Georgia reported the highest rate of new cases of the coronavirus in the country in the seven days ending on Friday, the president’s coronavirus task force said in its latest report, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The state reported 216 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending Friday, a rate that is about double the national average, the White House report said.

The task force is again urging the state to take stronger action to mitigate spread of COVID-19.

The Harvard Global Health Institute COVID-19 risk tool earlier this week ranked Georgia as the top state in the nation for disease transmission rates, with an average daily case rate of 29.9 per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 16.

Gov. Brian Kemp has shown no interest in mandating masks statewide, but the governor has authorized cities to enforce local mask ordinances.

At any time, local leaders can require masks on government-owned property, but the new language spells out specific thresholds before restrictions can go further.

“This order also protects Georgia businesses from government overreach by restricting the application and enforcement of local masking requirements to public property," Kemp said. "While I support local control, it must be properly balanced with property rights and personal freedoms."


A recently leaked White House Coronavirus Task Force report said Georgia's policies were not enough to prevent "widespread and expanding community viral spread," but the governor's office has disputed some of the federal findings.