Georgia sets another record with 3,500 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours

Another record-setting day on Thursday as confirmed coronavirus rise by nearly 3,500 in Georgia, new data shows, as Georgia's governor warns people to wear a mask for the next few months if they want college football this fall.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed 87,709 cases, an increase of 3,472 since Wednesday.

Hospitalizations have also increased by 225 with 32 more patients in the ICU in the last 24 hours. That brings the total, according to the GDPH, to 11,500 in the hospital and 2,389 in ICU.

If there is good news, it is the testing capacity is high. The GDPH reports 31,713 more tests were added within the last 24 hours. 

The data also suggests health care workers have their work cut out for them as they have been keeping the deaths from COVID-19 low in Georgia. The GDPH reported there have been a total of 2,849 deaths from COVID-19, that's up 22 from Wednesday. That is a far cry from the triple digits when this pandemic first began, but health officials warn that number could change if proper precautions are not continued.

To drive home that point, Gov. Brian Kemp continued his "Wear a Mask" tour in Dalton, Augusta, and Brunswick on Thursday. He was joined by U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams and Dr. Kathleen Toomey

"We want everyone to understand the coronavirus is spreading mostly among young people, but there are things you can do to stay safe," VADM Adams said in a video tweeted by the U.S. Surgeon General.

"If you want some college football this fall and other sports, wear your mask for the next few weeks. Let's flatten the curve and drive the numbers down. God bless!" the governor exclaimed in that same video.

"We can do this, America. COVID stops with us," VADM Adams encouraged.

The governor has expressed concerns about the upcoming holiday weekend and making sure everyone is practicing social distancing as well as wearing a mask.

Georgia isn’t alone in seeing rising numbers. One-day confirmed coronavirus cases for the country rose to an all-time high of 50,000 on Thursday and cases are rising in 40 out of 50 states.

Some states, such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and California, have paused reopening plans or implemented additional restrictions. But Kemp has so far declined to do so, saying the restrictions already in place are enough. He has embarked on a statewide tour to encourage people to wear masks but says he won’t mandate it.

“We shouldn’t need a mask mandate for people to do the right thing,” Kemp said Wednesday before departing.

At a tour stop at the Augusta University Medical Center on Thursday, Kemp was joined by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who urged everyone to wear masks over the holiday weekend.

“Fourth of July is all about freedom. And I’ve heard people say that this is an imposition on my freedom is an impediment to my right to choose. Again I reject that argument,” Adams said, according to WRDW-TV. “The more of us who wear the mask, the more we will be able to open safely and stay open, and the more choices, the more freedom, the more opportunities we will have.”

Georgia has been aggressive in allowing businesses to reopen amid the pandemic, with Kemp giving the green light to places including tattoo parlors, hair and nail salons and bowling alleys in late April. Restaurants, retail stores, bars, concert venues and amusement parks have also reopened with restrictions.

For many, the coronavirus causes moderate symptoms. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Best prevention measures:

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.

• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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