Church members practice social distancing and stand in their pews for the alter call while worshiping at the Union Springs Baptist Church on Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Rutledge, Ga. Pastor Robert L. Terrell spoke to the congregation on how to worship while keeping social distance and two nurses met worshipers as they entered the church taking temperatures to keep the congregation healthy. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — The number of coronavirus cases in Georgia continues to rise quickly and steadily.

Georgia reported more than 2,650 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, with a quarter of them requiring patients to go to the hospital and 80 deaths, according to the state Department of Public Health.

President Donald Trump declared a federal disaster in the state on Sunday, clearing the way for federal aid.

Fulton County continues to lead the state with more than 400 cases. But hard-hit Dougherty County in southwestern Georgia still leads in deaths, with 17, and has reported almost 240 cases despite a population 11 times smaller than Fulton County. Georgia has reported 80 virus deaths statewide.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, which is treating the majority of cases in the area, said it would require everyone who enters to wear a mask starting Monday.

Scott Steiner, CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System, which owns the hospital and other facilities in the area, said the company was able to implement the policy at all of its properties because it now have sufficient masks available.

Medically trained troops from the Georgia National Guard have been brought in to help the hospital, whose intensive care unit is full as emergency patients continue to stream in.

Gov. Brian Kemp said law enforcement spent the weekend patrolling campgrounds and lakes to break up large groups of people.

"They are monitoring coves where people tend to congregate and, if necessary, using bullhorns to tell people to comply with the order," Kemp said in a statement.


The Associated Press contributed to this report