Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia brace for surge in coronavirus cases

Gov. Bill Lee, the Tennessee Republican, signed an executive order Thursday that calls for residents to stay home– with the exception of essential activities– as the state and its neighbors prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases.

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Lee said in a statement that he was forced to issue the order because in recent days data indicated that “movement may be increasing” in his state.

“I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities,” his statement read, according to WREG.

Essential businesses include pharmacies, gas stations and medical facilities.

Tennessee has reported 2,845 coronavirus cases of the new and 32 deaths as of Thursday. WREG reported that 220 people there have recovered.

“April stands to be a very tough month for our state,” Lee said, according to the Commercial Appeal. “COVID-19 is an imminent threat and we need you to understand that staying home isn’t an option. It’s a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19 in Tennessee.”

WREG reported that a second worker at a Kroger Distribution Center in Memphis has been diagnosed with the disease.

“We will continue aggressively cleaning and sanitizing the facility,” Teresa Dickerson, corporate affairs manager for the company, told the station. “Before entering the building, each associate has their temperature checked as we take additional precautions to keep our associates safe.”

GEORGIA

On Friday, Georgia residents will be under a statewide shelter-in-place order. The state has seen 163 deaths and 5,348 confirmed cases.

Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican, said the shelter-in-place order will continue through April 13. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the order calls for the closure of gyms, bowling alleys and movie theaters.

He worked to assure residents that the state will be able to meet supply goals.

“If we have to, we will put the National Guard and the Georgia State Patrol to get groceries and supplies to keep our families fed, and to keep the medicines flowing, to get healthcare equipment coming to our state,” he said, according to the paper.

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi reportedly has the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the country, Mississippi Today reported. As of Wednesday, there have been 26 deaths and 333 patients hospitalized with the virus. About 1,073 people have been infected. That marks a  31 percent hospitalization rate. Newsweek pointed out that the rate is higher than New York’s 22 percent rate.

The state, like many others, has also reported troubling employment numbers. Action News 5 reported Thursday that 30,000 Mississippians filed for unemployment, which is 30 times the amount from two weeks ago.

The new coronavirus is sweeping through the country and in many cases upending our way of life. There have been a total of 242,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Thursday evening and 5,850 deaths. New York City has recorded 1,397 deaths there alone.

“Make no mistake, Gov. Tate Reeves, the Mississippi Republican, said. “This is not only a public health disaster, this is also an economic disaster in Mississippi and this nation.”

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