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Students go about their daily business during spring break at Georgia Tech.
Blis Savidge / GPB News

The University System of Georgia announced a suspension of classes for two weeks at all institutions effective Monday, March 16.

The announcement comes shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp announced Georgia's first death related to COVID-19.

  • Cities Across Georgia Cancel St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
  • Atlanta Mayor Says Preparation Is Key Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
  • State Lawmakers Approve $100 Million In Funding To Tackle Coronavirus Response

Emory University / Facebook

Laurie Ray is one of several Emory University students scrambling to pack their belongings after getting word all student residents need to leave the campus by next week.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

The Georgia General Assembly is suspending the 2020 legislative session indefinitely after Friday, March 13, out of an "abundance of caution and in the interest of health and safety" threatened by coronavirus.

The state House and Senate will finish out Crossover Day Thursday and then conduct legislative day 29 out of 40 before the hiatus.

GPB News

On Thursday afternoon's Special Edition of Political Rewind, we spoke about the governor's response to coronavirus in Georgia. How is the state responding and what do state legislature think of the measures taken so far?

How will this impact the legislature on this busy crossover day? We'll have our Lawmaker's team live on the show. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp said people who are older or who have chronic health issues should avoid large crowds while encouraging many state employees to work from home as the footprint of coronavirus spreads in Georgia.

Kemp said the message to combat COVID-19 is largely the same, like wash your hands and avoid large events if you’re sick.

But the newest guidance from the governor’s office and top health leaders is for those who have the highest risk of illness need to take higher precautions.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Thursday Georgia has its first confirmed death from COVID-19. 

Kemp said the 67-year-old man was hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 March 7, and had underlying medical conditions.

ATLUD / Twitter

Atlanta United’s season is suspended until further notice as MLS suspends its season over COVID-19 concerns, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Senior Airman Lauren Douglas / U.S. Air Force

Thursday morning on Political Rewind, President Trump’s 30-day travel ban is predicted to hit Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is the state’s largest employer.

And, Crossover Day sees legislation sent from its original chamber to the opposite side of the General Assembly. This an annual process that ranges in dates of March.

Dad's Garage

Dad's Garage Improv Theatre's annual fundraiser carnival is one of many events across the state being rescheduled because of coronavirus concerns and the desire to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: 4:35 P.M. The NCAA has decided to cancel the Division 1 men's and women basketball tournament as a growing number of sporting leagues and entertainment events shutter in order to help prevent further spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

Atlanta was set to host the Final Four of the men's tournament next month. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

It’s Crossover Day at the Georgia State Capitol, where House and Senate lawmakers will race against the clock to get legislation out of one chamber or the other by day’s end.

Day 28 of the legislative session will feature debate on dozens of bills that are fresh from committee hearings, as well as higher-profile measures that have dominated the Gold Dome.

Stature with coronavirus mask
AP Photo/Alberto Saiz

Thinking about the potential spread of coronavirus can be terrifying.

Mental health experts are urging all of us to take care of our emotional well-being and that of our loved ones.

atlhawks / Instagram

The NBA announced Wednesday night it was suspending all regular season games after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Atlanta Hawks were in the final moments of their game against the New York Knicks at State Farm Arena when the news began circulating.

Students wait for a bus as concerns about Coronavirus grow.
Blis Savidge / GPB News

Emory University joined the growing list of schools around the country and opted to discontinue in person classes due to growing concerns over COVID-19.

There are 31 confirmed and presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in 12 counties around Georgia, according to the state health department.

A statement announcing Emory's decision was sent to all students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 11 by Interim Provost Jan Love. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

After a marathon hearing in Athens Wednesday, the Georgia State Election Board has ordered Athens-Clarke County to cease using hand-marked paper ballots and return to using the ballot-marking devices or face further sanctions.

The five-member board, chaired by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also voted to impose a $2,500 fine to cover part of the costs of investigating the violations, plus a $5,000 a day fine if the switch is not made. Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said her staff would make the change Thursday morning.

