ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp took a victory lap during his coronavirus briefing Wednesday morning, touting Georgia’s 64-percent reduction in new COVID-19 since a peak on July 24.
“We needed Georgians to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and I’m very proud of the fact that Georgians have stepped up to the plate and have done the right thing,” Kemp said. “The key for now is for us to keep doing this. We cannot take our foot off the gas.”
Both Kemp and Dr. Katherine Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, urged Georgians to “wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and follow the guidance” of health experts.
Kemp noted other signs of progress as well, with confirmed hospitalizations down 60 percent from their peak and COVID-19 cases comprising only 8.8 percent of Georgia’s total hospital population.
Kemp noted that Georgia’s unemployment rate is below the national average and that the state has maintained its triple-A bond rating through the pandemic.
“We have worked hard to protect people and their paychecks,” Kemp said, “and, yes, we can do both.”
Kemp sidestepped a reporter’s question about what kind of example he’d set by attending last week’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, in which most attendees were close and maskless.
Instead, Kemp pointed out that at least he was wearing a mask and that participants in similar events — including “demonstrations” and “protests” — have First Amendment rights.
But when another reporter challenged Kemp’s positive outlook by pointing out that the most recent seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases had risen slightly, Kemp pushed back
“You know, cherry picking the worst figures like you’ve done in the past is a little disingenuous to the public,” Kemp answered, urging the public to bypass the media and read Toomey’s reports firsthand.
Kemp ended the briefing with a pitch to vote.
“We have one of the greatest states in the country for access to the ballot,” Kemp said. “We’re a state that wants to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
GEORGIA CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR OCT. 7, 2020
The Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta reported a total of 326,142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. According to the health department’s website, that includes 1,554 newly confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.
Georgia also reported 7,259 deaths so far from COVID-19, with 32 more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. In addition, the state reported 29,308 hospitalizations — 154 more than the day before — and 5,439 admissions so far to intensive-care units.
No information is available from Georgia about how many patients have recovered.
Counties in or near metro Atlanta and other metropolitan areas continue to have the highest number of positives, with Fulton County still in the lead.
Fulton County: 28,392 cases — 134 new
Gwinnett County: 28,328 cases — 121 new
Cobb County: 20,224 cases — 104 new