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Georgia coronavirus deaths hit 20, infections surpass 550

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia officials say 20 deaths in the state are now linked to the coronavirus, with total confirmed infections passing 550 statewide. The latest numbers were released Saturday evening by the Georgia Department of Public Health. The new death toll is up 42% from 14 earlier in the day. Meanwhile, a second Georgia state lawmaker says she has tested positive for COVID-19. Republican state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick of Marietta said in a Facebook post she developed a fever a week ago and a test for the virus came back positive Friday. Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta has also announced he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.


Documents: Georgia resort underpaid workers more than $1M

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Newly released documents show a coastal Georgia resort violated labor laws more than 500 times and collectively underpaid employees by more than $1 million. The Brunswick News obtained the documents relating to violations at the Sea Island Resort earlier this month through a Freedom of Information Act request of the U.S. Labor Department. The investigation into the resort lasted for more than two years. It found 240 violations of record keeping for workers younger than 18. There were also 167 failures to pay overtime and 98 violations of failure to pay minimum wage. Unpaid overtime totaled almost $46,000, while unpaid minumum wages exceeded $1 million.


Savannah port makes room to stack containers as demand slows

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's largest port is making room to store more shipping containers. The Georgia Ports Authority said Thursday that it will make room to stack more than 11,000 additional twenty-foot equivalent units by mid-April at the Port of Savannah. That's how cargo containers are typically measured. Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch says in a news release that shippers need room to stack their cargo until demand returns following the coronavirus. The additions will increase the Port of Savannah's annual container capacity by 400,000 units, giving it a total capacity of 6 million units per year.


Election limbo as coronavirus outbreak upends US primaries

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. elections have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. At least 13 states have postponed voting and more delays are possible as health officials warn that social distancing and other measures to contain the virus might be in place for weeks, if not months. States that have yet to hold their primaries find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation, as they look to balance public health concerns with the need to hold elections. While election officials routinely prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, the virus outbreak poses a unique challenge.


Crossover country superstar Kenny Rogers dies at 81

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kenny Rogers, who embodied “The Gambler” persona and whose musical career spanned jazz, folk, country and pop, has died at 81. A representative says Rogers died at home in Georgia on Friday night. The Houston-born balladeer with a husky voice had hits like “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton. He sold tens of millions of records and was the star of TV movies, making him a superstar in the late ‘70s and ’80s. With his silver beard and folksy charm, the Grammy winner excelled as a musical stylist for more than six decades.


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 Bartow County northwest of Atlanta and Dougherty County in southwest Georgia.


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.