ATLANTA — The White House coronavirus task force now says Georgia is seeing "fragile" improvements.
Cases are going down across the state, but members of the task force say they still have concerns for the Peach State and is still in need of aggressive action.
It echoes a call last week between states’ leaders and Dr. Deborah Birx that was made public by the center for public integrity.
“We did have 13 states in the red zone. We now have nine states, and in those nine states we do see most of them with a decline in test positivity,” Birx said during the call.
She said Georgia is now in a yellow zone – and out of the red.
While the state has seen progress in case numbers and nursing home infections, our case volume keeps Georgia in a red zone for that category.
Across the state there were 167 new cases per 100,000 people last week — the second highest in the country.
There's also still a deep concern about rural spread.
“We are seeing increased cases as well as some of the smaller metros in Texas, and continued cases in Georgia, and some of the smaller metros in Georgia. So, these are the states where we continue to have concerns and are working with the governors and working with the mayors to address this ongoing community spread,” Birx said.
Week after week, the task force recommends Georgia mask mandates and bar closures. Sunday’s report goes on to push for more rapid testing in nursing homes.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s office did not respond to questions emailed by Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday.
The office said this week it is considering using National Guard strike teams to increase testing in hotspots.
As far as the repeated federal recommendations for a mask mandate, the governor’s spokeswoman pointed to the latest executive order placing mandates in the hands of local governments.
“Our seven-day average of new cases has dropped by 30%,” Kemp said in a PSA released this week, where he encouraged masks, social distancing, handwashing and a review of health guidance in his executive order.
“These four actions will save lives and jobs,” Kemp said.
“This has nothing to do with partisanship,” said Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, who chairs a coronavirus crisis subcommittee.
That committee has called on Georgia and three other states to send plans for aligning with White House task force recommendations. The deadline on that response was Aug. 12.
Channel 2 Action News emailed the governor’s office to see if they’ve responded to that request.
They have not yet responded to the emails. Neither has the subcommittee.
© 2020 Cox Media Group