Atlanta's hospitals could reach capacity by May 3 if the current rate of coronavirus infection continues, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Monday.
The Atlanta mayor spoke on a public online conference call from her home where she is self-quarantining with her husband and four children.
As of noon Monday, Georgia had 2,809 confirmed cases and 87 deaths, and 14 of those deaths are in Fulton County.
Atlanta hospitals are now bracing for more cases.
Hospitals are already nearly full serving thousands of metro Atlantans coming in with diabetes, high blood pressure, car accident injuries, strokes and heart attacks, Bottoms said.
"When you add the coronavirus on top of that, it is extremely challenging to our health care system," she said. "That's what you're seeing reflected in New York and then Seattle, and that's what we are attempting to avoid here in Atlanta."
Bottoms asked Atlantans to comply with a stay-at-home order through next week, banning gatherings of more than 10 people and restricting the types of businesses that can operate.
Staying home encourages social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but people crowding public greenways to enjoy the spring weather are testing the mayor’s order.
"If the BeltLine continues to be overcrowded [and] if Piedmont Park continues to be overcrowded, we will have no choice but to close those spaces," she said.
If businesses violate the order to close, Bottoms wants Atlantans to report them by calling 311, the city’s hotline for coronavirus questions and services. The city has also created a central website for coronavirus information at atlstrong.org.
And Atlantans experiencing homelessness are being monitored by the mayor. "There has been an angel donor in our city who has offered to allow members of our homeless population who have tested positive to stay in one of the local downtown hotels," she said. "We are grateful for that."
Bottoms called what’s happening right now a “new normal.”
As millions of people stay home and practice social distancing to stop the virus’ spread, city employees are still leaving the house every morning to keep Atlanta running.
"If you have an opportunity with our sanitation workers, our watershed workers, our public safety personnel that you may encounter on the street, it would go a very long way if you could simply say thank you."