City of Savannah on Facebook

The Savannah St. Patrick's Day parade and festival have been postponed, Mayor Van Johnson said Wednesday.

The festival was scheduled for the weekend, Friday evening through Sunday, while the parade was set for Tuesday, March 17.

"St. Patrick's is synonymous with Savannah," Johnson said, stressing that officials did not make this decision lightly. "Emotions are high. That's understandable. We get it. But in the end, public safety has to come first."

  • St. Patrick's Day Festival and Parade in Savannah Cancelled
  • Gov. Kemp Asks State Lawmakers For $100 Million For Coronavirus Response
  • Passengers From Grand Princess Cruise Ship Arrive In Georgia

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

UPDATED MARCH 12: Viking Cruises released this statement suspending all cruise operations:

Dobbins Air Reserve Base is shown Monday, March 9, 2020, in Marietta
John Bazemore / AP

Dozens of passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship arrived Wednesday at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta.

The passengers, who are residents of the East Coast, arrived from California to begin the two-week quarantine. None of them are showing symptoms of the disease, but tests have not been completed. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp is asking the Georgia General Assembly to appropriate $100 million from the state’s rainy day fund to aid health officials and emergency responders working to combat coronavirus in the state.

In a letter sent to House and Senate appropriations leaders, Kemp said he was raising the state’s revenue by adding $100 million from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve (RSR) and subsequently requesting the amended fiscal year budget appropriate that $100 million into the governor’s emergency fund.

Candler Hospital on Facebook

A patient at Candler Hospital in Savannah is being tested for COVID-19. It is neither a confirmed nor a presumed case of the coronavirus.

Matt Rourke / AP

Wednesday on Political Rewind, former Vice President Joe Biden took a commanding lead in the race to the White House after a string of victories last night in key primary states, including Michigan.

The Democratic front-runner has picked up a new wave of endorsements from Georgia elected officials including former Gov. Roy Barnes and ex-U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden. They join early endorsements for Biden from other prominent state Democrats Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop.

National Park Service

The state park where Gov. Brian Kemp set up Georgia's first isolation camp for COVID-19 patients is raising eyebrows for its strange name.

Hard Labor Creek State Park was not named after a prison labor camp, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Marketing and Communications Manager Colby Moore said.

Phil Roeder / Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE 5 p.m.: The NCAA announced Wednesday that men's and women's basketball tournaments will be played in arenas without fans due to the coronavirus crisis.

That includes the Final Four scheduled April 4 through 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

"The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

The first patient to arrive at the state's isolation camp at Hard Labor Creek State Park volunteered to go, officials said Tuesday night.

A Cherokee County resident "was not able to isolate at their primary residence and was not in critical condition requiring any hospital admittance," the governor's office said.

  • Delta Airlines Reduces Flights To Due Decreased Demand
  • Augusta University President: 'Stay Calm, Wash Your Hands'
  • State Prepares Hard Labor Creek State Park For Isolated COVID-19 Patients

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

UPDATE Sun. March 15, 2020: Georgia's presidential primary has been postponed until May. All early voting has been suspended.

From cleaning touchscreen machines to encouraging absentee voting, recent guidance shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office seeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus at polling places.

Poll workers should use isopropyl alcohol wipes on the ballot-marking devices, provide hand sanitizer throughout voting locations and consider bringing in extra poll workers in case someone becomes ill, an email sent Friday to county officials reads.

Augusta Health

The state's only public academic medical center is prepared for coronavirus.

That's what Augusta University President Brooks Keel said in a town hall Tuesday afternoon.

"We're going to continue to be overprepared so we don't have to overreact," Keel said.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Tuesday on Political Rewind, there are primary elections in six states today, including Michigan where Sen. Bernie Sander’s campaign has rallied to try to stop former Vice President Joe Biden’s momentum.

If Biden wins big there and sweeps most of the delegates in the other states, what impact will that have on the importance of Georgia’s March 24 primary?