Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp quarantining after COVID exposure despite negative test result

Governor quarantines after COVID exposure same day as he extends public health measures

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office announced that he will be placing himself in quarantine after becoming exposed to the coronavirus, despite a negative test result Friday.

“Following a negative COVID-19 PRC test result for both the Governor and the First Lady, the Governor is currently quarantining due to direct exposure in the last 48 hours to an individual who recently tested positive,” read a statement from the Georgia Governor’s office.

The latest statement did not specify whether the First Lady was quarantining at this time as she did not have any direct contact to the diagnosed person, though a statement by the Governor’s office earlier on Friday said she was.

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“The Governor is not currently experiencing any symptoms and will be quarantining, per Department of Public Health guidance,” the statement continued, adding that Kemp spoke with Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the commissioner for the state’s Public Health Department, and was following her directions.

Kemp’s announcement comes the same day he signed an executive order extending the state’s emergency health measures through Dec.  9 and renewed coronavirus-related restrictions.

Georgia was hit hard by the coronavirus and has reported over 358,000 cases of COVID since the onslaught of the pandemic. The state reported an additional 1,500 new cases Friday, with 35 deaths contributing to the nearly 8,000 coronavirus related deaths.

The Peach State had its biggest so far spike in late summer, with more than 7,400 cases reported on July 24 alone. Although the expected autumn surge appears to have arrived with a slow increase in the daily case count, nearly 21,000 cases have been reported in the last two weeks, according to the Health Department.

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Georgia’s positivity rate is around 7.3 percent, but the World Health Organization has suggested stronger coronavirus mandates and social distancing orders until the infection rate falls below five percent.

The Governor’s office could not be reached for comment.