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Virus cases, deaths continue upward climb in Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) — Confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths continue to increase in Georgia, where one expert is predicting a peak in late April. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported Monday that confirmed cases have topped 3,000 statewide and at least 100 people have died. Infectious disease expert Dr. Carlos del Rio of Emory University noted one model widely followed by epidemiologists projects that deaths in Georgia will peak around April 23. Meanwhile, traveling from Georgia into neighboring Florida has become more cumbersome. The Florida Highway Patrol established a checkpoint at the Georgia line on Interstate 95 as part of the governor's order that travelers from certain hard-hit states must isolate themselves upon entering Florida.


Georgia elections chief holds line on May 19 election plan

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's top elections official is holding the line on plans for May 19 voting, even as the state House speaker continues his push for delay. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger writes that he doesn't have legal authority to further delay Georgia's presidential primary and other elections originally set for March 24. Those elections were pushed back to May 19. Georgians are also scheduled to vote May 19 for party nominees for one U.S. senator's post, U.S. House members and state lawmakers. House Speaker David Ralston last week called on Raffensperger to delay voting again. He renewed his call in a letter Sunday.


Court: Grand jury records from lynching can't be released

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court says the grand jury records from the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia cannot be released despite their great historical significance. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled 8 to 4 that federal judges don't have authority to disclose grand jury records for reasons other than those provided for in the rules governing grand jury secrecy. The ruling stems from a historian's quest to get the records from the Moore's Ford Bridge lynching.


Photo of health care workers flying to help NY gets love

A photo of health care professionals from Georgia on a Southwest plane on their way to help with the coronavirus outbreak in New York is getting lots of love online. The photo shows dozens of people, some wearing masks and gloves, holding their hands in the shape of a heart. A Southwest Airlines spokesman says an Atlanta ramp agent took the photo before the plane pushed back from the gate on Friday. There were about 30 health care professionals, all from Atlanta-area hospitals, who told the agent they were going to New York to assist in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prosecutors: Man sought kickbacks for coronavirus tests

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say a Georgia man used concerns over the coronavirus in a bid to defraud Medicare out of more than $1.1 million. Erik Santos, of Braselton, Georgia, was arrested Monday at his home by FBI agents. He was charged with conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Prosecutors say the 49-year-old Santos had run a scheme since November that steered people with Medicare to diagnostic testing facilities for genetic cancer screening tests _ and more recently Coronavirus and other tests _  in exchange for kickback payments.


Sheriff: 5 people found dead inside Georgia apartment

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia say five people were found dead in a home Sunday afternoon. News outlets report the bodies were located inside an apartment in Bartow County. Deputies, agents and investigators reportedly went to the home for an unknown problem, which was later determined to be a death investigation. The names and ages of the people who died were not immediately released. The sheriff says autopsies will be performed at the state crime lab to determine causes of death.


Georgia Sea Turtle Center puts lessons online amid closures

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's hospital for sick and injured sea turtles is holding online lessons for children. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island has been streaming live educational videos daily since March 19. The series aims to help children keep learning while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Lessons so far have included segments on the different sea turtle species found in coastal Georgia and a virtual field trip to the marshes of Jekyll Island. Called “Scute School” after the name for the bony plates that form turtle shells, the series is being streamed on the Facebook pages of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and Jekyll Island. New installments are scheduled through at least April 10.


Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and MLK aide, dies at 98

ATLANTA (AP) — The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights leader who helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has died at 98. A charismatic and fiery preacher with oratory skills on par with King, Lowery led the SCLC for two decades. He remained an active force in social issues such as war and poverty long after his retirement. Lowery was considered the dean of civil rights veterans and lived to celebrate a milestone that few of them thought they would ever witness _ the election of an African American president. President Barack Obama awarded Lowery the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. A family statement says Lowery died Friday.