Gov. Kemp warns of another possible surge in COVID-19 in Georgia this winter

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp issued a strong warning to Georgians: Expect to see another surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this winter, probably coinciding with the holidays.

Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey held a news conference Thursday morning urging people to get vaccinated and to get the booster shots if they are eligible.

“The single most important thing we can do as a state is get additional people vaccinated,” Toomey said.

[UPDATES: Latest COVID-19 information for metro Atlanta]

The governor produced new numbers showing more than half of Georgians are now fully vaccinated. But he warned that we have seen the 2021 surges mirror those in 2020, so they’re expecting this winter to look a lot like the winter of 2020.

“During our summer surges, many Georgians saw first-hand how the delta variant spread more quickly and still led to the deaths of our fellow citizens. Given that our increase in cases and hospitalizations in 2021 were similar in timing to surges seen in 2020, we can only assume that a winter surge is also possible,” Kemp said.

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Kemp also talked about the federal vaccine mandate for large businesses. He said that the mandate would hurt businesses which could lose employees who choose to quit and work for a smaller company, rather than get vaccinated.

“I’m encouraging those who are unvaccinated to talk with their doctor or a trusted medical professional about getting vaccinated before whatever may come our way later this year or early 2022,” Kemp said.

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Pfizer booster shots are available for people 65 and up, people with underlying health conditions and frontline workers starting Sept. 27. Only people who have had the Pfizer shot are eligible.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot went to a vaccination site in the city of South Fulton on Thursday. He spoke with Selena Hudson, who was getting her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I lost my mom due to COVID-19, and I’m just getting it in remembrance of her,” Hudson said. “I love my kids, and in order for me to love them, I have to love myself and treat myself well. So that’s why I took it.”

So far, the state has administered more than 10,400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines across the state.

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