Ellen Eldridge

Digital News Producer

Ellen Eldridge is a digital producer for GPB. She has previously worked as a breaking news reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The topics she most often writes about are mental and other health care issues, crime and public safety. Ellen graduated Kennesaw State University magna cum laude in 2015 with a degree in communication focused on journalism. Ellen lives with her husband, daughter and son in Woodstock.

David Kohl / AP

The Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday struck down as unconstitutional parts of Georgia statutory law that allow a person’s refusal to submit to a breath test upon being stopped for DUI to be used as evidence in the driver’s criminal trial.

Accuweather.com

The track of several storms over the next couple of weeks will bring rounds of drenching rain to the Interstate-95 corridor in the South and raise the risk of flooding in Atlanta and other cities, according to Accuweather.com.

Following rounds of rain this weekend, multiple storms will then follow next week and raise the risk of flooding in parts of the South.

David Goldman / AP

A new flu activity summary from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is the highest it has been all season.

Influenza-like illness is expected to continue for several weeks, the report states.

In Georgia, 15 people have died of influenza since the start of flu season.

Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

The Georgia House on Monday passed a bill that would help protect women’s health when it comes to early detection of breast cancer.

Health & Human Services Committee Chair Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) sponsored HB 62, which requires doctors to notify mammography patients of their breast density.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Georgia leaders have room for improvement when it comes to preparing the state for public health emergencies, according to a report released Tuesday by Trust For America’s Health.

PIXABAY

Recently confirmed cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in North Georgia have some residents questioning whether the vaccine is effective.

Rick Bowmer / AP

“Lock ‘em up and throw away the key!”

That’s the attitude many people take toward criminals — before they consider the cost of incarceration to taxpayers, according to a recent study.

Georgia Department of Public Health

While Atlanta's airport is recovering from the effects of the partial government shutdown and city officials are strongly advising use of public transportation, sports fans should watch out for symptoms of illness as flu season is still going strong in Georgia. 

Stay home if you're not feeling well, state epidemiologist Audrey Kunkes said.

AP Photo/David Goldman

The National Weather Service canceled its winter weather advisory for all counties, but a wind chill advisory goes into effect from 2 to 11 a.m. Wednesday.

National Weather Service Atlanta

UPDATED: 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday state offices in 35 counties in North Georgia will be closed Tuesday ahead of a potential winter storm.


GPB

Gov. Brian Kemp will appear on GPB TV's "Lawmakers" at 7 p.m. Monday.

Host Scott Slade has the one-on-one interview for viewers on GPB TV.

Kemp was inaugurated as the state's 83rd governor last week, and in his first speech to Georgians reiterated some of his campaign’s focus areas like education, and made a pledge to unify the state following a tight and prolonged contest with Democrat Stacey Abrams.

AtlSuperBowl53.com

The big game isn't the only event in town, and road closings have already begun in Atlanta.

Road closures related to Super Bowl Live started Monday and will continue through game day, Feb. 3, to Feb. 8, according to AtlSuperBowl53.com.

Atlanta police encourage the use of MARTA and ride share companies to reduce traffic in the affected areas.  Please plan ahead and give yourself more time to reach destinations around these areas.

Closures are subject to change.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo/File

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia is asking a federal appeals court to force the Georgia Department of Corrections to provide medical care for a mentally disabled prisoner.

Jeffery Geter has been an inmate at Baldwin State Prison since 1998. He is now suffering with Parkinson's disease, a brain tumor, epilepsy and, possibly, Alzheimer's disease, ACLU Legal Director Sean Young said.

Georgia Chamber Twitter

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced on Tuesday a special committee on access to quality health care.

Mike Stewart / AP Photo/File

The upcoming Super Bowl has the highest security rating for events, SEAR 1, meaning it's a potential target for terrorism or other criminal activity, health officials said Tuesday.

TheRealCost.gov

Chewing tobacco is a rite of passage for many teenage boys in rural parts of Georgia. That perception is the problem, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Young boys who see their fathers, uncles and older brothers dipping tobacco are the ones at greatest risk of starting the addictive habit, Mitch Zeller said. He's the director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, which expanded this week its "The Real Cost" smokeless tobacco prevention campaign.

They're spending an additional $6 million in Georgia and 19 other states to show kids — graphically — that "smokeless doesn't mean harmless."

AP Photo/David Goldman

Influenza has yet to hit its peak in Georgia, but Memorial Health in Savannah is already changing its policies to protect staff.

