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 Sunday, March 15, with news and details of COVID-19 in Georgia.
8:30 p.m.: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced a ban on public gatherings in the city amid the coronavirus pandemic, Raisa Habersham reported. “In an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, I have declared a State of Emergency within the city of Atlanta, prohibiting large public gatherings of more than 250 people,” Bottoms said on her Twitter page Sunday evening. The ban will continue through the end of the month.
8 p.m.: A Newton County school system employee has tested positive for the coronavirus Alexis Stevens reports. The employee, whose name was not released, worked at the Newton County Theme School in Covington, which has students from kindergarten through eighth grade, according to the district.
7p.m.: More than 30 people quarantined at two sites in Georgia amid the coronavirus pandemic were released this weekend, state and federal officials said Sunday, a glimmer of good news as the tally of confirmed cases climb, Scott Trubey and Jeremy Redmon report. Thirty-two former passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship — including 23 Georgians and nine from Oklahoma — have returned home from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
3:30 p.m.: T
2:30 p.m.: As flights to Europe are canceled en masse, Delta Air Lines’ customers are encountering problems trying to change their flights on the airline’s website and are facing hourslong waits for customer service on the phone. Airport blogger Kelly Yamanouchi has Delta’s response.
2:15 p.m.: Fulton County Schools took the initiative last week when it became the first Georgia school district to shut down in reaction to the spreading coronavirus, but, Ty Tagami reports, a new confirmed case in a high school illustrates the risk of relaxing too soon.
Noon: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state of Georgia has increased to 99, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Asia Simone Burns reports. The latest data from the DHP shows the spike, which rose from 66 cases on Saturday.
10 a.m.: Asia Simone Burns reports Atlanta Gas Light and Georgia Power, who are both owned by Southern Co., said they will not terminate services for customers due to nonpayment amid COVID-19 concerns.
9:30 a.m.: Electric cooperative Jackson EMC announced Sunday its offices will be open only for drive-through services starting Monday, March 16. It also will suspend disconnections for nonpayment during the coronavirus pandemic. Jackson provides power in 10 counties, including Gwinnett, Hall and Athens-Clarke.
8 a.m.: Many Atlanta businesses and organizations are doing what they can to remain open or to prevent the spread of the coronavirus once they re-open. Andy Peters talked to businesses getting a thorough cleaning, and to the companies that will clean them.
- President Donald Trump on Saturday evening announced he will be tuning in to a popular Gainesville church’s livestream of its Sunday morning prayer service. In a tweet, the president said he will listen in as Pastor Jentezen Franklin delivers his sermon online to Free Chapel’s parishioners.
- Amid the nation’s growing concern over the coronavirus threat, Walmart announced in a blog post Saturday evening that it would cut back on hours at its 24-hour locations across the United States starting Sunday.
- The Fox Theatre announced Saturday night it will close for at least two weeks amid coronavirus concerns. What this means for ticketholders.
SATURDAY’S TOP STORIES
- Georgia elections officials postponed the presidential primary scheduled for next week until May 19, the same date as the primary for a sweep of local, state and federal offices, elections officials told Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein. Early voting for the primary, which began on March 2, will resume again shortly before the new voting date.
- Georgia’s chief justice declared a statewide judicial emergency, Tyler Estep reported, ordering courts and clerk’s offices to “suspend all but essential court functions” amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Unless amended, the order affecting all Georgia courts and clerk’s offices will be in place for 30 days.
- The number of coronavirus cases spike overnight, rising from 42 to 66
Thirty-one Georgia residents quarantined at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta are heading home
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