Georgia is nearing 2,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, the department reported 1,984 deaths, 7,914 hospitalizations and 45,863 total cases.
Bartow County has had 38 total deaths, 135 hospitalizations and 477 cases.
Gov. Brian Kemp said on Twitter Friday that the state had received 3 million cloth masks that would soon be distributed to critical workers.
A day earlier, Kemp announced plans to further loosen business restrictions in Georgia. Overnight summer camps will be allowed to begin Sunday. Bars and nightclubs can reopen Monday and amusement parks can let customers in June 12, all with capacity and sanitation restrictions.
The death toll across the country has surpassed 100,000.
Atlanta Mayor Bottoms seeking more federal coronavirus relief
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms asked Congress Friday for more aid to help local governments cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bottoms told members of the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that Atlanta received $89 million in direct assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Congress passed overwhelmingly in March, plus another $338.5 million that went to city-owned Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Still, Atlanta is facing a $35 million to $40 million budget shortfall because of the impact the business lockdown resulting from the pandemic has had on tax collections, Bottoms said.
“Cities can only do so much,” said Bottoms, part of a parade of U.S. mayors invited to testify at Friday’s subcommittee hearing. “We need additional assistance to bolster small businesses and people working paycheck to paycheck in jobs that have been endangered or put on hold.”
Bottoms and the other mayors endorsed the latest coronavirus relief bill before Congress, which includes $375 billion in direct aid to local governments. The Democratic-controlled House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Solutions (HEROES) Act earlier this month, but it has gotten a cool reception from the U.S. Senate’s Republican majority.
Bottoms said Atlanta has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 because it’s the mostly densely populated city in Georgia and due to its large population of African-Americans, who data shows are being affected disproportionately by the virus.
She said another factor increasing Atlanta’s exposure to coronavirus is that Georgia was among the first states to begin reopening businesses closed because of the pandemic.
The city itself is pursuing a “thoughtful and strategic reopening that is driven by data” and based on the recommendations of a 60-member committee of business, academic, faith-based and philanthropic leaders, Bottoms said.
“We are encouraged by the progress we’re making,” the mayor said. “But we are not out of the woods yet.”
OSHA cites nursing home for delayed coronavirus reporting
The federal agency that oversees workplace safety said Friday that it had issued its first citation in the U.S. related to the coronavirus outbreak: against a Georgia nursing home that delayed reporting the hospitalization of six infected workers.
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration announced the citation the day after Democrats at a congressional subcommittee hearing in Washington accused the agency of being largely invisible during the pandemic and failing to protect workers at meatpacking plants and health care facilities with high infection rates.
The citation, dated May 18, states that Winder Nursing Inc., which operates a nursing home in Winder, failed to report to OSHA within 24 hours the work-related hospitalizations of six employees. OSHA said the workers were hospitalized around April 19, but the agency wasn't notified until May 5.
"During these historic times, OSHA will continue working to protect workers, including those in high-risk industries,” Kurt A. Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta, said in a statement.
The citation does not mention the coronavirus. An OSHA spokeswoman, Megan Sweeney, confirmed Friday that all six of the workers were infected with COVID-19.
OSHA proposed a $6,500 fine for the nursing home for a single violation that the agency concluded was “other than serious,” according to the citation.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, which tracks coronavirus cases in the state's long-term care facilities, 88 residents and 27 workers at the Winder nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19, and 14 residents have died from the virus. The virus has killed more than 950 long-term care residents statewide.
Katy Callaway, the nursing home's administrator, said Friday that she had not yet received the OSHA citation. She declined to comment further.
Sweeney said OSHA has received more than 4,500 coronavirus-related complaints but this is the first citation the agency has issued in response. She said the agency investigates every complaint.
— The Associated Press and Capitol Beat News contributed to this report.