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VIRUS OUTBREAK-GEORGIA

Georgia virus death toll rises to 10, total cases at 287

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's death toll from COVID-19 has jumped to 10 statewide as state officials also report a big jump in confirmed infections. The Georgia Department of Public Health said Thursday the total number of confirmed cases statewide now stands at 287 _ up from 197 cases reported the previous day. Hospital officials in Dougherty County, one of the hardest hit communities outside metro Atlanta, confirmed four total deaths and hundreds still awaiting test results. The southwest Georgia county for a week plans to ban gatherings of 10 or more people, close bars and theaters and make it a misdemeanor for people with confirmed infections or awaiting test results to break quarantines.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOLS-STANDARDIZED TESTS

States suspending standardized tests as schools close

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Closing schools to combat the spread of the coronavirus has prompted several states to cancel the standardized testing that is dreaded by students and teachers alike. Many states were scheduled to begin testing in April but now face school closures that could last weeks or longer. States are asking federal education officials to waive federal testing requirements. Many states use high-stakes testing to advance students to the next grade level and rate schools and teachers. Education groups also say bringing kids in for testing after weeks of online learning wouldn't be fair to them.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-WASH-STATIONS

Grammy-winning artist Lecrae distributes wash stations

Atlanta (AP) — Grammy-winning hip hop recording artist Lecrae joins forces with a nonprofit organization to distribute portable hand-washing stations throughout Atlanta in areas with a high density of homeless persons. Lecrae Moore and volunteers with Love Beyond Walls assembled 15 wash stations, filled them with water and hand sanitizer, and loaded them onto a truck for distribution. Lecrae, winner of the Best Gospel Album Grammy award in 2013 for his album "Gravity," rolled up his sleeves and went to work early, his mind set on helping the less fortunate.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-REPUBLICANS-GEORGIA

Despite virus threat, Georgia Republican meetings to proceed

ATLANTA (AP) — Some states have postponed their presidential primaries because of the threat of coronavirus. But at least a few Georgia Republicans will get together Saturday in each of more than 100 county conventions to elect delegates. Those delegates will later choose delegates for the Republican National Convention expected to nominate Donald Trump for a second term. It's not that the state GOP is blind to the threat of infection. Leaders are actually discouraging people from coming, saying they're making up delegate slates ahead of time. But state GOP Chairman David Shafer says Republican National Committee lawyers have advised the party it can't scrub the county meetings

POINTS GUN AT OFFICER-FILM

Sheriff: Man filmed himself pointing gun at Georgia officer

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia say a man accused of posting an Instagram video of himself pointing a gun at an officer has been arrested. A video uploaded on March 9 showed a man aiming a gun at a Jonesboro police officer, who was performing a traffic stop. Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said detectives identified the owner of the account as 18-year-old  Jordan Jones. Authorities said Jones' mother turned him in Friday. He was later charged with pointing a gun at another. It's unclear whether Jones has an attorney. Authorities said Jones was identified through posts about “freeing” his brother Cameron Jones, who is serving a life sentence for a robbery and homicide.

POLICE SHOOTINGS JUSTIFIED

Officers cleared in 6 shootings in Georgia community in 2019

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A longtime Georgia prosecutor who resigned last month has announced that the officers involved in six separate shootings, five of them fatal, won't be criminally charged. News outlets report former District Attorney Ken Mauldin announced the results of his review of the Athens-Clarke County police shootings Wednesday. They included the killings of Aaron Hong, who was seen on police video rushing at officers with a knife, and Thomas Swinford, who charged at officers with what police later learned was an airsoft gun. A departmental review determined none of the officers violated police policy.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-DELTA AIR LINES

Delta grounding half its fleet, 10,000 taking unpaid leave

Delta will ground more than half its fleet – 600 planes – and cut even more flights because of the coronavirus outbreak. CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday that Delta will cut passenger-carrying capacity 70% across its system, including 80% on international routes. He says 10,000 Delta employees have agreed to take unpaid leave. JetBlue is also announcing new, deeper schedule cuts. Meanwhile, airline CEOs pressed their case for federal help in a 15-minute conference call with President Trump. The White House is supporting $50 billion in loan help to airlines, but so far it’s not going along with an industry request for cash grants.

BOYFRIEND ROBBER SENTENCED

Woman who robbed boyfriend with sister sentenced 25 years

ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say an Atlanta woman who robbed her boyfriend at gunpoint with her sister has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison. Jamya Ann Stokes was sentenced to 25 years for a November 2018 motel robbery in Norcross. News outlets report Stokes will serve the first 14 years behind bars. The robbery happened after Stokes allowed her sister to enter a motel room she shared with her boyfriend. The boyfriend told officials her sister pointed a handgun at his head while Stokes stole his clothes and $6,000 in cash. Stokes' charges include armed robbery and aggravated assault. Her sister is serving a 10 year sentence for armed robbery in state prison.