Only healthy adults over the age of 18 should plan to visit sick patients, and anyone with cold or flu-like illness must wear a mask.

"No one with flu-like symptoms will be permitted in patient rooms," spokesman Dale Hooks said in a news release. "Flu-like symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, or upset stomach."

NWS

UPDATED: Atlanta had a total of 70.03 inches of rainfall in 2018, securing its place as the second wettest year on record. The first place year for rainfall remains 71.45 inches in 1948.

ORIGINAL STORY: Expect mild temperatures and just a bit more rain by the time the peach drops in Atlanta this New Year's Eve.

We'll ring in the new year just under the record for most rainfall since 1948, when the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) began keeping weather records for Atlanta on Oct. 1, 1878.

Deucehands.org

A 12-year-old Henry County boy is helping the homeless in his community.

Marlon Miller creates and distributes what he calls “compassion bags” to people living in shelters and on the streets. They’re filled with basic items like soap, toothpaste and deodorant.

AP Photo/David Goldman

By this time last year, no one in Georgia had died of influenza-related illness, and last year was one of the worst flu seasons in decades, according to public health officials.

Four people — three adults age 65 and over and one child between the ages of 5 and 17 — have died of flu-related illness in the last six weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Since October, 159 people have been hospitalized statewide.

Steven Senne / AP/File

Georgia ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to funding programs to prevent kids from using tobacco, according to a recent report that looks at what states are doing with money from the 1998 tobacco settlement.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Georgia spend $106 million per year to prevent tobacco use among teenagers and help adults stop smoking, the state only uses about 1 percent of that, John Schachter with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said.

Healthcare.gov

Only a few days are left to sign up for an insurance plan through the marketplace. Saturday is the deadline.

Enrollment is far less than it was last year, with less than half of Georgians signing up for a plan as of Saturday, Dec. 8, according to Georgia Health News.

Last year’s final total was roughly 481,000, and 233,584 Georgians had enrolled for Affordable Care Act insurance.

AP Photo/David Goldman

Another person has died after contracting influenza this season, the Georgia Department of Public Health says.

Both people who died this flu season were in the 65 years and older category, which is an age group considered at high risk for complications and bears the greatest burden of severe flu disease.

National Weather Service

Update: For residents north of I-20, black ice could be a problem heading into Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has warned below freezing temperatures and precipitation on roads could make for a hazardous commute. 

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state offices closed until 10 a.m. Tuesday. Atlanta city government and Atlanta Public Schools followed suit.

Other metro area school systems and governments in Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Paulding counties also announced they would delay opening.

AP Photo/Mike Stewart

Early voting has begun across Georgia and continues through Friday.

Whether you voted in the Midterm Elections or not, registered voters are eligible to vote in the Dec. 4 runoff for the office of secretary of state and the District 3 seat for the Public Safety Commission.

AP file

Get your flu shot now if you haven't already; it's not too late.

That's the advice from public health officials at the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after Georgia ranked highest in flu-like illness for the second week in a row.

Since flu season began Sept. 30, one woman died, at least 16 people have been hospitalized and more than 11,000 Georgians have reported symptoms, state health epidemiologist Audrey Kunkes said. 

Associated Press

Karen Handel's campaign Thursday morning conceded defeat in the 6th District race.

"After carefully reviewing all of the election results data, it is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday," a statement said.

The district covers parts of Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton counties.

"Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath," the statement continued, sending "only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her."

March Of Dimes

Preterm births have worsened nationwide over the last three years and babies in Georgia are especially at risk, according to a report by the March of Dimes released this week.

Every year 350 babies die in Georgia from complications of prematurity, officials said. That’s more than one-third of infant deaths in the state.

Georgia received a below-average grade of D after a slight increase in premature births were reported.


HHS

Federal and state agencies working on an opioid task force gathered online for the first time this week.

The Region IV Opioid Crisis Coalition federal interagency workgroup, which includes Georgia, is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The meeting was closed to members of the press, but Renee Ellmers, who represents the region, said the purpose of the meeting involved making sure federal funding for the opioid crisis was being used effectively for Georgia communities.

Mel Evans / AP Photo/File

A nonprofit is hoping to help end the opioid epidemic in Georgia by providing better resources for those struggling with substance use disorder.

The Addiction Policy Forum vets treatment facilities and providers before adding them to its database, Danielle Tarino said.


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