ATLANTA (WSAV) – Gov. Brian Kemp says a record number of Georgians have been tested for COVID-19 thanks to numerous partnerships around the state.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, citing data from the COVID Mapping Project, the governor said Georgia is now 29th out of 50 states for testing per capita. The state was recently in the bottom 10, he said.
Kemp said partnerships with public and private health facilities, the Georgia National Guard, University System of Georgia, Augusta University (AU) Health and other agencies have made the increase in testing possible.
The governor also announced a new partner Thursday, Peach Bowl Inc., which operates the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the six bowls selected to host the college football playoff.
Peach Bowl will provide more than $1 million in support of Kemp’s plan to make coronavirus screening available statewide through the AU Health ExpressCare app.
“We’re all in this together and together we will win this fight,” said AU CEO Brooks Keel, in attendance at Thursday’s briefing.
Even with over 217,000 tests performed and 60 testing sites across the state, Kemp was clear that the fight isn’t over. He said that with more testing, Georgia needs a greater lab capacity.
Kemp also noted that the risk to the elderly and medically fragile isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“This is going to be a long fight at our long-term facilities,” he said.
The governor said 20% of all coronavirus cases in Georgia are related to long-term healthcare facilities and two-thirds of all deaths have been elderly or medically fragile persons.
Both Kemp and Keel thanked the Georgia National Guard for their efforts in cleaning, testing and training at long-term healthcare facilities.
“They are truly Georgia’s heroes and we cannot thank them enough for what they’ve been doing,” the governor said.
Kemp urged Georgians to continue simple steps to combat the spread of the disease, like avoiding large gatherings and wearing masks in public.
“I wore one when I went and got a hair cut this morning,” he added.
Kemp concluded: “As we celebrate the success of partnerships today – Augusta University, Peach Bowl, and Georgia businesses, large and small – let’s remember that building a safer, stronger, healthier, and more prosperous state is a team sport.”