COVID-19: Unite to stop the spread

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On April 23, Governor Kemp began issuing a series Executive Orders outlining guidelines for Georgians to limit the spread of COVID-19 once the Statewide Shelter in Place Order ended. Many of these guidelines will remain in place until at least June 12.

These new orders enable some businesses and residents to decide which activities to resume. However, if you have to leave your home, you must follow guidelines from public health officials, even if you feel fine; many carriers of the virus don’t show any symptoms for some time, if at all. All Georgians must stay united in this fight.

Reviving a Healthy Georgia

Applies to certain businesses.

As part of his plan to revive a healthy Georgia in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Kemp has allowed the following businesses to reopen with Minimum Basic Operations: gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists. Minimum Basic Operations includes, but is not limited to, screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks and gloves if appropriate, separating workspaces by 6 feet, teleworking if possible, and implementing staggered shifts.
Additionally, and subject to specific social distancing and sanitation mandates, theaters, churches, bowling alleys, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services have been allowed to reopen. Social distancing and sanitation mandates include, but are not limited to, screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, requiring employees to wear masks at all times, limiting the number of patrons allowed inside to no more than 10 patrons per 300 square feet, limiting parties to no more than 10 people, and seating parties at least 6 feet apart.

Cloth Face Coverings

Applies to everyone.

When you leave your home, wear cloth face coverings if you'll be indoors or around other people where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Covering your nose and mouth greatly reduces your chances of spreading the virus and provides some protection for the wearer. Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. The recommended cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies used by healthcare workers and other medical first responders. When wearing a mask, try not to touch your face without first washing your hands. CDC guidance on cloth face coverings.

Social Distancing

Applies to presumed healthy people.

The state is asking every Georgian to limit person-to-person contact until the pandemic is over. Social distancing is not about us as individuals; it’s about all Georgians working in unison to slow the spread of the virus so our hospitals aren't overwhelmed by a surge of critically ill patients.

So, what does social distancing mean?

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart. Avoid public spaces where close contact with others may occur. The most common way the virus spreads is by unseen droplets in the air when an infected person breathes out. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs. The droplets land on surfaces, which we then touch, so frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is advised.
  • Limit your outings. To help protect the health of Georgia’s residents and businesses, you should stay home as much as possible and take every precaution to limit social interaction. If you have to leave your home, you must follow the CDC’s social distancing, sanitation, and public health safety measures. This will help us maintain the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19 and prevent our hospitals and health care facilities from being overwhelmed.
  • Protect your household. If anyone in your household is at higher risk for severe illness from the virus, all members of the household should behave as if they share the same risk factors to avoid introducing the virus into the home. You should think of your entire household as a single unit. If one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the home is at risk. That means you should strictly adhere to the CDC's isolation and quarantine guidelines.

Isolation and Quarantine

Applies to ill and exposed people.

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered Georgia residents and visitors at higher risk for severe illness to continue to shelter in place until at least June 12. Failure to comply with this order is a Download this pdf file.misdemeanor offense . The state requires:

  • People with a positive COVID-19 lab-confirmed test or those with symptoms and suspected of having the virus to Download this pdf file.isolate themselves until they are no longer a risk of infection to the public.
  • People who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 whether or not they have symptoms to remain at home or a quarantine location for 14 days from the last known exposure.
  • People who are medically fragile to stay home. This includes Georgians who are elderly, live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease or are undergoing cancer treatment.
  • If you are caring for someone who is sick in your home, take the appropriate steps to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of your household.

Clean, Disinfect, and Learn to Cope

Applies to everyone.

Health Information

Get the latest health updates and guidelines on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The virus is invisible but can stay alive and infectious for hours or even days on many common surfaces. Nearly every type of surface can host coronavirus particles for some length of time, so it’s smart to develop a sanitizing routine every time you come and go from your home or bring in items from the outside. Knowing that you have done your best can not only reduce your stress through gaining control, it can greatly reduce your risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands often. No other measure is as effective in stopping the spread than washing your hands with regular soap and water for 20 seconds. It can take that long for the soap to break down the virus particles on your hands. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer liberally if soap and water are unavailable. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. More handwashing tips.
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use a diluted bleach solution, alcohol solution or a household disinfectant product. Complete disinfection guidance.
  • Manage fear and anxiety. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Nearly every human being on the planet is experiencing change in their lives from this pandemic. Try to focus on what you have control over — your activities and cleaning rituals. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make our communities stronger. Support resources and hotlines.

The number of Americans infected with COVID-19 grows every day. With your help, let's stop the spread.