ATLANTA - President Donald Trump has declared Georgia a major disaster area due to the impacts of coronavirus, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Sunday.

“Georgia is grateful for this designation, as it will enable the state to continue partnering with federal agencies in a coordinated fight against this pandemic,” Kemp said. “The presidential declaration is a critical step in providing additional assistance to our state and local governments as they continue to respond to COVID-19.”

The disaster declaration came as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 2,651. Eighty Georgians had died of the virus as of noon Sunday.

Kemp declared a statewide public health emergency on March 14, and the General Assembly ratified the action two days later during a one-day special session. The governor’s declaration made available state resources to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The federal disaster declaration will allow federal agencies to provide direct assistance to Georgia. The record $2 trillion economic stimulus package Congress passed on Friday includes $150 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, money that can be used to help offset the impact the loss of businesses and jobs will have on state budgets.

COVID-19 now has spread to 113 counties. Fulton County has the most with 407 confirmed cases, followed by DeKalb County with 272 cases, Dougherty County with 239, Cobb County with 222, Gwinnett County with 143 cases and Bartow County with 119 cases.

However, the most deaths have occurred in hard-hit Dougherty County, where 17 have died from coronavirus. Fulton County has had 12 deaths, followed by Cobb County with nine.

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