Despite virus threat, Georgia Republican meetings to proceed

Travis Swann Taylor walks through a nearly empty Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, March 19, 2020, after Georgia lawmakers were urged Wednesday to self-isolate themselves, after a state senator said he tested positive for the coronavirus.

ATLANTA (AP) — Confirmed infections from the new coronavirus in Georgia rose to almost 1,250 on Wednesday, with nearly a third of those people hospitalized, according to state health officials.

The state health department reported cases at noon Wednesday, 150 more than were reported the night before. Two additional deaths were reported, bringing the total to 40. The state listed 394 people as hospitalized.

But the availability of testing remains limited around the state, and results take days to produce, meaning many people now spreading the highly contagious virus may not know that they've been infected.

In four counties, the number of confirmed cases topped 100 with Fulton County, the state's most populous, closing in on 200 infections.

In hard-hit Dougherty County, infections rose to by eight to 109. The county in the southwestern part of the state, which includes Albany, has struggled with a deluge of coronavirus patients, and local officials have scrambled to create more intensive care and general beds.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, and the overwhelming majority of people recover. But severe cases can need respirators to survive, and with infections spreading exponentially, hospitals across the country are either bracing for a coming wave of patients, or already struggling to keep up.

The spread of the virus also continued to take its toll on businesses big and small.

Waffle House, based in suburban Atlanta and known for its "always open" restaurants, says it has closed more than 400 of its nearly 2,000 outlets.

And Kia Motors Corp. announced Tuesday it would suspend production at its West Point plant for two weeks beginning Monday because of COVID-19. The South Korean automaker says the halt will include a previously planned five-day shutdown to retool equipment for new models. While its 3,000 employees are home, Kia says it will clean and sanitize its auto assembly plant near the state line with Alabama. The company plans to resume making cars on April 13, but says it will follow government guidelines.

——

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

More from this section

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Georgia exceeded 3,800 on Tuesday, with more than 100 people dead, as mayors pressed for Gov. Brian Kemp to impose greater restrictions statewide in hopes of slowing the new virus.