Dr. Kathleen Toomey is the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
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Dr. Kathleen Toomey is the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Georgia should expect many more COVID-19 cases in the coming days, warns the state's top public health official. 

GPB's Rickey Bevington reports how the state government is tackling the growing number of coronavirus cases in Georgia.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner, said she is watching closely as the number of COVID-19 cases multiplies. Statewide, there are 146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.

"Obviously, the more you test, the more you find. What that's indicating to me is this virus was here probably for a while, and we just didn't recognize it," Toomey said Tuesday while speaking to GPB's Political Rewind host, Bill Nigut.

However, tests are still in short supply. Officials say many people with symptoms of coronavirus may never know if they have it because they can't access testing. 

Georgians should not compare COVID-19 to the flu, Toomey cautioned, explaining there is no vaccine for the deadlier virus.

"It has to be measured in dog years. One week of COVID-19 is like 10 weeks of another virus because it spreads so quickly," she explained.

That's why she's stressing social distancing, saying staying home will save lives. 

"I just can't emphasize enough that we have to do this now to save lives and protect all state's residents now and in the future whether it's two weeks, two months, whatever it takes," she said.

"This commitment is necessary."