The Georgia House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 requested that Governor Brian Kemp implement more emergency regulations to address the new COVID-19 strain. Subcommittee members are State Representatives Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale), Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain) (pictured above), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Kim Schofieeld (D-Atlanta).
The letter requested that Kemp expand the emergency orders to require everyone to either shelter-in-place, or do a combination of the following: cease all in-person schooling; further limit gatherings in bars, clubs, and restaurants; impose a statewide mask mandate; and establish moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for all of this upcoming year.
The subcommittee cited the current positive case rates as compared to those of last April as the main reason for establishing a shelter-in-place. They stated that 20.4 percent of individuals tested were positive, as compared to 19.4 percent last April. They also claimed that hospitalization rates are increasing and that the infection rates have more than doubled among children. Additionally, the subcommittee claimed that the state’s hospital system has become overwhelmed.
“In view of the recent confirmation of a new[,] more transmissible coronavirus variant this week in California, Colorado, New York, Florida, and Georgia, our state clearly needs to take drastic measures to protect the health and welfare of the public,” stated Davis in the press release.
Georgia’s Public Health State of Emergency was renewed at the end of last month, which will last until February 7th unless renewed again. Kemp’s current orders, set to expire Friday, implement social distancing and gathering regulations, and allow for city or county governments the option to implement mask mandates. It also requires residents and visitors within certain high-risk categories to shelter-in-place, with certain exceptions for travel or work, as well as COVID-19 regulations and safety measures adjusted for various types of businesses.
Georgia’s General Assembly convened in person on Monday, with social distancing measures and various adjustments in place due to the pandemic. In addition to the topic of COVID-19, legislators are expected to address election integrity laws and procedures.
The Georgia Star News reached out to the legislator who authored the letter, Davis, to inquire about any suggested timelines for implementing the requests, as well as any proposals to alleviate potential financial or mental health strains that could occur. Davis didn’t respond with comment by press time.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “State Rep Viola Davis” by Georgia House of Representatives.