CORONAVIRUS: What's happening right now

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CORONAVIRUS: What's happening right now

LIVE VIDEO UPDATES EACH HOUR | STORY UPDATES ALL DAY

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- We've created this live blog to bring you the latest coronavirus news happening right now. Here's what's happening. 

APRIL 3:

9:00 p.m. Union City Mayor and Council adopted a resolution for frontline city employees to receive a temporary hazard pay supplement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those receiving the pay supplement include certain public safety and public services employees.

The supplement will be in effect for the months of March, April, May, and June 2020 so long as the local public health state of emergency remains in existence for that duration. If the local state of public health emergency is terminated prior to June 30, 2020, the temporary hazard pay supplement will end simultaneously.

Eligible employees in both the Union City Police Department and the Union City Fire Department will receive five hundred dollars ($500.00) per month. Those who are eligible in the public services category will receive two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per month. A majority of these individuals hold laborer positions within Public Works and Parks and Recreation.

The Resolution will remain in effect until June 30, 2020, or until extended, rescinded, superseded or amended by the Mayor and Council of Union City.

Click here to view the adopted resolution.

8:47 p.m. In the latest effort to implement President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim enforcement guidance regarding disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95 FFRs) that are either certified under certain standards of other countries or jurisdictions or certified under other countries’ or jurisdictions’ standards but are expired.

During periods of shortages of N95 FFRs, the federal government advises that employers may consider using respirators and filters certified under the following standards of other countries or jurisdictions:

  • Australia: AS/NZS 1716:2012
  • Brazil: ABNT/NBR 13694:1996; ABNT/NBR 13697:1996; and ABNT/NBR 13698:2011
  • People’s Republic of China: GB 2626-2006; and GB 2626-2019
  • European Union: EN 140-1999; EN 143-2000; and EN 149-2001
  • Japan: JMHLW-2000
  • Republic of Korea: KMOEL-2014-46; and KMOEL-2017-64
  • Mexico: NOM-116-2009

8:38 p.m. To better serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Publix Pharmacy is expanding hours chainwide beginning Monday, April 6. The expanded hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., and normal hours on Saturday and Sunday. In-store pharmacies will continue to be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during shopping hours for customers age 65 and over. These hours do not apply to in-hospital pharmacies.

7 p.m. Georgia confirmed coronavirus cases is just shy of 6,000. The Department of Public Health said the latest results show there are 5,967 cases, 198 deaths and 1,222 people remain hospitalized with the virus.

The number of confirmed cases is up 136 from the noon update where the death toll was 184.

6:00 p.m. Governor Brian Kemp's statewide 'shelter-in-place' Executive Order went to effect. 

Under the order, all Georgia residents and visitors are required to shelter in place, within their homes or places of residence, "taking every possible precaution to limit social interaction to prevent spread of COVID-19."

Allowed exceptions for leaving home include: conducting or participating in "essential services," performing necessary travel, traveling to or from performing the minimum basic operations for a business, establishment, non-profit, or organization" not classified as a critical infrastructure.

To view the full Executive Order, click here.

6:00 p.m. President Donald Trump said his administration is encouraging many Americans to wear face masks in public, though he stresses that the recommendation is optional and is conceding that he will not be complying with it.

5:30 p.m. Walmart will begin limiting the number of shoppers in its stores at a time to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Starting Saturday, April 4, Walmart stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity, the company announced Friday.

4 p.m. Delta Airlines extends flight credits, making eligible tickets redeemable through May 31,2022.

Customer who qualify for the extension are those who:

  • have upcoming travel already booked in April or May 2020 as of April 3, 2020
  • have existed eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March, April or May 2020

New tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase. For more information, click here.

3 p.m. Georgia-based global health organization, MAP International, delivered 10,000 protective masks to medical personnel at nine different facilities.

Hospitals that received the mask donations include:

  • Piedmont Hospital - 1,000
  • Northside Hospital - 1,000
  • Shepherd Center - 1,000
  • Foundation of Wesley Woods - 2,000
  • Sandy Springs International Medicine - 1,000
  • Grady Hospital - 1,000
  • Emory Healthcare - 2,000
  • Academic Internal Medicine Partners - 500
  • Sugarloaf Children's Dentistry - 500

"Atlanta is our backyard, and we will do all we can to ensure healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe as they fight this pandemic," said Steve Stirling, CEO of MAP.

When the pandemic was first reported in Wuhan, China, MAP airlifted 3,000,000 masks, 300,000 pairs of nitrile gloves and more than 10,000 protective suits to relief partners in China and other countries impacted by the virus.

2:42 p.m. Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital now has the ability to perform rapid COVID-19 tests.

