Kemp changes restaurant and childcare restrictions

Announcements, Featured Stories, State & National
childcare

ATLANTA, Ga – On May 12, Gov. Brian Kemp continued to ease restrictions on certain industries – restaurants and childcare – to assist Ga businesses as the state returns to normal.

Childcare facilities now can operate with up to 20 children in a classroom instead of 10 as long as the instructor-to-child ratio is maintained. Departments of Early Care and Learning and Public Health reportedly okayed this expansion and ensured it could be accomplished safely.

Many parents in Ga are returning to work and have encountered difficulty finding childcare services.

“Childcare facilities must continue to adhere to thirteen minimum, mandatory criteria to be able to operate, including strict screening procedures and sanitation mandates for frequently touched items and surfaces. In that same vein, countless families have reached out to my office to discuss how summer camps can safely operate as we battle the spread of COVID-19,” Kemp explained.

Summer day camps have also received the okay to open on May 14 if facilities can meet the 32 requirements developed by the Department of Public Health, constituents, and summer camp operators. The CDC has yet to weigh in on the criteria, but Kemp appeared confident that their plan would move forward.

However, overnight camps are still closed, but eventually, these facilities might be able to open under a case by case basis.

As for restaurants, those who have already opened or considering opening can now allow up to 10 patrons per 300 sq. feet and seat groups of 10. Previously the maximum number at a table was six.

Kemp praised the food industry, “Throughout this pandemic, our restaurant owners and their employees have done a remarkable job in keeping local families fed. These hardworking Georgians have followed the rules, doing the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy.”

Live performance venues, bars, and nightclubs must remain closed through May 31, 2020.

The social distancing and gathering ban on more than 10 people are still in effect unless six feet of separation is possible. The ban applied to all non-critical infrastructure businesses, local governments, and organizations of all types, including social groups, informal get-togethers, and recreational sports, just to name a few. Georgians can expect these protocols to last through at least the end of the month.

“We continue to strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when out in public, and we thank everyone for their willingness to do the right thing,” Kemp added. “The shelter in place provision for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12, 2020.”

Starting on May 18, state agencies will begin transitioning back into in-office services.

As of noon today, Georgia has received its first shipment of Remdesivir from the federal government – thirty cases with forty vials of the drug per case. The Department of Public Health will determine how it will be distributed.

Nursing Home Testing

Georgia’s National Guard has tested 46% of all nursing home residents and 24% of staff at those facilities. However, an estimated 46,000 people who still need to be tested. In total, the Guard has tested 142 nursing homes. The National Guard will continue to test everyone at these facilities until they reach 100 percent.

The press conference did address the re-testing of facilities is new cases are found after the initial testing. Department of Community Health releases daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in nursing homes across Ga.

“As we aggressively test more nursing homes and long-term care facilities, we may see a sharper increase in positive test results. By doing this, it will allow medical providers to intervene earlier and try to mitigate adverse outcomes among vulnerable Georgians. Right now, nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents and staff make up 18.5% of our total positive cases, and 49% of total deaths involve nursing home, assisted living, and personal care home residents. We ask everyone to continue to protect the elderly and medically fragile, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure quick, convenient testing is available for all Georgians,” Kemp explained.

Anyone in Ga can now be tested for COVID-19 either through their local health departments or by downloading the Augusta University ExpressCare app, visit augustahealth.org, or call (706) 721-1852.

“With nearly 250 staff in the field today, the Department of Public Health is making progress. Under the leadership of Dr. Toomey, DPH plans to have 1,000 staff deployed in the coming weeks. To streamline contact tracing across the state, we are rolling out a new online monitoring tool – the Healthy Georgia Collaborative – which allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms. Health data remains completely confidential. This monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is entered by the contact. This is how the process works: residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by trained public health staff, who will work with that individual to recall anyone that they might’ve had close contact with while infectious. Those contacts will then be interviewed by DPH to help us map and isolate the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state. If you are contacted by DPH staff, we strongly encourage you to participate in the contact tracing program,” Kemp said about contact tracing.

The governor also urged anyone who needs to visit their doctor for regular appointments or concerns outside of COVID-19 to please do so. Doctors’ offices and emergency rooms have protocols in place to prevent individuals from contracting the virus. Now is not a time to gamble with anyone’s health to avoid COVID-19.

Posted by Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

COVID-19 testing available to all Georgians

Press Release
testing

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has reached its goal of testing 100,000 individuals in 10 days. More than 108,000 tests were processed since Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, set the DPH goal last week.

“This is an important benchmark for Georgia as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Toomey. “Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them.”

Effective immediately, testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. There are more than 65 specimen point of collection sites (SPOC) throughout the state, with an additional 30 mobile SPOCs –  locations and hours vary daily.

Individuals wanting to be tested can contact any Georgia public health department to schedule an appointment at a SPOC location convenient to them. Contact information for local health departments can be found on the DPH homepage at

https://dph.georgia.gov/.

For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Presidential Primary postponed until May 19

Announcements, Election, Featured
Presidential Primary

ATLANTA, Ga – The March 24 Presidential Preference Primary has been moved to May 19 with the rest of Georgia’s primary elections in an effort to keep the public safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement that early in-person voting for the Presidental Primary will be halted.

