Kemp, officials extending Georgia's public health state of emergency

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston have announced they will extend Georgia's public health state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kemp had previously declared the unprecedented public health state of emergency on March 14. At the time, Georgia had 66 cases of COVID-19. As of Tuesday night, the state now has over 9,000 cases. 

The current state of emergency was set to expire on April 13, but Kemp, Duncan, and Ralston agreed that it needed to be renewed through May 13. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addresses reporters Wednesday April 1, 2020.

“To ensure the health and well-being of Georgians, I will extend the public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020. This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers, and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our healthcare facilities," Kemp said. "We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing, and helping us flatten the curve. We are in this fight together,”

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The order temporarily gives the governor and state health officials more leeway to suspend some laws and regulations and institute others to combat the virus. 

“We must continue our aggressive fight against COVID-19,” Duncan said. "By extending the public health state of emergency, we can ensure Georgians have access to every available state resource during this crisis. 

Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georgia

In late March, Kemp and the Georgia National Guard said they will be sending troops to long-term living facilities and nursing homes across the state that have cases of coronavirus to help reduce exposure among the vulnerable residents of the facilities.

"The entirety of our state government is working to protect the health and safety of our citizens, and I appreciate the work of our state personnel and first responders during this challenging time,” said Speaker David Ralston.

On April 2, Kemp issued a shelter-in-place order for the entire state of Georgia that is now extended to continue through April 30. He also signed an order closing Georgia kindergarten and public schools for the rest of the academic year.

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

RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.