"We've been working on this capability for a couple weeks and now have the reagents and equipment necessary to perform our own testing," said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney health system CEO.

Due to there being a limited number of rapid tests kits, only inpatients who are awaiting results and those being admitted to Phoebe hospitals well be tested with the rapid kits.

"Knowing right away whether a patient is COVID positive will be a great benefit for us. We will be able to admit them to the unit where they will receive the most appropriate level of care, and it may help us conserve personal protective equipment (PPE).

Phoebe health centers currently has 837 positive cases of COVID-19, 32 people have died from the virus at Phoebe Main and four at Phoebe Sumter.

In total, only 152 patients have recovered from the lethal virus.

12:30 p.m. The Dekalb County Board of Health announced the temporary closure of a health center Friday to shift staff and resources. The North DeKalb Health Center on Clairmont Rd. NE in Chamblee will be temporarily closed in an effort to reallocate staff and resources in the continued fight against COVID-19. 

12 p.m. The Georgia Department of Public Health has released the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. As of 12 p.m. Friday, there are now 5,831 cases. There have now been 184 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus. Overall, Fulton County has the largest concentration with 882 reported cases. Dougherty County has 560 confirmed cases and DeKalb County has 448.

11 a.m. The federal government's relief program for small businesses is off to a bumpy start Friday, with few businesses able to apply and some big banks saying they’re not ready to process applications. Millions of small businesses are expected to apply for these desperately needed rescue loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was put in place to help them retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

The program is being overseen by the Small Business Administration but banks are the ones who handle the application process. Some large lenders like Wells Fargo, Huntington Bank and Bank of America said are ready to go. Others like JPMorgan Chase said they wouldn't accept applications on Friday, citing lack of guidance from the Treasury Department.

10 a.m. The Dow Jones is down slightly in early trading. The index was only down about 50 points in the first half hour of trading. This comes after the record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended in March as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the viral outbreak that's all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%.

9 a.m. The pandemic will cost the global economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of all economic activity, according to new estimates from the Asian Development Bank. The regional lender said Friday that growth in developing Asia would likely fall to 2.2% in 2020, more than halving last year's growth of 5.2%. China, the region’s biggest economy, experienced double-digit contractions in business activity in January-February and will likely see growth fall to 2.3% this year. That's compared with 6.1 last year, already a three-decade low, the ADB said. 

8:30 a.m. A record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended suddenly in March after nearly a decade as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the viral outbreak that's all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from 3.5%. Last month's actual job loss was likely even larger because the government surveyed employers before the heaviest layoffs hit in the past two weeks.

8 a.m. The death of Dougherty County Judge Nancy Stephenson's death is confirmed by a medical examiner to be a result of coronavirus. As of Thursday night, Dougherty is the second-highest Georgia county impacted by the lethal virus with a staggering 521 cases and 30 deaths.

7:20 a.m. A cruise ship where at least two passengers died of coronavirus while barred from South American ports finally docked Thursday in Florida after two weeks at sea and days of negotiations with initially resistant local officials. The Zaandam and a sister ship sent to help it, the Rotterdam, were allowed to unload passengers at Port Everglades after working out a detailed agreement with officials who feared it would divert needed resources from a region that has seen a spike in virus cases.

Broward County officials and Holland America, the company that operates the ships, announced the agreement shortly before the ships pulled into port. Holland America initially said 45 people who were mildly ill would stay on board until they recovered, but the docking plan released later Thursday indicated that 26 passengers and 50 crew members were ill. The plan noted that the company had secured access at two local hospitals for 13 passengers and a crew member who needed medical care.

7 a.m. The federal government expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans under the new stimulus law in mid-April, but some people without direct deposit information may not get checks until mid-August or later, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. The document from the House Ways and Means Committee says the IRS will make about 60 million payments to Americans through direct deposit in mid-April, likely the week of April 13. The IRS has direct deposit information for these individuals from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Then, starting the week of May 4, the IRS will begin issuing paper checks to individuals, says the memo obtained by AP on Thursday. The paper checks will be issued at a rate of about 5 million per week, which means it could take up to 20 weeks to get all the checks out. That timeline would delay some checks until the week of Aug. 17.

6:30 a.m. A mayor of a city is eastern Georgia is hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. According to the city of Grovetown's Facebook page, Mayor Gary Jones was hospitalized after experiencing a shortness of breath. On Wednesday, it was determined that Jones tested positive for coronavirus. Jones says he began feeling symptoms around March 19, such as shortness of breath, dry cough, nausea, loss of smell and taste and clogged ears. Doctors say he is in the high-risk category. He's now in self-quarantine for 14 days or three days with no symptoms.

