ATLANTA, Ga. (WSAV) – Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey joined Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General for a press conference in Atlanta on Monday.
Kemp discussed the coronavirus in Georgia and announce a new partnership to expand COVID-19 testing in the Atlanta region.
Kemp began the press conference saying that Georgia is slowly seeing some improvement. For the first time since mid-July, COVID-19 related hospitalizations are below 3,000, Kemp said.
“While this is positive progress, we still have a ways to go,” the governor said.
The governor said Georgia now has over 170 testing sites across the state, but said more sites are needed at hot spots and in communities struggling to get access to testing.
“To ensure a healthy Georgia, we cannot stop here,” Kemp said.
Kemp then announced that a new testing site is set to open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The new site will bring 5,000+ tests a day to Georgia.
Kemp and Adams both encouraged Georgians to get tested if they have been in a high-risk situation or have been exposed to COVID-19. The two also encouraged the public to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash their hands frequently.
Adams said Georgia can reopen safely if people follow these guidelines.
“I want the people of Georgia to know we don’t have to wait for a vaccine,” Adams said.
Adams then specifically addressed people who believe wearing a mask is an infringement of their rights. He said he wants anyone who doesn’t want to wear a mask to understand that wearing a mask will help ensure that things like sports, eating at restaurants, and other things people enjoy can happen sooner rather than later.
Adams also addressed mental health during the pandemic, saying opioid overdoses are up 20% compared to this time last year. He encouraged Georgians to check on each other, and asked anyone struggling with their mental health to call the national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
To see the latest update on the coronavirus in Georgia, click here.