City imposes curfew as Coronavirus cases rise in Georgia

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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Bainbridge’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus was treated at Memorial Hospital and Manor Tuesday.

The patient, a non-Decatur County resident, was sent home and is reporting relieved symptoms, according to authorities at MHM.

With over 1,000 Coronavirus cases confirmed in Georgia, the City of Bainbridge is taking precautionary measures to help control any potential spread of the virus.

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Bainbridge City Council gathered over a teleconference on Tuesday to issue an emergency declaration that follows Gov. Brian Kemp’s teleconference on Monday and the President’s National Public Health Emergency declaration.

This declaration prohibits any gathering of more than 10 people and additionally closes all bars, gyms, fitness centers, nail or hair salons and any other facility that uses an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity of any individuals for entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes.

This declaration does not exempt funeral homes from holding services, but limits the number of attendees to 10. City officials are therefore suggesting only holding a graveside service.

Restaurants and other eating establishments must cease dine in services, but are allowed to offer take-out, delivery or drive-through. However, employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of personal distance from themselves and others, even during delivery. During this time period, restaurants that sell beer and wine are authorized to sell unopened bottles or cans of beer or wine for take-out consumptions off the premises.

Due to the uncertainty and closing of businesses, utility services and deadlines have been extended. During the declaration of emergency, the City of Bainbridge has announced it will not disconnect any public utility service on account of nonpayment. Following the conclusion of the declared emergency, people will have 15 days to make the payment before the service is disconnected.

The emergency declaration also includes a curfew that the City is prepared to implement.
The curfew will be imposed from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. However, there are exceptions to the curfew. Exempt individuals include those who are designated in essential services such as, fire, law enforcement, medical and hospital services, including veterinary services, military services, utility emergency repairs, persons seeking emergency medical services or hospital services and those assisting such persons, individuals traveling to and from their jobs, who have appropriate identification, individuals engaged in the delivery of food, medicine or other necessary supplies, designated employees or agents of business designated essential by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, persons providing necessary care for companion animals in the custody and care an animal shelter, boarding facility or kennel and persons walking personal animals; and critical infrastructure businesses and employees as designated by the Governor or identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

This curfew was implemented on Tuesday at midnight and will last through April 6.
Bainbridge Public Safety Chief, Jerry Carter said they will be implementing this curfew, but will not be looking to stop individuals unless they give BPS a legitimate reason to, or are drawing suspicion to themselves.

Following the declaration, Mayor Edward Reynolds adjourned the call, saying they would reconvene if schools were not back in session by April 6 and they needed to extend the curfew.

Around the State

At press time Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases in Georgia was 1,026 with 32 total deaths. The Georgia Department of Public Health attributed the significant increase over the 772 confirmed cases reported on Monday in part to “improvement in electronic reporting efficiency from commercial laboratories.”

The virus has spread to 85 counties. Fulton County continues to far outpace the rest with 184 confirmed cases, followed by DeKalb County with 94, Dougherty County with 90, Cobb County with 86, Bartow County with 75 and Gwinnett County with 45.

Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany, a hot spot for Coronavirus in Southwest Georgia, reported 150 positive test results of the virus on Tuesday.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order requiring Georgians considered at risk of contracting COVID-19 to stay at home took effect at noon Tuesday. Some local governments – including Atlanta, Athens, Savannah and DeKalb County – have gone further by requiring everyone to stay at home.

“These measures are intended to ensure the health and safety of Georgians from across our state,” Kemp said during a late-afternoon briefing streamed from his office at the state Capitol. “I ask for everyone’s cooperation over the next two weeks.”

The highest prevalence of the virus was among those between the ages of 18 and 59, with 56% of the cases in that group. Georgians age 60 and older accounted for 36% of cases.
Women accounted for slightly more COVID-19 cases than men, according to the DPH.