EVENING UPDATE: Georgia tops 12,200 cases of COVID-19, 432 deaths


GEORGIA (WRBL) – As of Saturday evening, Georgia’s COVID-19 cases sit at 12,261, an increase from 12,159 cases at noon.

Statewide there are 432 deaths and 2,491 people are still lying in hospitals as of 7 p.m.

Muscogee County has 144 cases and four reported COVID-19 deaths. Troup County has 57 cases and three reported deaths. Harris County now has 19 cases.

The fourth Columbus person to pass away was a 22-year-old woman with underlying conditions. News 3 is awaiting more information about her.

Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to participate in religious services online or by phone ahead of Easter Sunday because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kemp has issued a statewide stay-at-home order lasting through the end of April. But houses of worship are still allowed to hold services as long as congregants remain 6 feet apart.

New models now predict that we’re just days away from reaching a coronavirus peak in the US, and in Georgia, that could be as early as April 20, 2020. Medical experts say social distancing is paying off in Georgia as models show we are going in the right direction with less disease transmission and fewer hospitalizations than what was predicted. But with Georgia less than two weeks away from it’s peak, doctors say there’s no sure way to know how the peak will impact the state, especially in rural areas.

Because of the coronavirus, Columbus State University had to cancel the May graduation ceremonies but graduating students got to good news on Friday. CSU’s May Class of 2020 will now have two ways to celebrate graduation. The first will be an online live “conferring of degrees” on May 15th and the physical diploma will be mailed to student’s address. The second opportunity for the graduating class to be celebrated will be an in person graduation ceremony on Aug. 8, 2020. This ceremony will be specifically for the May graduates.

Unemployment continues to surge in Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic, with state officials saying they processed more unemployment claims in the latest full week than they saw during all of 2019. The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that it processed more than 390,000 claims from jobless workers during the week-long period that ended Saturday. That’s almost triple the record-breaking 133,800 claims seen a week earlier. State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says his agency paid out more than $41 million in unemployment benefits to Georgia residents last week. Most of the latest claims were from workers who lost jobs in the food service and travel lodging sectors.

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