Georgia’s Fulton County orders residents to stay home or face jail/fines to curb COVID-19

An order posted to the Fulton County Board of Health website says “all residents of Fulton County are commanded to stay at their place of residence” with exceptions. The county holds 1 million people, including the city of Atlanta.

Those who violate the order could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject of fines up to $1,000 and/or 12 months in jail per offense.

The order was signed by Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, interim director of the Fulton health, on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

“It is my hope that this (order) enhances our efforts to keep Fulton County residents safe, and assists in flattening the COVID-19 curve,” Dr. Ford said in a news release.

In Gwinnett County, solicitor general Brian Whiteside said this week that anyone violating their stay-at-home order could be fined $1,000 and spend up to 60 days in jail.

These orders order comes as officials at all levels of government in metro Atlanta and the world try to curb the spread COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

A million people live in the 15 cities of Fulton County, which have made various rules to curb the coronavirus, but this Board of Health order said these new rules apply to “all residents of Fulton County.”

People who are homeless are exempt for punishment.

The following essential purposes are still protected:

• Activities related to the health of you, a family member or a pet

• Activities to get services and supplies

• Outdoor activity, as long as people are six feet apart, which is out of the reach of droplets that could carry the virus

• Work for essential businesses

• Care for someone medically fragile

• Activity for essential government function

Officials with Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency gave the Fulton Board of Commissioners a presentation with projections about the lack of ventilators and hospital beds — but also how many people might be killed by the coronavirus.

“That was one of the most sobering reports I have ever had in my life,” said Commissioner Liz Hausmann. “ … This is gut-wrenching.”

Staff from the city-county EMA said the highest projections show 10 to 15 deaths a day from the middle of April to the middle of May.

Alton Adams, Fulton’s deputy chief operating officer in charge of public safety, gave a sense of the reality: In the next 30 days, county staff are looking to get a freezer truck to handle what they expect will be an influx of bodies.

“We don’t take this lightly,” said Matthew Kallmyer, director of Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.

He said that if all this is an over-reaction that saves lives, “that would be something we take pride in.”

John Haupert, the CEO of Grady Memorial Hospital, told commissioners that he wishes a countywide shelter-in-place order had come sooner because it would have saved lives.

“It’s unfortunate we didn’t, but we now do,” he said.

He said predictions show that Grady is set to lose $78 million due to the coronavirus.

“It puts Grady into a loss position. We haven’t seen that in years, but we haven’t had a pandemic either,” Haupert said.

Haupert warned that that might ripple out to their desks.

“I would not at this point rule out Grady needing to go to its two county partners for assistance,” he said.

*story by ajc news

It’s been more than three weeks after Gov. Brian Kemp ordered Georgia employees who could to work from home in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But more than 10,000 state workers still head into their places of business each day.