Georgia now joins Louisiana as a state that has chosen to push back elections because of COVID-19.

On Saturday, Georgia reported 66 COVID-19 cases and one death from the virus. Earlier today, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency and has called in the National Guard to assist with the pandemic.

Former ICE Director Tom Homan condemns Gov. Kemp

News, Politics
Homan

ATLANTA, Ga – Gov. Brian Kemp received the proverbial earful from former ICE Director Tom Homan over his broken campaign promise to deal with illegal immigration in Georgia.

Homan was the keynote speaker at an event held by the Dustin Inman Society, titled “Honoring Immigrants: An Expert, Pro-Enforcement Conversation on Immigration.”

“Georgia’s the next California. You’ve got a governor over here that made promises to his constituents, whose been missing in action on that issue,” Homan told the room. “Keep your word and do the right thing. We’re not asking you to do anything out of the ordinary. We’re asking you to support the enforcement of the nation’s laws.”

Homan told the room he spoke with a special agent about Kemp, who agreed that Georgia’s governor isn’t following through with his promise to curb illegal immigration.

Kemp’s campaign platform took a tough stance on immigration. He even released a “Track and Deport Plan,” where he promised to “create a comprehensive database to track criminal aliens in Georgia.  He will also update Georgia law to streamline deportations from our jails and prisons.”

In 2019, Kemp dissolved a controversial Immigration Enforcement Review Board, which civil rights groups viewed as a harassment tool for anti-immigration groups.

“They talk the talk during the campaign, but they won’t walk the walk,” claimed Homan about most politicians. The only exception being President Donald Trump, who has taken decisive action to prevent illegal immigration in the states.

Homan encouraged attendees to call the governor and hold him accountable for his campaign promises.

Border crossings by the numbers

Trump declared a national emergency at the Southern Border on Feb. 15, 2019, because close to $1 million illegal crossings were occurring.

“72 percent of the crossings were either family units or children by themselves. Children under the age of 18 because of that humanitarian crisis, 50 to 60 percent of border patrol agents were no longer on the lines. They were changing diapers, making formula, making hospital runs,” said Homan.

According to the former ICE Director, the lack of agents on the border contributed to the 68,000 opioid deaths of Americans.

“Border is unprotected; drugs are going to flow. Many investigations clearly show criminal cartels in Mexico manage the entire northern Mexican border…They will get 100 to 150 family units, push them through one sector at one time and tie up all the border patrol assets in that area. Meanwhile, they’re moving the bad guys. The guys that don’t want to turn themselves in and claim asylum. [The cartels are] moving MS13 members and drugs over here,” Homan stated.

Doctors Without Borders reported that 31 percent of women crossing the border experienced some form of sexual assault during their journey.

“Children are dying. The cartel is making millions of dollars a year,” asserted Homan.

He also mentioned the decrease in illegal crossings, which are down 72 percent from the high in May 2019. Homan attributes this reduction directly to Trump and the actions that he has taken, including forcing Mexico to enforce its laws.

14,00 children were in American government custody because a criminal organization haul smuggled them across the border. 2,500 families have been separated. Also, the border patrol has saved 4,000 immigrant lives.

Mexico has reportedly removed 86,000 Central Americans this year.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol published online records pertaining to illegal immigration.

“In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 To Date (TD), during the month of January, a total of 29,200 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry on our Southwest Border, compared to 32,857 in December and 33,514 in November. In FY19, a total of 851,508 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry on [the] Southwest Border.”

Current numbers for 2020.

ICE Effectiveness

In an effort to clear up misunderstandings about ICE’s role in immigration and arrests, Homan said, “no one ripped a child out of their mother’s arms. It was zero tolerance, not family separation.”

ICE wanted to prosecute people who broke the law, and with zero tolerance, numbers dropped 26 percent in two weeks in the Rio Grande Valley. However, the president stopped the policy after receiving political push back.

Zero Tolerance did result in the separation of families because a child can’t go to the U.S. Marshall if the parent committed a crime.

Homan brought up sanctuary cities and how the policies put ICE agents in danger due to a false narrative that they arrest victims and witnesses.

“89.8 percent of ICE arrests were illegal in the United States and had a criminal conviction or pending criminal charges when arrested because they were locked up in a jail cell,” Homan asserted. “Victims and witnesses shouldn’t be afraid because we’re not looking for them, and we’re not arresting them. Criminal aliens are going to re-offend in the very community in which they live. The immigrant community.”

Sanctuaries cities make it easier for criminals to continue to commit crimes and result in a higher rate of ICE arrests. Officers must enter the immigrant community more often to make an arrest because they can’t enforce the law in the county jail.

“When ICE can’t arrest a bad guy in county jail, we’re going to arrest him, which means now we have to go to the community, their place of business. You’re forcing ICE into the community, which means when ICE finds them, and they will. They are likely to find others that aren’t even on ICE’s radar,” explained Homan.

However, most illegal immigrants only break the law of entering the country illegally. Afterward, they try their best to follow the law.

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