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

AP Top News

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Georgia authorities will close remaining activities at a former mental hospital in Thomasville on Oct. 1 following state budget cuts. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities told lawmakers it would abandon the former Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville, as well as a former hospital in Rome, because lawmakers were cutting $123 million. Both are no longer inpatient mental hospitals, but the department had continued to maintain them. Department spokeswoman Angelyn McDonald tells the Thomasville Times-Enterprise that 81 employees work at the Thomasville campus. She said some employees are seeking transfers. The department and the Georgia Pines Community Service Board will stop operations there.


LAKELAND, Ga. (AP) – A Florida man has been charged with crimes including aggravated assault following a police chase in south Georgia last week. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tells The Valdosta Daily Times that William “Billy” Welland has also been charged with two counts of home invasion, two counts of theft by taking, burglary, aggravated animal cruelty and possession of a firearm while committing a crime. Authorities say Welland broke into a Lanier County house and shot a resident while stealing a minivan, and then grazed a Lanier County deputy when he was cornered near Lakeland and tried to shoot it out. Welland himself was shot multiple times and hospitalized. Police in Tampa, Florida, said Welland is wanted there for involvement in a Tuesday killing.


SELMA, Ala. (AP) – The late U.S. Rep. John Lewis has crossed Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge for the final time as remembrances continue for the civil rights icon. A processional with Lewis’ casket was carried across the bridge Sunday where he and other civil rights marchers were beaten 55 years ago on “Bloody Sunday,” a key event in the fight for voting rights for African Americans. Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80, months after he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.


ATLANTA (AP) – Deaths remain at elevated levels and newly detected cases keep rising, but the number of Georgians in the hospital with COVID-19 is dropping a little, one hopeful sign in a state where infections have been flaring since early June. Those mixed signals are what pass for progress right now in Georgia’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The number of people in Georgia hospitals fell for the fifth straight day on Sunday, to 3,079, but remain above where they were on July 19. That tentative trend could be good news for Georgia hospitals, many of whom have been hard-pressed to find critical care beds for the sickest patients with the respiratory illness.

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