6 a.m. A DeKalb County boy has become the youngest person in the state to die as a result of the coronavirus. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the unidentified 11 year-old boy had underlying medical issues. A 29 year-old Peach County woman had been the youngest person to pass away from complications of the coronavirus. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there are now 5,444 cases. There have now been 176 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus.

5 a.m. Millions of small businesses are expected to apply for a desperately needed rescue loan Friday, a stern test for a banking industry that has had less than a week to prepare for the deluge. Small businesses will be seeking loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was put in place to help them retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic. The program is being overseen by the Small Business Administration but banks are the ones who handle the application process. The banking industry is trying to temper expectations about how many businesses will get the cash they need on Friday. Banks large and small will have to process these loans as quickly as possible in order to get their customers a slice of the program.

4 a.m. Asian stock markets tumbled Friday after soaring U.S. job losses tempered enthusiasm about a possible deal to stabilize oil prices amid anxiety over the global economic decline due to the coronavirus pandemic. Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong all retreated. Australia's main index fell 2.3%. Some markets followed Wall Street higher in early trading after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he expected major oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia to back away from their price-cutting war. But by midday, all major Asian markets had retreated. Southeast Asian benchmarks were mixed.

APRIL 2:

9:54 p.m. The nation's top infectious disease expert said Thursday he doesn't understand why every state hasn't issued stay-at-home orders as novel coronavirus cases continue to surge across the US.

"I don't understand why that's not happening," Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Anderson Cooper during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

8:30 p.m. The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, as the president is aggressively defending his response to the public health crisis.

8 p.m. More than 5,000 medical masks that Montgomery County received from the national stockpile were rotted, the local emergency management director said Thursday.

States and cities are receiving shipments from the National Strategic Stockpile to try to relieve shortages in medical equipment because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

7:54 p.m. The death of Dougherty County Judge Nancy Stephenson's death is confirmed by a medical examiner to be a result of coronavirus. Dougherty is the second-highest Georgia county impacted by the lethal virus with a staggering 521 cases and 30 deaths.

The County Administrator released the following statement regarding Stehenson's death.

“Judge Stephenson was a kind hearted and caring person with the brightest smile who did not meet a stranger and I held her in the very highest regard,” said Michael McCoy, Dougherty County Administrator. “Even when she found out she had tested positive for the virus, she was still trying to hold it together and continue to move forward. I had the pleasure of working with her for decades and will miss her dearly. She was well-respected in our organization, the judicial system, and throughout the entire Southwest Georgia community and it was a privilege to have known her.”

7:49 p.m. The Cobb Community Foundation awards three organizations with a combined $30,000 in charitable grants from the Cobb COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

The three non-profit agencies who received $10,000 each are:

  • The Center for Family Resources to support the organization's $60,000 in 60 Days campaign, created to respond to the financial needs of families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cobb Schools Foundation to support access to digital learning devices for students in Osborne, Campbell, South Cobb and Pebblebrook HS clusters.
  • Ser Familia, Inc. to support emergency financial assistance for clients of Ser Familia's Smyrna office.

"These grants will help families in those very communities who, in light of COVID-19, are facing challenges now that are truly unprecedented," said Shari Martin, CEO of Cobb Community Foundation.

6:28: p.m. Georgia health officials confirmed there are 5,444 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state with 176 deaths. During the Thursday noon report release by the Georgia Department of Public Health, there were 5,348 confirmed cases and 163 deaths.

In total, 1,129 individuals remain hospitalized.

6:25 p.m.  As the state of Georgia's coronavirus cases reaches new heights with 5,348 confirmed by noon on April 2, Governor Brian Kemp took the next step in protecting his constituents by signing a shelter-in-place Executive Order.

The order goes into effect Friday, April 3, and is tentatively expected to stay in place until April 13.

5 p.m. In addition to proper hand washing and using an alcohol-based sanitizer of at least 60 percent, the Georgia Department of Public Health says social distancing has proven itself vital to flattening the coronavirus' curve.

On March 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 25 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Those same people are also infectious up to 48 hours before symptoms appear.

"Until now, containing the spread of COVID-19 has been based on early detection and isolation of people with symptoms of the virus," said Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia DPH commissioner. "Social distancing and keeping people apart from each other are now more than just recommendations; they are the best weapons we have to stop the spread of COVID-19." 

12 p.m. The Georgia Department of Public Health has released the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. As of 12 p.m. Thursday, there are now 5,348 cases. There have now been 163 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus. Overall, Fulton County has the largest concentration with 712 reported cases. Dougherty County has 507 confirmed cases and DeKalb County has 396.

11 a.m. Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that's forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain. That's the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend. Farmer Ryan Elbe told WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons (113,562 litres) a day.

