Fighting COVID-19 in GeorgiaFeatured, Health, State & National March 26, 2020
From Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King:
While the COVID-19 outbreak started as an international story that felt distant to many of us,
this global pandemic has clearly become an issue impacting Georgians in every corner of our
On Wednesday evening, we eclipsed 1,387 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia – and 47
deaths. Schools are closed, many businesses have shuttered, and millions of our citizens are
practicing social distancing as we work to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of COVID-19.
This dangerous threat requires a strong, coordinated response from both the public and private
sectors. We are in this fight together and need all hands-on deck.
I was honored to be asked by Governor Kemp to serve on Georgia’s Coronavirus Task Force and
lead the Emergency Preparedness Committee, where I am working to ensure we have the
proper equipment and processes in place to respond appropriately to this ongoing health crisis.
Our Committee is hard at work looking at the data and putting together recommendations to
pass on to Governor Kemp for implementation.
In short order, we have partnered with the Governor to remove regulations on trucking
companies to keep much-needed food and supplies on our grocery store shelves. We are also
looking at other regulations to relax on our hospitals and pharmacies that will make it easier to
treat individuals with COVID-19-related symptoms and prioritize those who need additional
One key tool is telemedicine, where doctors can examine and diagnose patients either over the
phone or via video chat. This allows those who are ill to avoid visiting crowded ERs or doctor’s
offices – needlessly exposing Georgians to this highly contagious virus. We are diligently
working with the Governor and the insurance industry to ensure more Georgians have access to
telemedicine, expand insurance coverage for the service, and help patients find additional
As Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, I am also looking for ways to support both Georgia
families and small businesses during this outbreak. We recently directed health insurers not to
cancel health policies for non-payment until further notice. We also asked insurers to waive all
co-pays for COVID-19 testing and called on private labs providing these tests to keep costs at a
minimum. During a global pandemic, no one should be denied treatment for financial reasons –
and people shouldn’t lose their health coverage due to the economic instability fostered by the
Finally, to better help businesses struggling to weather the storm, we’ve committed to
expediting our review process for any insurers interested in writing new Business Interruption
Insurance policies specifically aimed at covering COVID-19 claims. We’ve also made a number of
changes to benefit local insurance agents in your community, including waiving all non-federal
filing deadlines and requirements and waiving late filing fees.
Here’s my commitment: We will do our part to not only help in the fight to stop COVID-19, but
to play a vital role in the recovery efforts as well.
As a Major General in the United States Army National Guard, I am assigned to Contingency
Command Post 1 and Task Force 51 in the US Army North, where we are responsible for
responding to disasters across the country. This week, I will be deployed to join the country-
wide battle against COVID-19. While working to secure the border and prevent spread, I will
remain focused on the needs of Georgians from every corner of our great state. Rest assured, I
will continue to be in constant communication with the Governor, his Task Force, and my office
to ensure that we continue to keep Georgia’s families and communities strong.
This crisis did not happen overnight, nor will it be solved quickly. But I am confident that
Georgians are up for the challenge. By following the guidelines provided by President Trump,
Governor Kemp, and the Centers for Disease Control, we can do our part to stop the spread of
coronavirus. With your help, we can end this pandemic and ensure a brighter, safer, and