships with countless adoring students, yet he died alone this week. As Ty Tagami writes, Hill, i

nfected with the coronavirus, was not allowed to have his daughters near him. They had to say goodbye through a window as he lay sedated.

3:30 p.m.: 

House Speaker David Ralston called for Georgia’s presidential primary to be postponed again because of the coronavirus, Mark Niesse reports, saying legislators should weigh in before an election with large numbers of mailed-in ballots. 
Ralston asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to move the May 19 election until at least June 23, according to a letter he sent Thursday.

2:33 p.m.: The Georgia Department of Labor said 12,140 Georgians filed for unemployment insurance in the week that ended March 21 as businesses across the state closed or contracted in an effort to slow down spread of the coronavirus. Michael E. Kanell reports that is more than double the previous week's claims number, and officials said they expect higher claims in coming weeks.

1:45 p.m.: Jeremy Redmon reports all of the nearly 500 Grand Princess cruise ship passengers who were quarantined at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta have left the military installation.

» Coronavirus in Georgia: stats in real time


Georgia’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 1,525, nearly doubling the numbers reported by state health officials just three days ago, Chelsea Prince reports, with one new death. 
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 48 Georgians since March 12. Of those infected, about one-third are hospitalized across the state.

11:45 a.m.: In a move affecting nearly 2 million children and their parents, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the continued closure of schools until at least April 24 in the ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ty Tagami and Greg Bluestein have the details.

9:45 a.m.: 

The city of Atlanta has established a website for residents and businesses to obtain the latest information about the city’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Stephen Deere reports.
The site — ATLSTRONG.ORG — also allows people to sign up for COVID-19 text alerts and to request information about emergency fund assistance relief.

» Map tracks global spread of the coronavirus

9 a.m.: 

A third security screener at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has tested positive for the coronavirus, airport blogger Kelly Yamanouchi reports
The TSA officer last worked March 9, on a shift from 12:30-11 p.m. at the main checkpoint. The officer received positive test results for the virus March 23.

8 a.m.: In a world that has been paralyzed by COVID-19 restrictions, golf remains an interest that offers a release, a chance to get outside and participate in an activity that seems normal in an abnormal environment. Especially when the weather is nice. For the AJC, Stan Awtrey reports on open golf courses.6 a.m.: Frustrated with Gov. Brian Kemp's response to Georgia's growing coronavirus crisis, Greg Bluestein reports, state Democrats are gathering sharp questions from voters ahead of tonight's town hall featuring the Republican and some of his top deputies. Rodney Ho has details on when and where to watch the town hall.

» How to tell the difference between coronavirus and seasonal allergy symptoms

6 a.m.: About 400 third- and fourth-year students at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University are scheduled to begin assisting the state's 18 public health districts. Eric Stirgus reports they will be advising patients about whether they need to be tested for the virus and performing other tasks, the college announced this week.

» GPB bolsters programming for students learning at home during pandemic


An expected surge in coronavirus cases has public health officials increasingly worried that Georgia hospitals will be unable to treat everyone who becomes critically ill as the pandemic worsens. Alan Judd tells you why.

Georgia's small businesses — from restaurants to hair salons — are hanging by a thread as the economy sinks because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many have furloughed workers or temporarily closed. Matt Kempner and Christopher Quinn report on what business owners are saying.

» This map tracks the coronavirus globally in real time