The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and food service businesses have been closed. About one-third of the state’s dairy products, mostly cheese, are sold in the food-service trade. The Journal Sentinel reports that Elbe's cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay them for milk that’s being dumped. But like most cooperatives, DFA can only afford to do that for so long.

10 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still showing symptoms almost a week after he announced he had the new coronavirus. Johnson’s spokesman says the prime minister “continues to have mild symptoms.” Johnson said Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19 after developing a fever and a cough. He said he was following U.K. health officials’ advice to self-isolate for seven days. That period is almost up.

9:45 a.m. Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street Thursday, a day after dropping 4.4%. Stocks had been headed for an even higher open until the Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, double the record high set just one week earlier. It was the latest sign that large numbers of Americans are losing their jobs as the economic damage from the coronavirus accelerates. The U.S. and other large economies are widely believed to have sunk into severe recessions as businesses shut down the world. The price of crude oil jumped 8% to about $22 a barrel.

9 a.m. Millions of small business owners will be turning to the government, seeking help for an individual and nationwide cataclysm, the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The government says it will begin disbursing loan money to company owners and freelancers Friday under the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the $2 trillion relief package signed into law last week. For many companies, it may be the quickest way to rebuild the lifeblood of any business: the cash flow that enables a company to pay its bills. The program could be vital to the economy's recovery: Small businesses employ about half the workers in the private sector. By some estimates, as many as 20 million people will have lost their jobs by the end of April.

8:30 a.m. US unemployment claims hit 6.6 million, another record high as layoffs accelerate in the face of coronavirus. The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close around the world. Last week, claims soared to 3.3 million and economists say layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a deep and painful recession. The previous high before last week was about 695,000 on Oct. 2, 1982.

8 a.m. Gov. Brian Kemp says he doesn't believe he has the power to order a delay in Georgia's May 19 party primary elections under the current state of emergency.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger at first reiterated his position Wednesday that he doesn't have the power to further delay the presidential primary, originally set for March 24. But he appeared to soften that stance in a statement he released hours later as Georgia grappled with the new coronavirus pandemic.

The statements come amid mounting pressure from other elected officials to put off the voting, in which Georgians are supposed to vote for nominees for president, U.S. senator, U.S. House, the state House and Senate and other offices.

7 a.m. Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan, has died after battling pneumonia brought on by the new coronavirus, one of his six sons said late Wednesday. He was 85. “Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19,” Ellis Marsalis III confirmed in an Associated Press phone interview.

He said he drove Sunday from Baltimore to be with his father as he was hospitalized in Louisiana, which has been hit hard by the outbreak. Others in the family spent time with him, too. Four of the jazz patriarch's six sons are musicians: Wynton, trumpeter, is America's most prominent jazz spokesman as artistic director of jazz at New York's Lincoln Center. Branford, saxophonist, led The Tonight Show band and toured with Sting. Delfeayo, a trombonist, is a prominent recording producer and performer. And Jason, a percussionist, has made a name for himself with his own band and as an accompanist. Ellis III, who decided music wasn't his gig, is a photographer-poet in Baltimore.

6:20 a.m. The husband of Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler recently acquired as much as $415,000 in stock in DuPont de Nemours, a chemical company that manufactures protective equipment in exceedingly high demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. The transaction, detailed in a mandatory disclosure the Republican filed late Tuesday, comes as senators in both parties have faced questions about the stock transactions they made in the weeks before the coronavirus upended the U.S. economy, wiping out jobs and personal wealth.

6 a.m. A Georgia senator is back in the state after being called out by Florida law enforcement officials for coming into their state with the coronavirus. Senator Bruce Thompson, who represents the 14th district in the Georgia State Senate, has a second home on St. George Island in the Florida panhandle. He says because of longstanding medical issues, a doctor directed him to finish rehabilitation in a warmer climate with a lower pollen count. Thompson says he went to his second home and that's when a Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy came to his residence to ensure he was in compliance of the 14-day self-quarantine. Around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thompson called the sheriff and told him he was heading back to Georgia.

5 a.m. New York rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900, while the global number of people diagnosed with the illness edged closer to 1 million on Thursday. As hot spots flared around the U.S. in places like New Orleans and Southern California, the nation's biggest city was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals. The wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis.

4 a.m. The Georgia Department of Public Health has released the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, there are now 4,748 cases. There have now been 154 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus. Overall, Fulton County has the largest concentration with 638 reported cases. Dougherty County has 490 confirmed cases and DeKalb County has 373.

APRIL 1:

9:00 p.m. Coronavirus cases in the United States have surpassed 200,000.

