Atlanta TV Stations come together to host coronavirus town hall with Gov. Kemp

SPECIAL PROGRAM: Governor's Statewide Town Hall on coronavirus

ATLANTA — In what has been a tough time for our state, Georgia united to bring you important information and get your questions answered about coronavirus and what the state is doing to combat it.

All of Atlanta's television stations worked together Thursday night to bring the people of Georgia “The Governor’s Statewide Town Hall.”

The one-hour primetime special aired live on WSB-TV Channel 2, CBS46, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 11 Alive, FOX 5 Atlanta and Univision 34 Atlanta.

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“The information on coronavirus in Georgia changes every day,” said Ray Carter, vice president and general manager of WSB-TV Channel 2. “As broadcasters, the television stations in Atlanta and around the state are committed to giving people the latest facts and details. This collaborative effort with the governor gave us the opportunity to inform the public on the latest efforts to battle the spread of the virus, support people who are sick, and the impacts on our community.”

During the special, Gov. Brian Kemp addressed critics who want him to order a shelter in place statewide. He said it’s still an option down the road.

"We still have over 50 counties that don’t have a case; trying to balance all those things and going on that data we have and supporting local elected officials,” Kemp said.

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Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, presented an idea to find more ventilators to help those who may become infected.

She is looking toward "technical colleges and our university system, where they are teaching on ventilators, and deploy them to help our health care system."

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Grady Memorial Hospital is already at 90% capacity, which makes it a challenge for hospitals around the metro area.

"The projections I have received from Carlos del Rio, we will exceed at capacity by May 3," Bottoms said.

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security director Homer Bryson discussed the plan in place for first responders who get sick.

“We have set up isolation and first responders to get them back to work as quickly as we can, and find personal protective equipment, to be safe and not get sick,” Bryson said.

Georgia's insurance commissioner, Gen. John King, discussed how to deal with the threat of evictions of families who can no longer pay their bills.

“It’s incredibly important we respect local authorities. These are all hard decisions to make. No one is minimizing the challenge we have," King said.

Gov. Kemp faces growing pressure to shut down the state