Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


Officials report 25 coronvirus deaths in Georgia; 620 cases

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia health officials say five more deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus. That brought the total to 25 deaths Sunday, with 620 confirmed cases reported statewide. The Atlanta area has the highest number of infections, with Fulton County alone reporting more than 100, but there are other hot spots, including the Albany area, with four dozen cases and six deaths. More than one-third of Georgia's 159 counties have reported at least one confirmed case. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has refrained from ordering restaurants and other businesses to shut down, leaving local governments to decide whether and how to impose restrictions aimed at slowing the outbreak.


Historic columns could mark restored square on Georgia coast

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A project to restore a square in coastal Georgia could get two pieces of local history. The Brunswick News reports that two marble columns from the former Oglethorpe Hotel could be headed a a restored Wright Square. Brunswick city officials are removing a street that was cut through the middle of Wright Square in the 1950s, making it the sixth of the city's 14 historic squares to be restored. Brunswick City Commissioner Julie Martin says she found out about the columns from a recent Instagram post by owners of a local furniture business. Thursday, workers for Signature Squares of Brunswick retrieved the two columns.


Savannah port makes room to stack containers as demand slows

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's largest port is making room to store more shipping containers. The Georgia Ports Authority said Thursday that it will make room to stack more than 11,000 additional twenty-foot equivalent units by mid-April at the Port of Savannah. That's how cargo containers are typically measured. Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch says in a news release that shippers need room to stack their cargo until demand returns following the coronavirus. The additions will increase the Port of Savannah's annual container capacity by 400,000 units, giving it a total capacity of 6 million units per year.


Election limbo as coronavirus outbreak upends US primaries

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. elections have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. At least 13 states have postponed voting and more delays are possible as health officials warn that social distancing and other measures to contain the virus might be in place for weeks, if not months. States that have yet to hold their primaries find themselves in a seemingly impossible situation, as they look to balance public health concerns with the need to hold elections. While election officials routinely prepare for natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, the virus outbreak poses a unique challenge.


Crossover country superstar Kenny Rogers dies at 81

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kenny Rogers, who embodied “The Gambler” persona and whose musical career spanned jazz, folk, country and pop, has died at 81. A representative says Rogers died at home in Georgia on Friday night. The Houston-born balladeer with a husky voice had hits like “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton. He sold tens of millions of records and was the star of TV movies, making him a superstar in the late ‘70s and ’80s. With his silver beard and folksy charm, the Grammy winner excelled as a musical stylist for more than six decades.


Stranded cruise ship passengers describe chaotic flight home

ATLANTA (AP) — Travelers say the flight to return passengers from a stranded cruise ship to the U.S. carried people with problems breathing, several passengers fainting and many coughing, but no food nor medical personnel provided by the company or the U.S. government. Federal officials say a jet carrying 359 people including hundreds of American and Canadian cruise ship passengers from France landed at Atlanta's airport with some infected or exposed to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that three of the people tested positive, but have no symptoms. Authorities say 13 others are sick but haven't been tested.


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.


Georgia coronavirus deaths hit 20, infections surpass 550

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia officials say 20 deaths in the state are now linked to the coronavirus, with total confirmed infections passing 550 statewide. The latest numbers were released Saturday evening by the Georgia Department of Public Health. The new death toll is up 42% from 14 earlier in the day. Meanwhile, a second Georgia state lawmaker says she has tested positive for COVID-19. Republican state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick of Marietta said in a Facebook post she developed a fever a week ago and a test for the virus came back positive Friday. Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta has also announced he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.