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ATLANTA (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia governor Brian Kemp said Wednesday he will sign a statewide shelter-in-place executive order Thursday.
“We are taking action to protect our hospitals, help our medical providers, and prepare for patient surge,” Kemp said in a briefing at Liberty Plaza. “This action will ensure uniformity among jurisdictions for Georgians sheltering in place and help families and businesses comply with its provisions.”
Kemp, who said the decision came following a dramatic change in COVID-19 case data and modeling in the last 48 hours, said the shelter-in-place order will be in effect Friday, April 3 through Monday, April 13.
“The CDC has announced that individuals can be infected and begin to spread coronavirus earlier than previously thought–even if they have no symptoms,” Kemp said. “From a public health standpoint, this is a revelation and a game changer.”
The governor also announced the signing of an executive order closing in-person instruction at K-12 public schools for the rest of the school year. He had previously signed an order closing schools through Friday, April 24.
“I want to stress that online learning will continue,” he said.
Kemp told reporters he understands people still have to eat and take trips to pharmacies while the shelter-in-place order is in effect, and he used Georgia-based companies making personal protective equipment as an example when talking about possible exemptions.
“These are hard things to figure out,” he said. “Just like a packaging company: if you make the medical supplies, somebody’s got to make the packaging that it goes in to keep it sanitized on the way to the health care facility.”
Kemp said more details regarding the shelter-in-place order would be announced Thursday.
“When I announced my campaign for Governor three years ago today, I told a crowded room of supporters in Cobb County that there would be difficult days ahead but to remember the words of Joshua 1:9: ‘Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.'”
“Years later, I still believe that with my entire heart,” he continued. “To our doctors, nurses, medical staff: be strong and courageous. To our first responders, truck drivers, grocery store workers and food delivery workers: be strong and courageous. To mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers: be strong and courageous. To the hardworking Georgians from every corner of our great state: be strong and courageous. We are in this together. You are not alone.”
Kemp also addressed concerns about an increase in domestic violence, citing one metro Atlanta hospital that has reported a 15 percent increase in domestic violence cases at its facility.
“This is disturbing and cannot be tolerated,” he said. “If you or someone you know needs help, please call Georgia’s domestic violence hotline at 1-800-334-2836.”
“We are also seeing a reduction in the reports of child abuse, likely as a consequence of our educators not having as much face time with Georgia students,” he continued. “If you are a child in crisis or know someone who needs help, please reach out to the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services at 1-855-GACHILD. That’s 1-855-422-4453.”