State officials announced that Georgia's first coronavirus cases were confirmed Monday in two people in the same Atlanta area household, including a man who recently traveled to Italy.
Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters at a late night news conference that both people have isolated themselves at their Fulton County home with other relatives. Health officials were working to identify others who had recent contact with them.
"Georgians should remain calm," said Kemp, who hours early had announced a state coronavirus task force. "We were ready for today."
Georgia became the 12th U.S. state to report confirmed coronavirus infections. Total U.S. cases have topped 100. Six people have died, all of them in Washington state.
The illness, named COVID-19, is characterized by fever and coughing and, in serious cases, shortness of breath or pneumonia. Worldwide, the death toll has exceeded 3,000, with more than 89,000 total cases in about 70 countries.
Health officials suspect the Georgia cases are tied to one of the confirmed patients' recent trip to Milan, Italy.
The man called his doctor after developing symptoms, and the doctor thought coronavirus might be the cause after hearing about his trip to Italy, said Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health. The two people were tested and the federal Centers for Disease Control called Georgia officials with the positive results Monday.
"I suspect we'll see other cases," Toomey said. "I hope all of them go as smoothly as this did."
State officials declined to release further more information about the Georgia cases, citing privacy concerns.
Toomey said the man had no symptoms on the plane when traveling home from Italy and officials do not believe he was contagious at the time. Neither of the infected people had required hospitalization.
"They are at home, in home isolation with other household members, are doing well and have minimum symptoms," Toomey said.