Here is the latest Georgia news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m.

AP Top News

ATLANTA (AP) – With 82% of Georgia’s critical care beds now in use, health systems across the state say they’re quickly nearing capacity as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. The Albany area was one of Georgia’s hardest-hit regions early on in the virus’s spread. Hospitalizations are now climbing dramatically there once again. The Phoebe Putney Health System’s CEO said Thursday that hospital admissions of people with COVID-19 are soaring. Emory Healthcare says hospitalizations of its COVID-19 patients have more than tripled in the past 14 days. In Middle Georgia, Navicent Health says it has also seen a dramatic increase this week.

ATLANTA (AP) – Authorities said three people were shot and wounded in Atlanta, including a 9-year-old boy. Atlanta police say the shooting happened Wednesday night around 9:30 p.m. Police say officers found one man with a gunshot wound and witnesses told police more people were shot during the incident. A man and a 9-year-old boy were later found at a hospital. The man was shot in the hand and the boy suffered gunshot wounds to both legs. Police said all three victims were expected to survive. Police believe an argument lead to the shooting. No suspects were in custody. The shooting comes after 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed in Atlanta over the Fourth of July weekend.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Coronavirus infections among salvage crew members are delaying the removal of a cargo ship that overturned on the Georgia coast 10 months ago. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer John Miller said Thursday that plans to start cutting the 656-foot ship into eight giant pieces in mid-July have been placed on hold as infected crew members are quarantined along with colleagues who may have been exposed. Miller said the multiagency command overseeing the salvage operation still hopes to begin cutting the ship apart by the end of July. He said nine crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 out of more than 260 working on the shipwreck. The South Korean freighter Golden Ray has been beached off St. Simons Island since September.

UNDATED (AP) – Public pressure amid protests over racial inequality forced Mississippi to furl its Confederate-inspired state flag for good, yet Georgia’s flag is based on another Confederate design and lives on. Why the difference? The Confederacy used more than one flag while it was fighting the United States to preserve slavery. Most of the designs are largely forgotten more than 150 years after the Civil War ended. The best-known Confederate flag is red with a blue X and stars. It was adopted by white supremacists and heritage groups, and that’s the kind of emblem Mississippi used. Confederate national flags are often relegated to museums.

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