BC-US-VIRUS OUTBREAK-CRUISE SHIP
Stranded cruise ship passengers describe chaotic flight home
ATLANTA (AP) — Travelers say the flight to return passengers from a stranded cruise ship to the U.S. carried people with problems breathing, several passengers fainting and many coughing, but no food nor medical personnel provided by the company or the U.S. government. Federal officials say a jet carrying 359 people including hundreds of American and Canadian cruise ship passengers from France landed at Atlanta's airport with some infected or exposed to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that three of the people tested positive, but have no symptoms. Authorities say 13 others are sick but haven't been tested.
Southwest Georgia hard-hit as virus cases and deaths rise
ATLANTA (AP) — Cases of the new coronavirus in Georgia continue to climb as the death toll in the state rose to 14 from 10 a day earlier. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 jumped to 485 on Friday evening, up from the 287 cases the state was reporting on Thursday. At least two Georgia counties ordered all residents to stay home except for essential trips. Although the largest overall numbers of cases continued to be in metro Atlanta counties, the largest number of cases per capita are in Dougherty County in southwest Georgia and Bartow County northwest of Atlanta.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOLS-STANDARDIZED TESTS
States suspending standardized tests as schools close
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Closing schools to combat the spread of the coronavirus has prompted several states to cancel the standardized testing that is dreaded by students and teachers alike. Many states were scheduled to begin testing in April but now face school closures that could last weeks or longer. States are asking federal education officials to waive federal testing requirements. Many states use high-stakes testing to advance students to the next grade level and rate schools and teachers. Education groups also say bringing kids in for testing after weeks of online learning wouldn't be fair to them.
Police: Accused gang member intimidated witnesses
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia say a man has been accused of being in a gang and using social media to intimidate witnesses in another man's attempted murder trial. Thomas D’angelo Clark was charged Wednesday with participation in a gang. He was previously charged in February with intimidating witnesses in Willie Joe Moran's attempted murder trial. Gainesville Police Cpl. Jessica Van said Clark is accused of being a member of the Gangster Disciples. Van said Clark previously posted a Facebook status, threatening harm to those who testified in the Moran investigation. Investigators discovered the intimidation tactics two days before Moran was convicted. Clark's attorney Brett Willis declined to comment.
Georgia man charged with impersonating a federal agent
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia say they charged a man with impersonating an officer after he pulled a car over and identified himself as a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Thursday that deputies saw Maurice McNeal follow a car into a parking lot and attempt to pull it over last weekend. The statement said McNeal presented two forms of identification and said he worked for the federal agency. McNeal told investigators he pulled the car over because he thought somebody inside had stolen a camera from him. The Department of Homeland Security said McNeal no longer worked for them.
Grammy-winning artist Lecrae distributes wash stations
Atlanta (AP) — Grammy-winning hip hop recording artist Lecrae joins forces with a nonprofit organization to distribute portable hand-washing stations throughout Atlanta in areas with a high density of homeless persons. Lecrae Moore and volunteers with Love Beyond Walls assembled 15 wash stations, filled them with water and hand sanitizer, and loaded them onto a truck for distribution. Lecrae, winner of the Best Gospel Album Grammy award in 2013 for his album "Gravity," rolled up his sleeves and went to work early, his mind set on helping the less fortunate.
Despite virus threat, Georgia Republican meetings to proceed
ATLANTA (AP) — Some states have postponed their presidential primaries because of the threat of coronavirus. But at least a few Georgia Republicans will get together Saturday in each of more than 100 county conventions to elect delegates. Those delegates will later choose delegates for the Republican National Convention expected to nominate Donald Trump for a second term. It's not that the state GOP is blind to the threat of infection. Leaders are actually discouraging people from coming, saying they're making up delegate slates ahead of time. But state GOP Chairman David Shafer says Republican National Committee lawyers have advised the party it can't scrub the county meetings
MAN SHOOTS DAUGHTER
Police: Man who shot daughter in the neck arrested