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Decatur County on map for Coronavirus

Decatur County has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Compared to much of the state, Decatur County’s case count is considerably low. Neighboring Seminole and Miller counties also have two confirmed cases, while Grady County remains at zero. Leon County in Florida has 14 confirmed cases, and Gadsden County has one.

At press time Friday evening, Georgia had 2,001 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with 566 being hospitalized and 64 deaths. Albany is a hot spot in Southwest Georgia, where there are 266 positive test results and 16 deaths at Phoebe Putney Hospital.

As the positive test results for the virus continue to climb daily, residents are still adjusting to new ways of life. The City of Bainbridge issued a declaration prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, closing all bars, gyms, fitness centers, nail and hair salons and any other facility that involves prolonged physical proximity of any individuals for entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes. A curfew has also been implemented from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for all non-essential services and will last through Monday, April 6.

After school systems across the state were ordered to close through March 30, on Thursday Gov. Brian Kemp extended school closures through April 24, including all practices and contests for GHSA spring sports.

As a result, Georgia school officials took steps to scrap final exams and relax a wide range of other accountability rules for the state’s nearly two million public-school students who have been out of class.

A series of waivers approved Thursday will allow the more than 2,200 public and state schools to be exempted from 18 different requirements under state law such as the Milestone test and other student exams, teacher performance evaluations and course curriculum for the current school year.

The waivers also give local school districts more freedom to set formal class sizes that dictate state funding allocations and more leeway on how districts can spend their budgets.

Members of the state Board of Education unanimously approved the waivers at their monthly meeting Thursday, which was conducted over the phone.

With much of Georgia self-quarantining to curb the spread of coronavirus, Kemp and other officials urged the state’s residents Thursday night to keep practicing social distancing and personal hygiene as medical supplies run low in hospitals and test results remain slow.

Health experts have warned the virus could last for weeks if not months longer and potentially return later in the year for a second wave as the summer heat passes. Most at risk from dangerous health impacts from the virus are elderly persons and people with chronic illnesses.

“It is going to be us as Georgians to beat this virus back,” Kemp said. “There’s no cure right now, there’s no vaccine, and it is up to all of us to get educated and to do our part to be victorious in this battle.”

“I can promise you,” he added, “we are doing everything within our power in the state.”