Georgia Gov. Kemp says no mask mandate, but schools keep announcing them

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ATLANTA – Infections and hospitalizations from COVID-19 successful Georgia continued to emergence steeply Wednesday, arsenic Gov. Brian Kemp vowed helium would not enforce a statewide disguise mandate oregon restrict concern and nationalist activities.

“Georgia volition not fastener down oregon enforce statewide disguise mandates,” Kemp tweeted connected Wednesday, repeating a stance that has remained accordant since the Republican lifted closures aboriginal successful the pandemic.

However, Kemp’s stance matters small to immoderate schoolhouse districts. Additional districts continued to denote Wednesday that they volition necessitate students and employees to deterioration masks, with the stock of Georgia nationalist schoolhouse students covered by disguise mandates present supra 30%, according to Associated Press calculations.

Nearly 4,000 affirmative COVID-19 tests were reported Wednesday by the authorities Department of Public Health. That continued a crisp upward inclination successful recently reported cases. The past clip Georgia reported much than 4,000 cases was connected Feb. 11.

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The stock of affirmative molecular tests was supra 12% for the 3rd time successful a row, acold supra the 5% level that experts accidental indicates astir cases are being detected.

The fig of hospitalized patients besides continued to spike. The fig of confirmed COVID-19 patients statewide rose to to 1,674 connected Wednesday from 1,501 connected Tuesday. More than 10% of each patients present hospitalized successful Georgia for immoderate crushed person COVID-19.

Rural infirmary regions astir Waycross and Dublin person seen much than twentyfold increases successful the fig of COVID-19 patients since July 5.

At slightest 15 schoolhouse districts statewide person announced caller disguise mandates oregon reaffirmed existing ones, with the 30,000-student Muscogee County territory becoming the latest to bash truthful connected Wednesday.

“This recommended added furniture of extortion is meant to beforehand the harmless instrumentality to in-person instruction, assistance america bash our portion to further trim transmission of the microorganism successful our community, and to support continuity of operations,” the territory said successful a quality release. The Columbus-based territory said it was pursuing guidance from a section advisory panel, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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So far, a tiny fraction of Georgia’s 180-plus schoolhouse districts are requiring masks. But the districts that person done truthful see six of the 11 largest districts successful the authorities and correspond much than 28% of each students statewide. A fig of different districts person said they’re considering tightening disguise optional stances, and much announcements could beryllium coming up of adjacent week, erstwhile astir Georgia districts commencement class.

Kemp had vowed successful May that “We’re not going to person a disguise mandate for our kids,” but an enforcement bid helium issued that month fell abbreviated of really banning masks successful schools. Instead, the politician said schoolhouse districts couldn’t mention Georgia’s nationalist wellness authorities of exigency arsenic a ground for requiring masks.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson imposed a partial disguise mandate in the coast’s largest metropolis connected Monday.

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Kemp terminated the nationalist wellness authorities of emergency at the extremity of June, though helium imposed different orders utilizing a antithetic authorities of exigency law.

On Wednesday, Kemp again focused connected encouraging radical to get vaccinated voluntarily. Georgia ranks successful the bottommost 10 states for vaccination rates.

“My family, myself, and different authorities leaders person each rolled up their sleeves and gotten their shot,” Kemp tweeted. “I promote each Georgians who person concerns oregon questions to speech to a aesculapian supplier and get vaccinated arsenic rapidly arsenic possible.”

The Atlanta-based CDC connected Tuesday changed earlier guidelines, recommending that adjacent vaccinated radical instrumentality to wearing masks indoors successful areas with important oregon precocious transmission. CDC figures amusement 138 of 159 Georgia counties successful those zones. The CDC besides recommended that everyone successful schools deterioration masks indoors, accelerating a displacement successful section schoolhouse policies.

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Follow AP’s sum of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press - All rights reserved.

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