Governor continues to urge Georgians to wear masks as he tours new wing at Piedmont Hospital

Governor continues to urge Georgians to wear masks as he tours new wing at Piedmont Hospital

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp says he is concerned over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, especially in young people.

Only Channel 2 Action News was with the governor Tuesday as he toured the new Marcus Tower at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Buckhead.

The state reached a deal to send as many as 100 patients to the hospital, saving the Georgia World Congress Center for overflow if needed.

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After touring the facility, Kemp spoke with Elliot as he urged people to follow state guidance and wear masks.

“We can have all this guidance and everything else, but if people won’t follow it and do the right thing, then it just doesn’t really matter anywhere,” Kemp said.

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The governor said he’s been following the numbers very closely and, like everyone else, is watching the recent surge in cases and is especially concerned about the rise in the number of younger patients.

“A lot more young people are getting infected. The problem with that is if they come into contact with their parents, with their grandparents or their elderly neighbors, it can be devastating for them,” Kemp said.

Kemp told Elliot that the state worked to speed up the permit process to get the new Marcus Tower finished early, so it could be ready for COVID-19 patients if needed.

With the surge, it now is.

Piedmont doctors briefed him on new treatments — medicines and therapies that they say show promise.

The governor’s executive order extending the existing guidelines is set to expire at midnight Wednesday.

Elliot asked Kemp if, given the new surge, he plans to relax them again. He said no.

“Obviously, we won’t be opening up or moving forward in any way, I think,” Kemp said.

Parts of the Marcus wing are still under construction but there are several floors that are ready for patients.

The hospital plans to move more than 100 non-COVID patients into the wing starting Wednesday morning.

Kemp begins tour of the state to encourage mask-wearing