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Kemp extends school closures as Georgia virus deaths top 50

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s governor has extended an order to keep public schools closed because of the new coronavirus as the death toll in the state rose to at least 56. As of Thursday night, over 500 people in Georgia were hospitalized because of the virus, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The state is reporting over 1,600 confirmed cases, though testing has been limited and results can sometimes take days to receive. Gov. Brian Kemp’s order keeps K-12 public schools closed through April 24 and closes public colleges and universities for the rest of the semester. Some school districts had already extended closures on their own.


US couple, adopted daughter, caught in India virus lockdown

A Georgia couple who traveled to India to adopt a child have been unable to return home after Indian authorities locked down the country because of the coronavirus. Mike and Whitney Saville of Auburn, Georgia, are staying with their new daughter, Grace, in a New Delhi hotel. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a three-week countrywide lockdown. The Savilles are biding their time by exchanging stories and encouragement every evening with two other adoptive U.S. families who are stuck in the hotel.


Georgia House speaker wants election delayed again

ATLANTA (AP) — A top Georgia Republican is pushing for more delays in state elections because of the threat of COVID-19 and how it might suppress turnout. House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday urged Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to delay the state's May 19 primary elections until at least June 23. Raffensperger's office has declined comment. It could be illegal to shift the state's Democratic presidential primary for a second time, after it was already delayed from Tuesday of this week until May 19. Raffensperger only has legal authority to delay an election for 45 days. Georgians were already scheduled to choose nominees for U.S. senator, U.S. House, state Senate and state House on May 19


Smaller communities prepare for onslaught of virus patients

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The infections in New York City have dominated much of the national conversation about the coronavirus. But far from the coasts, smaller communities also are preparing for things to get worse. In places such as Albany, Georgia, it's already happening. The infections started with a person from out of town who attended a funeral. Now Georgia’s mostly rural southwest corner has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in the state. The local hospital is rapidly running out of space. Intensive-care beds are filled with COVID-19 patients. And employees are hand-sewing masks to help doctors and nurses stretch their dwindling supplies.


Police: Man wanted for shooting ex in front of child

SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia are searching for a man accused of shooting and wounding his ex-girlfriend while their 1-year-old child was nearby. Venezia Cole is wanted by Gwinnett County police on several charges including three counts of aggravated assault. Police said they responded to a call Tuesday afternoon and a found woman suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. A relative told police Cole was dropping off diapers when the shooting happened. Police said Cole shot the woman then fired into the home. No one inside was injured. It's unclear whether the child was injured. The woman was hospitalized; her condition was intermediately released. Cole was last seen driving a black 2009 Infiniti G37.


Judge won't halt salvage of capsized ship on Georgia coast

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge says she won't halt removal of a capsized cargo ship along the Georgia coast while a salvage company that lost the job to a competitor sues the Coast Guard. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied an injunction requested by salvage firm Donjon-SMIT, ruling it's in the public's interest to have the shipwreck cleared as soon as possible. The Golden Ray overturned near St. Simons Island last September with 4,200 cars in its cargo decks. The ship will have to be dismantled and removed in pieces. The salvage company says the Coast Guard violated federal law by allowing the ship's owner to replace it with a competitor willing to remove the ship in larger chunks.


What's in store: Groceries installing barriers amid outbreak

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — Grocery stores across the U.S. are installing protective plastic shields at checkouts to help keep cashiers and shoppers from infecting one another with the coronavirus. The see-through barriers are going up this week at supermarket chains including Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Walmart and Publix. Grocers say they're trying to protect employees and consumers, since bagging and paying for food takes place well within the minimum 6-foot distance public health experts are urging people to maintain. Some grocery stores in France also installed similar barriers last week when that country went into lockdown.


Texas is bigger: Lone Star State's metros lead decade growth

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Everything really is bigger in Texas. New figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that three metro areas in the Lone Star State had some of the biggest population gains over the past decade. Dallas increased by 1.2 million people, the most of any U.S. metro area. It was followed by Houston, which added another 1.1 million residents over the decade.  Austin grew by more than a half million residents from 2010 to 2019, the eighth biggest numeric growth among U.S. metros. Phoenix's population of 4.9 million residents last year knocked Boston off the list of top 10 most populous metro areas.