Latest Atlanta coronavirus news: Georgia cases of COVID-19 rising 20% each day

Credit: AJC

WHO Considers 'Airborne Precautions' for Medical Staff.

Credit: AJC

COVID-19 cases in Georgia at 197 as of Wednesday afternoon

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 Wednesday, March 18, with news and details of COVID-19 in Georgia.

» Complete coverage: Coronavirus

3:30 p.m: Simon Property Group will close all of its 320 malls in North America and Asia until the end of the month, according to CNBC reporter Lauren Thomas. The company runs seven shopping centers in Georgia including Phipps Plaza, Mall of Georgia, Lenox Square and more. Stephanie Toone has the details.

3 p.m.: Georgia gun dealers tell the AJC's Tyler Estep they've seen a huge spike in sales since the seriousness of the pandemic started to set in last week. They say plenty of regular customers have shown up to stockpile supplies, but the biggest surge has been from first-time "panic buyers" wary of what the near future may bring.

1:45 p.m.: First it was Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, now it's Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman stepping up to help his community, Braves beat writer Gabriel Burns reports. Freeman pledged to donate $50,000 to the Atlanta Food Bank, $50,000 to Giving Kitchen and $25,000 to the Salvation Army in an effort to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

1:15 p.m.: Two southwest Georgia patients who died with coronavirus-related symptoms have been confirmed to have had the virus, hospitals officials said in a news release Wednesday. That brings Georgia's total to three, Ariel Hart reports.

12:30 p.m.: 

The Father’s Table pantry at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church will give away bags of food and offer prayers to families in need on Saturday, Shelia Poole reports
The drive-up distribution will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church’s Family Life Center, 6400 Woodrow Road in Stonecrest.

noon: 

Health officials say there are 197 confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia as of Wednesday, Chelsea Prince reports.
The count is up 51 from Tuesday’s confirmed cases, which totaled 146, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Since spiking Saturday, the number of cases had risen steadily each day, increasing at a rate of about 20%.

» Coronavirus in Georgia: stats in real time

» Grocery delivery services have trouble keeping up during social distancing

11 a.m.: 

As Georgia expands its options for coronavirus testing, including new drive-through locations, patients still need approval to get a test
The advice remains to contact a healthcare provider if you have coronavirus symptoms or believe you were exposed to someone with the virus. In no case should you just show up at the emergency room or a coronavirus testing location.

9:45 a.m.: Going a bit farther than Gov. Brian Kemp, Fulton County schools superintendent Mike Looney the district likely wouldn't reopen until after spring break, Ben Brasch reports.

9:45 a.m.: The city of Norcross has declared a state of emergency due, Amanda C. Coyne reports. There are no known cases within city limits, but the emergency declaration allows the city to work towards preventing its spread. The city council's first action in declaring the emergency was to approve holding meetings by teleconference.

9:30 a.m.: Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College say they are moving their commencement ceremonies from May to December, while Spelman College is exploring similar options. Eric Stirgus has the details.

6 a.m.: A Cobb County park will soon become a coronavirus "drive-through" testing site to provide a speedy and safe location for testing high-risk workers in the community, Kristal Dixon reports. Dr. Janet Memark, district director of the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department, told Cobb County commissioners Monday that Jim Miller Park on Callaway Road south of Marietta will serve as a location for the testing in Cobb.

6 a.m.: As virus-linked actions slam the brakes on the metro Atlanta economy, the first to be hurt are the workers who are already in the most precarious positions, earning low wages and living paycheck to paycheck. Michael E. Kanell looks at how social distancing is affecting these workers and their employers.

» This map tracks spread of coronavirus in real time

OVERNIGHT

  • Michael Stipe shared a fun — yet serious — message with fans on social media by singing what has become an anthem of sorts during the coronavirus pandemic, "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," Melissa Ruggieri writes in the Atlanta Music Scene blog. The 1987 rock hit (it climbed to No. 16 on the Mainstream Rock Chart) for Athens-born R.E.M. has exploded on the downloads chart, increasing 184 percent for the week ending March 12, according to Billboard.
  • Eric Stirgus reports the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University will cancel commencement ceremonies and all upcoming public events, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College announced they are moving their commencement events from May to December.

» Why the CDC recommends you wash your hands a certain way

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