Georgia officials respond to COVID-19 emergency ending

Georgia officials respond to COVID-19 emergency ending
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Health officials declared the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic officially over on May 11th. The end of the emergency means the way the state tracks covid cases will change and programs for free testing and vaccinations will end.

Since 2020, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 2,362,831 cases, 140,279 hospitalizations, and 35,376 deaths.

RELATED: WHO downgrades COVID pandemic, says it’s no longer emergency.

Dr. Cecil Bennett with Newnan Family Medicine said where the nation has come is truly remarkable. He suggests people who are considered high-risk may need to wear masks in crowded spaces. He likens covid now to the common flu, which is still contagious and deadly.

“It is still dangerous, don’t get me wrong, the flu kills 33-35,000 people annually, and covid could do the same,” said Dr. Bennett.

A spokesperson for Governor Brian Kemp’s office responded to our request for comment:

“Just over three years ago, Georgia became the first state in the country to reopen because we chose to protect both lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic. While the federal government is just now beginning its transition to a long-term health strategy after the pandemic, our state focus was already and will continue to be on addressing the healthcare needs of Georgians. Between the work of the Department of Public Health, our local partners, the Georgia Access program, and the upcoming launch of Georgia Pathways, the Peach State is well positioned to do just that.”