According to Worldometers, as of Wednesday morning, there are 215,003 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US. According to the same chart, 5,102 people have died from the virus and 8,878 have recovered so far.

The U.S. has a population of about 327,200,000, which means about .07% of the country has been infected.

8:30 p.m. Emmy and Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, known for his work with his band Fountains of Wayne and on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died Wednesday after contracting the coronavirus, his attorney said.

Schlesinger died at a hospital in upstate New York, his longtime lawyer Josh Grier told The Associated Press. It is not clear where or how Schelsinger contracted the virus. He had been sedated and on a ventilator for several days.

8:06 p.m.  The Fulton County commissioners approved $10M in funding to provide community-based relief for COVID-19, with emphasis on senior service, small business loans, and homelessness.  These local funds will augment funding from federal and state governments.

7:00 p.m. Georgia Department of Public Health reported the state had 4,748 COVID-19 cases with 154 deaths. Of those with positive results, 1,310 remain hospitalized.

Fulton County continues to be the most impacted county in the state with 638 cases and 20 deaths, trailing behind it is Dougherty County were there are 490 confirmed cases and 29 deaths. Individuals in the 18-59 age range continue to make up more than 50 percent of the state's COVID-19 cases.

The youngest coronavirus deaths in state state are men, both age 33, one in Fulton County and the other in Cobb Cobb County. For details on the virus' impact in your county, click here.

4:36 p.m. Gov. Brian Kemp issues executive order to shelter-in-place and an order closing K-12 public schools for the remainder of the school year.

Upon hearing that schools were to remain closed, Atlanta Public Schools issued the following statement:

"In keeping with this order, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will remain closed for the remainder of this school year for in-person instruction. Our students and staff will continue teleschooling and teleworking for the remainder of the school year.

We will work on the impact of this decision, including exploring alternative scenarios to celebrate our 2020 graduates, and to address the loss of instructional learning time. APS will remain in contact with our families and staff as we work through solutions that address these concerns.

As soon as possible, the District will hold a virtual town hall to translate what this means for APS."

Similarly Rockdale County Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts said, "Nothing is more important than our students’ and staff’s safety and well-being. In forthcoming correspondence, I will share more information with you on the implications of this executive order on Rockdale County Public Schools. What you can be assured of is that we will continue to do right by our staff and students. Of course next week is our Spring Break, and there will be no Independent Learning or meal delivery routes; however, both will resume after Spring Break. Thank you for doing your part in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Together we will navigate this unprecedented public health crisis."

3:22 p.m.  The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.  FFCRA will reimburse American private employers that have fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. 

The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

1:00 p.m. Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton signs executive order extending all orders until April 24. All requirements set forth in the initial Executive Order dated March 20, Executive Order Number 2 adopted March 24 and Executive Order 3 adopted March 27 shall be extended and effective until April 24, according to Mayor Norton. 

12:45 p.m. Fulton County was placed under a stay-at-home order effective immediately due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The order commands all county residents to stay at their home with exceptions to provide, receive, or engage in essential services or activities. According to the county, the order also allowed people who work for essential businesses and perform essential governmental functions to leave their homes.

12:25 p.m. Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow rescinded his city's social distancing order that started Monday morning. Mayor Brumbalow said the intent of the order was to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19, "it is obvious that a large portion of our public doesn't want government mandating the recommendations of public health officials."

The mayor said one of the issues raised was the appointment of "special policemen to help enforce the order." Brumbalow had originally said he would swear up to 150 policemen, but that some people thought that would create a "police state."

12 p.m. The Georgia Department of Public Health has released the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, there are now 4,638 cases, up from Tuesday night when the department said there were 4,117 cases of COVID-19. There have now been 139 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus.

11:10 a.m. For the first time since World War II, The Wimbledon Championships have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tournament organizers posted this message on Twitter regarding the cancellation, "It is with great regret that the AELTC has today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021."

11 a.m. Spending on U.S. construction projects fell 1.3% in February with housing and nonresidential construction both showing weakness even before the coronavirus struck with force in the United States.The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the February decline followed a 2.8% rise in construction in January. Economists are forecasting more declines to come, especially in housing activity as the stay-at-home orders in much of the country crimp home sales.

Home construction fell 0.6% in February with the weakness coming in home remodeling projects. Construction of single-family homes and apartments both showed gains. Spending on nonresidential projects was down 2% with declines for office buildings, hotels and the category that covers shopping centers. Government spending, which covers state and local building projects and the federal government, dropped 1.5%.

10:15 a.m. Sterigenics has been granted a temporary restraining order against two Cobb County officials that will allow them to begin sterilizing all medical equipment. The restraining order is against two officials, the county fire marshal and the chief building manager. A judge is still reviewing the lawsuit Sterigenics filed against the county on Monday but this temporary order will allow the company to sterilize all medical equipment and not just the personal protective equipment initially agreed upon by county officials.

