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Morning headlines: Three Georgia children diagnosed with monkeypox

220825 monkeypox microscopic image NIAID.jpg
NIAID
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Colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles (blue) cultivated and purified from cell culture. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland

Three Georgia children have been diagnosed with monkeypox.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, one child attends elementary school in Newton County, with an additional child in that school system being tested. The location of the other two children who have been infected has not been released.

he Newton County School System officials have notified parents at both schools about the cases via School Messenger. Parents of students who may be considered close contacts of the ill students will receive additional communication from school officials advising them of the next steps.

The three in Georgia are among only 17 children under the age of 16 who have been diagnosed nationwide. As of Wednesday, the number of diagnosed cases of monkeypox in Georgia had risen to 1,240, that includes 19 women and the three pediatric cases.

UGA to increase its contribution to employee healthcare plan as costs rise

University System of Georgia employees will not have to pay higher premiums for 2023.

The state Board of Regents approved the system’s healthcare plans and premiums at its August 9 meeting. But, while premiums remain the same, costs will go up as there will be an increase in plan surcharges, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and copays.

Wednesday, the University of Georgia announced that due to higher costs for treating COVID-19, inflation and the impact of new legislation, it will increase its contributions to keep employee costs from rising.

Warnock pitches a trio of housing measures in coastal Georgia

Georgia US Senator Raphael Warnock announced new legislation Wednesday aimed at the nation's housing crisis.

The first bill would give a tax cut to renters who spend more than 30% of their income on rent. For people looking to buy a home, the second bill would allow them to open a special tax-free savings account meant for a down payment. And lastly, a third bill would increase data transparency within the affordable housing market.

Speaking outside a new house in Garden City built by Habitat for Humanity, Warnock said the issue is personal to him, having grown up in public housing in nearby Savannah.

"I think about the elderly citizens in this community," Warnock said. "I also think about our children. And they need the security of a safe place to lay their heads so that they can dream, as I did growing up as a young kid in this community."

Warnock said he doesn't think housing is a partisan issue. However, two similar bills introduced in recent years never made it out of committee.

Unemployment remains low in Athens region

The unemployment rate in Athens continues to remain low. The state Department of Labor says that July's rate of 2.6% is half a percent lower than the previous month, nearly a full percent lower than July 2021.

The numbers in Athens reflect a larger regional trend, with the 11 counties in the Northeast Georgia region also seeing a 2.6% unemployment rate.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
Benjamin Payne
Benjamin Payne is a contributing reporter and floating host at KUNR. He is currently pursuing his master's degree at the University of Nevada, Reno's Reynolds School of Journalism, where he also works as a teaching assistant.