ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said a coronavirus-related death has been reported in Early County.
In total, five coronavirus-related deaths have happened in Southwest Georgia.
The patient was a 48-year-old woman, according to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
Kemp said as of Thursday, there are 287 positive cases spanning 36 counties.
Kemp also said active cases in long-term care facilities are under investigation.
The four other Southwest Georgia deaths happened at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
Kemp said Thursday he is very concerned about the situation in Albany, and urged people to practice social distancing immediately. Kemp also mentioned Dougherty County Commission Chairman’s Chris Cohilas’ work of deploying Department of Public Health resources in the county.
“This situation could not be more serious," Kemp said of Albany, urging leaders to all have a conversation on educating the public and doing the right thing.
Kemp also said the state is on top of the situation in Albany.
Kemp said leaders at the local, state and federal levels are looking to make the “right calls at the right times.”
“I will tell you, there are no easy answers,” Kemp said.
Kemp said mobile testing sites have been deployed in certain regions of Georgia. The governor also said that because of the volume of tests, some tests are taking longer than 48 hours.
The elderly and those with underlying health conditions should be prioritized, Kemp said.
Kemp said the state is aware of shortages at some Georgia hospitals and the state is working with those hospitals to get them supply deliveries.
Kemp also addressed the amount of misinformation out there during this time. The governor also said there is a Georgia COVID-19 hotline, which is 1-844-442-2681. The hotline, on average, has gotten 700-800 calls each day.
Kemp said small business owners can now apply directly for economic injury loans. Kemp said he has not mandated business closures or mandated quarantines, but he is urging local leaders to make the best decisions for their communities.
Kemp also urged church services should move to online options.
To stop the spread of the virus, Kemp pointed out, the guidance by health officials needs to be followed.
The governor also said he expects coronavirus cases in Georgia to go up.
“The more we test, the more we will find,” Kemp said.
Earlier in the conference, Kemp said he talked to White House officials and learned that vaccine development is moving quicker than expected.