10 a.m. Wall Street is again in a selling mood as the coronavirus crisis deepens. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 3% Wednesday as the market moves on from its worst quarter since the 2008 financial crisis. President Donald Trump is warning Americans to expect “dark days” ahead. A survey of manufacturers in Japan showed deteriorating sentiment. Investors sought safety in bonds and the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.61%. Stock markets in Asia and Europe also fell. The Nikkei fell 4.5% and markets in Germany and France are down around 4%.

9 a.m. U.S. companies shed 27,000 jobs in March, according to a private survey, a figure that mostly reflected the economy as it stood before the full impact of the viral outbreak. Payroll processor ADP said small businesses took the biggest hit, losing 90,000 jobs, while medium-sized and large companies still added workers. Economists forecast that much larger job losses, probably in the millions, will be reported in the coming months.

March's figures are the first monthly job loss reported by ADP since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed Texas and much of the southeast in September 2017. ADP said that the figures were compiled from the week ending March 14, when the number of people seeking unemployment benefits was still largely in check. The following week, unemployment claims exploded, soaring to 3.3 million, five times the previous record high.

8 a.m. Japan’s Prime Minister says Japan has banned entry from 49 more countries, including the U.S., Canada, all of China, South Korea and seven Southeast Asian countries. That brings the total number of countries banned from entering Japan to 73. Shinzo Abe says the government has tightened visa restrictions and will require a two-week quarantine to visitors and returnees from places Japan has designated as eligible for non-essential trips.

7 a.m. Officials with the Georgia Department of Corrections are considering releasing prisoners to address the virus outbreak in prisons. The State Board of Pardons and Parole is reviewing specific cases for clemency release. Only inmates who are serving non-violent offenses and who are within 180 days of finishing their sentence will be considered for early release. A majority of the inmates released will be under community supervision.

6:30 a.m. The World's busiest airport has lost more than half of its traffic due to the coronavirus outbreak and it doesn't appear that it will increase anytime soon. Officials at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport say flights are down by 60 percent. The airport usually has about 2,700 arrivals or departures per day but now, they're down to about 1,100.

Many airport employees have switched to teleworking but those needed to keep operations running are still coming to the facility. With that decrease in travelers, many airlines are considering or have already made cuts to accommodate.

6 a.m. Global shares skidded Wednesday as reports of rising numbers of coronavirus cases deepened the gloom over the likely impact on the world economy.

France's CAC 40 slipped 3.6% to 4,241.02 in early trading, while Germany's DAX shed 2.9% to 9,648.42. Britain's FTSE 100 plunged 3.9% to 5,450.63 after major banks announced they were scrapping dividend payments, bringing their share prices sharply lower.

U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 3.2% at 21,070.50. S&P 500 futures dipped 3.4% to 2,496.97. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 4.5% to finish at 18,065.41.

5 a.m. Officials with the Georgia Department of Corrections are considering releasing prisoners to address the virus outbreak in prisons. The State Board of Pardons and Parole is reviewing specific cases for clemency release. Only inmates who are serving non-violent offenses and who are within 180 days of finishing their sentence will be considered for early release. Even a majority of the inmates released will be under community supervision.

4 a.m. The number of coronavirus deaths in Georgia reached 125 on Tuesday, with total confirmed infections exceeding 4,100 , as mayors pressed for Gov. Brian Kemp to impose greater restrictions statewide in hopes of slowing the new virus.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told a news conference Tuesday that mayors on a conference call the to discuss the virus response a day earlier had largely agreed the Republican governor needs to take more robust action.

Kemp has closed schools, banned gatherings of 10 or more people, shut down bars and nightclubs and ordered people in fragile health to stay home. But he's resisted calls for a statewide order for all Georgians to shelter at home, saying those decisions are best left to local governments. The result has been a patchwork of ordinances that can vary widely even between neighboring communities.

MARCH 31:

7:30 p.m. As the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world; the virus hit home for the CBS46 family when Rick Folbaum was diagnosed with the illness.

Rick is sharing the story of his diagnosis, illness and two-week journey back to health in hopes of demonstrating that Coronavirus patients can recover and play an important role in the medical and social response to this pandemic.

4:33 p.m.  The Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta announced Tuesday the cancelation of the 2020 Eucharistic Congress.  The two-day event, originally scheduled for June 12-13, has been a 25-year tradition in Atlanta, drawing tens of thousands of faithful for worship, education and fellowship. The bishop said the event will return in 2021.  It is the largest event sponsored by the archdiocese.

