Gov. Brian Kemp.jpg

Governor Brian Kemp has extended COVID-19 restrictions until Nov. 30. He signed the order on Friday, Nov. 13, leaving current restrictions in place.

“As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations rise across the country, (Georgia Commissioner of Public Health) Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey and I are asking Georgians to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said.

“Continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance, follow public health guidance, and get a flu shot. By taking these simple steps, we will protect lives – and livelihoods.”

The latest order keeps in place a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people in Georgia and continues to make wearing a mask voluntary at the statewide level rather than mandatory. Cities and counties have been allowed to impose their own mask mandates since August so long as their local requirements do not apply to businesses and residences.

Kemp said the state has distributed more than 300,000 rapid COVID-19 tests across the state, stockpiled a 60-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and worked with hospitals and nursing homes to provide the medical staff needed to treat coronavirus patients.

Statewide as of Nov. 16, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported that the state had a total of 387,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. That is an increase of 25,009 cases since Nov. 9. The number of cases have been steadily increasing over the past few weeks. Deaths in the state now stand at 8,471, an increase of 248 since Nov. 9.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Butts County have reached 822 cases since the start of the pandemic. That is an increase of 43 cases since Nov. 2. Butts County’s death total increased by one during the last week for a total of 45 deaths.

A total of 40 of those deaths have come from patients confined in Westbury Medical Care and Rehab, Autumn Village 2, and the state prison. Westbury has not had a death from COVID-19 since June 8. Their total remains steady at 34. Two deaths were recorded in August at Autumn Village 2 on McDonough Road in Jackson. The Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson had four inmates die of COVID-19, but none since May 23.

As of 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, in the eight-county area surrounding and including Butts County, there have been a total of 14,894 confirmed cases, an increase of 495 cases since Nov. 9. Henry County has the largest increase in cases since last week with 242. There have been a total of 442 deaths in the eight-county area as of Nov. 16, an increase of 14 deaths since last week. Monroe County had the biggest jump in deaths with 4 more since last last week.

♦ Henry: 6,920 confirmed, 125 deaths

♦ Newton: 3,120 confirmed, 102 deaths

♦ Spalding: 1,759 confirmed, 68 deaths

♦ Monroe: 826 confirmed, 59 deaths

♦ Butts: 822 confirmed, 45 deaths

♦ Jones: 701 confirmed, 17 deaths

♦ Lamar: 482 confirmed, 22 deaths

♦ Jasper: 264 confirmed, 4 deaths

COVID-19 testing sites

Locally, the Butts County Medical Center, 176 Lyons Street, is offering COVID-19 drive-through testing every Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Testing is done on a first come, first served basis.

The Butts County Health Department, 463 Ernest Biles Drive, is also offering COVID-19 drive-through testing every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until further notice. Pre-registration is strongly advised. Please visit to make an appointment.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 report comes out every day at 3 p.m., and the Department of Community Health’s daily report on nursing homes can also be found on their website. The link is

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