Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at a news conference on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at the state Capitol in Atlanta. Content Exchange

(The Center Square) – All K-12 public schools in Georgia will remain closed through April 24, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday.

Kemp previously ordered schools closed through March 31.

"In consultation with the Governor's Coronavirus Task Force and education, health, and emergency preparedness officials, I have determined that an extended closure of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools is a necessary and appropriate action to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Georgia's residents and visitors to control the spread of COVID-19," Kemp wrote in his executive order.

The Georgia Department of Public Health on Thursday afternoon reported 1,525 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, including 48 deaths.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 1,100 deaths in the U.S., with more than 75,000 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

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