Just days after President Donald Trump announced his strategy for the nation’s response to the spreading coronavirus, Gov. Brian Kemp revealed he has assembled a statewide task force to manage preparations.
There have been no cases in Georgia of the novel coronavirus that started in China.
"Georgia's coronavirus task force represents a coalition of subject-matter experts from the private and public sectors who will work together on preventative measures, strategic deployment of resources, and collaboration across all levels of government," Kemp said.
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Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey joined Kemp for a press conference at 3 p.m. where they assured residents that officials are preparing for any scenario possible.
The governor stressed more than once there are no known cases of the coronavirus in Georgia. However, a metro Atlanta couple aboard a cruise ship last month, which had docked in Japan, had tested positive for the virus while in quarantine.
“We’re asking everyone to remain calm and follow guidance we’re getting from federal — and you’ll be getting from state — officials, as well,” Kemp said.
The tasks force’s 18 members will address procedures for preventing, identifying, and addressing cases of COVID-19. Considering the record number of travelers coming through the world’s busiest airport, the governor has also named General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport John Selden to his task force.
“We’ll certainly be talking to them about [the coronavirus],” Kemp said. “But I just came from the airport; I was in the airport yesterday and, you know, there’s still a lot people going through the airport and I would urge people to follow the direction they’re getting from health officials.”
Soon after, Kemp addressed the first meeting of the task force, holding their first meeting Friday afternoon.
Governor's Coronavirus Task Force:
Felipe den Brok
Director – City of Atlanta’s Office of Emergency Preparedness
Director – Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency
Major General Tom Carden
Adjutant General – Georgia National Guard
Attorney General – Office of the Attorney General
Sharon Cooper, RN, MSN
Chair – State House Health & Human Services Committee
Commissioner – Technical College System of Georgia
State Epidemiologist – Georgia Department of Public Health
Chief of Staff – Office of the Governor
John Haupert, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer – Grady Health System
Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner – Georgia Department of Insurance
Colleen Kraft, MD
Director – Emory University Clinical Virology Research Laboratory
Healthcare Advisor – Office of the Governor
General Manager – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Chief Operating Officer – Office of the Governor
Kathleen Toomey, MD, MPH
Commissioner – Georgia Department of Public Health
Ben Watson, MD
Chair – State Senate Health & Human Services Committee
State School Superintendent – Georgia Department of Education
Chancellor – University System of Georgia