Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday outlined what he said were strides made in Georgia's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, praising the state's residents for stepping "up to the plate" in slowing the spread of the virus.

"The key is for us now to keep doing this," Kemp said. "We cannot take our foot off the gas."

The governor was joined by Georgia Department of Health head Dr. Kathleen Toomey in reminding those across the state about the added danger of the upcoming flu season.

The state's top public health official urged everyone to get a flu shot to prevent hospitals from being overrun with COVID and flu patients this fall. 

“Never has it been more important to get a flu shot than this year," Toomey said.  "We're trying to prevent 'twin-demics' of COVID and influenza, which could devastating."

The governor pointed to decreases in hospitalizations since their peak in the summer and falling rates of infection in the state’s nursing home facilities. He said Georgians should continue to wear face masks, wash their hands, social distance and follow the guidance of public health officials.

"We’ve said we needed Georgians to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," Kemp said. "I'm proud that Georgians have stepped up to the plate and done the right thing.”

After being asked to reflect on the state being on track to hit 10,000 deaths related to COVID-19 by the end of the year, the governor spoke about his empathy with the victims.

"I think we’ve had many great successes, but make no mistake: This has been a tragic virus for those that have gotten it and succumbed to it," he said. "Those individuals, families and their local communities remain in my thoughts and prayers."

The governor again criticized the members of the news media, calling out some for a tendency to “cherry pick the worst figures that you can," and calling the practice "disingenuous to the public."

"It’s interesting some people will only focus on the negative and none of the positive, whether it’s COVID news or economic news," he said. "I can promise you: I’m going to continue to tell the full story.”

He said he continues to speak to experts about the unknowns of the virus.

Toomey said a "blip" in the state's percentage of positive cases could be from the antigen tests being added to the state database. She said those will soon be designated as a new “probable case” categorization on the state's website.

She invited people who get their flu shots to take a photo and send it to her email as a part of a statewide social media campaign.

According to the Georgia Department of Health, there have been 324,650 reported cases of COVID-19 in Georgia as of 2:50 P.M. on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Of those, 7,229 have died.