3:25 p.m. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said Tuesday a worker with the contractor responsible for SkyTrain has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee of Crystal Movers and others are in self-quarantine. The airport said, at this point, there is no impact to SkyTrain operations."

2:00 p.m. Tucker Mayor Frank Auman has issued a new emergency declaration to curb the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday. The new declaration takes the following steps: Suspending in-person dining at restaurants, temporarily closing businesses with close customer contact (salons and massage establishments), requiring that seniors and those with weakened immune systems stay home, and halting late fees and penalties for businesses delinquent in securing a business license. 

1:30 p.m. The DeKalb County Board of Health announced an alternative hotline to the state's current hotline to provide more information to residents. The call center is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling (404) 294-3700, Option 1.

1 p.m.  The Georgia Department of Public Health has released the latest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, there are now 3,929 cases, up from Monday night when the department said there were 3,817 cases of COVID-19. There have now been 111 deaths as a result of the rapidly spreading virus.

12 p.m. The Georgia Department of Health said Monday the state now has a total of 3,817 cases of COVID-19. The number includes 818 patients who remain hospitalized and 108 Georgians who have died as a result of the disease or from complications of the coronavirus.

11 a.m. U.S. consumer confidence tumbled in March as the impact of the coronavirus began to be felt. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its confidence index dropped to a reading of 120 in March from February's 132.6. The steep decline reflected rising worries about the coronavirus during the survey period of March 1-18. Economists say confidence is sure to fall further as the virus' impact takes a bigger toll on the economy.

10:10 a.m. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an order Tuesday directing the city to start hazard pay for front-line City of Atlanta employees. The mayor's office said eligible employees will be paid an additional $500 per month with the policy starting yesterday.

The hazard pay policy applies to almost 5,400 front-line staffers including: sworn public safety positions and civilians performing critical watershed, aviation, solid waste, transportation, inspection, parks, and recreation, and other frontline functions.

10 a.m. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as investors close out a brutal month of March. The S&P 500 is headed for its biggest quarterly decline since the last quarter of 2008. For the Dow, it could be the worst three-month period since late 1987. After dropping sharply for two weeks, the market rallied recently on moves by central banks and governments to boost their economies, but the mood among investors still appears closely linked to evidence of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Oil prices rose a day after dropping to their lowest level since 2002.

9 a.m. Tuesday is the deadline for Atlanta Public Schools' students who missed the online learning device distribution. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has ordered all schools closed through April 24 and getting one of the devices is key for online learning. If your child does not have a device, you must contact their school by Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. and let the school know.

The school says the devices will be available for pick up starting on Thursday, April 2, at the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Learning and Leadership at 130 Trinity Avenue SW, while supplies last.

8 a.m. An Atlanta woman has taken to Facebook to post her desperate struggle in the fight against the coronavirus. Niya B. Matthews, who debated whether or not to post the video, says she went through with it to share her struggle and bring awareness. She says she was in the hospital for four days before posting the video. She says the symptoms of the virus hit her so fast, she barely even noticed it until it was too late. She says she had normal flu-like symptoms for two days but on the third day, it felt like "an elephant was sitting on my chest."

Click here for the video

7:27 a.m. Despite publicly saying over the weekend they weren't considering changing guidance on masks, the Washington Post reported late Monday night the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering recommending the general public to cover their faces when out in public. The Post cited a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it is an ongoing matter of internal discussion and isn't final.

According to the Post report, the CDC guidance could recommend "do-it-yourself cloth coverings." This would not include surgical and N95 masks which are in short supply across the nation.

7 a.m. With frustrations growing among shoppers, Cobb County government officials have created an interactive guide to allow users to see which grocery stores in the county are stocked with the items they need. The survey uses a crowd sourcing survey that shoppers can take on a smart phone immediately after loading groceries into their cars.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the idea is to prevent senior citizens and other shoppers from having to go from store to store looking for items, each time potentially exposing themselves to the virus. Click here to take the survey or look at Cobb County's interactive shopping guide.

6 a.m. The plant blamed for emitting cancer-causing agents into the air for decades is suing Cobb County in order to reopen fully. Sterigenics announced the lawsuit on Monday, even though the county just granted the plant permission to reopen. The county agreed to the request from the federal government, allowing the company to temporarily sterilize medical equipment needed for the coronavirus response. A group says that apparently wasn't good enough for the multi-billion dollar corporation, who some say had the intention of using the coronavirus crisis as a door to resume full operations all along.

5 a.m. Gwinnett County is the latest court system to extend limiting operations as the nation grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. According to a press release from the county, Chief Judge George F. Hutchinson III of the Superior Court, signed an order extending limited court operations to April 13, 2020. The courts will continue to handle essential functions, including arrest and search warrants, first appearance hearings, family violence and stalking temporary protective order applications and hearings.

