Latest Atlanta coronavirus news: Deaths rise to 13 in Georgia

There are 420 confirmed cases in Georgia as of Friday, a 46% increase from Thursday

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 Friday, March 20, with news and details of COVID-19 in Georgia.

» Complete coverage: Coronavirus

2 p.m.: 

Several Georgia law enforcement agencies are cautioning residents to be mindful of scammers who are going door-to-door offering to sell coronavirus-related tests and cures, Shaddi Abusaid reports
There is no cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and tests in Georgia are so scarce they are being reserved for health care workers, first responders and those who are seriously ill.

1:45 p.m.: 

The piecemeal approach cities are taking to impose restrictions

has left residents and businesses to navigate slightly — or very — different sets of rules depending on where they’re located. Tyler Estep and J.D. Capelouto report several local officials are hankering for more uniform guidance from the state.

1:30 p.m.: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced $5.4 million in funding for immediate and long-term recovery assistance to organizations providing support in Georgia and Montana to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the organization announced Friday. The AJC Sports team has the story.

1 p.m.: It started a few weeks ago with what state Sen. Brandon Beach figured was a bout with recurring sinus problems. It ended with a coronavirus diagnosis that triggered calls for the entire Georgia legislative branch to self-quarantine. Greg Bluestein talks with the senator.

1 p.m.: Fulton County Schools gave out more than 30,000 meals over two days this week at six sites, but the district has now decided to expand the program to 21 locations. Ben Brasch has the details.


Georgia again saw a sharp increase in new cases of the coronavirus Friday, with the state now reporting 420 confirmed cases and three additional deaths, Chelsea Prince reports
The latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health is a 46% increase from Thursday’s cases, which totaled 287.

» Coronavirus in Georgia: stats in real time

11:45 a.m.: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's announcement that Americans have an extra three months to file their income taxes is good news for some Georgians, but it could deal a temporary blow to already iffy state finances. James Salzer tells you how the state could be affected.

11:30 a.m.: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has drafted an administrative order that effectively allows restaurants and bars to sell alcohol through takeout and delivery service, according to a tweet she posted Friday morning. Stephen Deere has the details.

10:30 a.m.: 

Cruise ship passengers who had been stranded at sea were flown to Atlanta on Friday, Alexis Stevens and Jeremy Redmon report
About 300 were on the flight, including 77 Canadians, according to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office. Passengers will go through “CDC protocol” to screen for any symptoms of the coronavirus as they exit the plane.

10:15 a.m.: The DeKalb library system decided last week to close all of its branches due to the spreading virus. To make up for the closures, J.D. Capelouto reports, librarians are now hosting "virtual storytime" every weekday on Facebook Live.

8:30 a.m.: With a little less than two weeks to go on Gov. Brian Kemp's mandate that schools stay closed until March 31 to stave off the spread of the coronavirus, metro Atlanta school districts are putting plans in place to go into next month. Arlinda Smith Broady has the details.

7:30 a.m.: New national statistics show that despite Georgia seeing a nearly 50% increase in cases Thursday, 29 states had a higher percentage increase in confirmed cases, with New York's 2,870 cases making up nearly half of the new cases in the U.S.

7 a.m.: Arielle Kass reports Gwinnett County is delaying some tax collections in response to the coronavirus outbreak, so companies can have more cash on hand as many businesses struggle.

6:30 a.m.: As the death toll and cases rise in Georgia, the coronavirus outbreak has forced Atlanta's police force to rethink how they function and interact with the public. That includes cleaning workspaces, having nonessential staff work from home, and forgoing vacation time, Raisa Habersham reports.

» Life in quarantine: Memes, GIFs and videos to get you through social distancing


» Thursday's complete coverage of the coronavirus in Georgia

» If you get COVID-19, how long can you expect to be sick?