4 a.m. A model estimates that more than 2,000 people could die each day in the United States in mid-April, when the virus is predicted to hit the country hardest. The model, which is updated regularly, predicts that 224,000 hospital beds -- 61,000 more than we'll have -- will be needed on April 15, when the US is estimated to reach "peak resource use."

And assuming social distancing will continue through May, it finds that, by August, around 82,000 people in the US could die from Covid-19.

MARCH 30:

10:39 p.m.  An Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) transit department employee reported to their supervisor that they tested positive for COVID-19. ACCGov is following guidance provided by the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) with regard to isolation and quarantine, as well as patient privacy. The individual was not hospitalized and is currently recovering at home. Several employees who had close contact with the individual are currently under self-quarantining protocol until April 7, but are not showing any symptoms. 

7 p.m. Coronavirus cases in Georgia rise to 3,032 and 102 have died, according to the Department of Public Health.

5:40 p.m.  Atlanta School District is doing a “last call” this week for device pick up.  If an APS student does not have a device, it is very important that they contact their child’s school by Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m., and let the school know that their child still needs a device. The District’s Technology team will assess those needs and make devices available for pick up starting on Thursday, April 2, at the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Learning and Leadership (CLL), at 130 Trinity Avenue SW, while supplies last.

For requests properly submitted through the schools, parents and caregivers should expect to receive a call sometime on Thursday giving instructions on picking up their child’s device at CLL beginning on Thursday afternoon. Only students with pre-assigned devices can be supported through this process, and there will not be any extra devices. All “last call” distributions will end on Friday, April 3.

3:29 p.m. For a detailed look at how COVID-19 might spread, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released a COVID-19 projection for the nation and each state.

According to this projection, the U.S. should see a peak resource need around April 15 and the nation as a whole will be 60,000 hospital beds and 15,103 ICU beds short. The projection also forecasts the U.S. will need 26,753 more ventilators when the disease peaks.

Georgia's peak resource use will be a week later on April 22. The IHME forecasted the state to be 594 hospital beds and 755 ICU beds short when that date hits. Georgia will also need 1,075 more invasive ventilators by that date.

3:24 p.m. DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Michael Thurmond announced Monday he has formed a COVID-19 Strategic Task Force. 

“This pandemic is a fluid situation with no standard play book or set of rules,” CEO Thurmond said. “During this critical time in the life of our county, it is important to gather the best information and advice from experts to help us save lives and restart our economy.”

Members of the task force include: Presiding Officer of the Board of Commissioner Steve Bradshaw; DeKalb County Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson; Chief Judge Asha Jackson; and Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst.

3:15 p.m. As Georgia sees the COVID-19 count slowing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out an urgent plea Monday fro medical volunteers as COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to skyrocket in the city.

"Please come help us in New York now. We need relief," Cuomo siad.

According to the New York Times, 66,526 cases have been identified in the city/state. The death toll in New York has surpassed 950 on Sunday and keeps climbing each day.

2:30 p.m.  Macy's announced Monday it will temporarily stop paying tens of thousands of employees who were forced out of work when the chain closed its stores in response to collapsing sales during the pandemic. The company said the majority of the workers would still collect health benefits, but otherwise the company is transitioning to an "absolute minimum workforce," the Associated Press reported.

1:45 p.m. The Gwinnett County Solicitor General's Office will prosecute anyone who violates the stay-at-home order issued by Gwinnett County Chairwoman Charlotte Nash. The Solicitor General said anyone violating the order will be charged with a misdemeanor and could receive up to 60 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

12 p.m. The Georgia Department of Health said Sunday the state now has a total of 2,809 cases of COVID-19. The number includes 707 patients who remain hospitalized and 87 Georgians who have died as a result of the disease or from complications of the coronavirus.

11:45 a.m.  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms gave an update on the city's efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and warned hospitals in Atlanta could hit capacity on May 3rd.

"As of now our hospitals are not at capacity, but at the current rate; hospitals could exceed capacity by May 3rd," Mayor Bottoms said.

The mayor said there is no firm date for when the citywide stay-at-home order would be lifted.

Mayor Bottoms also warned citizens that the Beltline and Piedmont Park may be forced to close if residents don't practice betters social distancing while in those areas.

"It is the public's response to those areas, to keep them open," Bottoms said. "If the Beltline continues to be overcrowded; if Piedmont Park continues to be overcrowded; we will have no choice but to close those spaces."

Coronavirus with world map and biohazard symbol

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Multiple restaurants are keeping their businesses rolling by offering delivery and/or takeout. Here's a link to some that have been shared with CBS46.

Locations

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