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May 1, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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To download call notes, click here.

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National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 50 of the National Emergency over the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state and local news sources:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a national initiative to speed research into how the coronavirus is spreading around the country, bringing together at least 75 public health, academic and commercial institutions into studying its genome
  • A team of long-standing pandemic experts predicted in a report released Thursday that the new coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to 2 years. They recommend that the United States prepare for a worst-case scenario that includes a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and the winter
  • The United States intelligence community released an assessment formally concluding that the virus behind the coronavirus pandemic originated in China, while asserting that the pathogen was not man made or genetically altered
  • Global stocks slump Friday after Apple and Amazon reported earnings that highlighted the impact that the pandemic is having on the world’s biggest companies
  • In Georgia, Governor Kemp announced that he will formally extend the Public Health State of Emergency through June 12, 2020. He is signing an order to require the medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to Shelter in Place until June 12. Elderly Georgians are considered age 65 and older.
  • In Alabama, Governor Ivey’s Safer at Home order went into effect at 5:00pm yesterday and will stay in effect until May 15
  • Reminder that call notes are posted on the United Way website unitedwayofthecv.org

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • As of this morning there are 306 confirmed cases in Muscogee County
  • The hospitalization rate has stayed flat and has gone down a little; resources are available if a surge does occur; the citizens of Columbus have done an awesome job; hope to be able to avoid any significant surge
  • The state’s Shelter in Place order has expired; with the exception of some individuals and groups; the new order is in place until May 13, 2020; Governor may choose to let orders expire or extend
  • Along with the state, the city of Columbus recommends that people stay at home unless you absolutely have to go out; do check on elderly neighbors and run errands for them
  • The city will be reopening gates at the city parks that had been gated due to large gatherings during the Shelter in Place order; golf courses will reopen as well under strict guidelines; restrictions on playground equipment, unsupervised tennis courts and basketball courts will remain in effect
  • Senior Centers will not reopen yet due to the Governor’s order asking seniors to continue to shelter in place; also, don’t want to encourage large group gatherings due to social distancing guidelines; will reevaluate in mid-May along with when to open recreation centers
  • The Government Center will reopen to the public on May 18, 2020; right now, anyone that comes into the government center security entrance is having their temperatures taken; encouraging citizens to wear mask but have not made it a requirement; will continue to monitor the number of people allowed in the building to comply with social distancing; hopeful that citizens will continue to access service through nontraditional ways when possible
  • Mayor Henderson advised that he check with Assistant Chief Robert Futrell, Director of Columbus Georgia Homeland Security with question about whether nursing home patients can be moved or transferred, or new patients accepted during the shelter in place still in effect for nursing homes
  • Kara VinZant of Stewart Community Home had the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines on her desk and was able to assist the Mayor with answering the caller’s question; it states on page 5 that nursing homes should admit individuals to their facility as they normally would admit them with screenings when applicable
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Man

Natalie gave the following updates:

  • There are 306 confirmed cases in Muscogee County; 165 in Crisp County; 129 in Dooley County; 80 in Macon County; 159 in Randolph County; 381 in Sumter County
  • There are 1453 cases in the 16-county health district
  • The Columbus Health Department will have a mobile site for coronavirus testing at Dorothy Height Elementary School on Benning Drive in Columbus. The site will be drive-up; the testing site will be open May 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and May 3 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Testing will also continue at the Columbus Health Department this weekend from 9:00am-12:00noon
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Added to Natalie’s update that the Dorothy Height Elementary School parking lot will be open this weekend for COVID-19 testing
  • Muscogee County School District has been awarded a Georgia Department of Education’s (GaDOE) Title I Section 1003 School Improvement Digital Learning Grant to further assist digital/distance learning infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Alabama State Representative Update-Chris Blackshear   

Representative Blackshear gave the following updates:   

  • There are 7068 confirmed cases in Alabama
  • There are 845 individuals hospitalized; this number has remained the same all week with is good; no new reported hospitalizations
  • There have been 272 confirmed deaths
  • There are 391 cases in Lee County; 291 in Chamber County; 57 in Russell County
  • There have been 90,000 Alabamians tested statewide
  • Stopwatch Urgent Care in Phenix City and Ladonia are doing COVID-19 testing
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

Coronavirus Response Fund (Crisis Fund) Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • In the midst of grant making decisions for next week
  • Money continues to come into the fund; there are lots of needs; continue to help share the opportunity to give to the fund
  • Go to cfcv.com/coronavirus for information on ways to contribute, grant information and to apply for assistance from the fund
  • Reminder to non-profits who are not frontline service providers and may not be eligible for the fund to go to cfcv.com/coronavirus and complete the impact assessment tool. This helps area donors get a sense of the impact that the coronavirus has had on your organization
  • Ben added that Giving Tuesday is May 5, 2020 and asked callers to consider the Coronavirus Response Fund

Open Forum Updates

Phenix City Housing Authority Update-Mary Mayrose

Mary gave the following updates:

  • The Phenix City Housing Authority will be starting a partial staggered schedule of offices beginning May 4, 2020; maintenance will be back on site with staggered schedules to address work orders
  • All offices and community centers will remain closed at this time
  • Property leasing will resume the week of May 11, 2020
  • If anyone needs information concerning housing or housing applications, send inquires to info@pchousing.org
  • Their greatest needs right now are food and testing sites; many families do not have transportation; the housing authority is reaching out to Feeding the Valley for help with getting food distribution to Phenix City Housing residents
Goodwill Industries Update-Tricia Konan

Tricia gave the following updates:

  • Career Centers will reopen to the public on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 9:00am. They will have social distancing and sanitation protocols in place
  • Happy to be reopening to help workers and employers
Valley Healthcare Update-Sarah Lang

Sarah gave the following updates:

  • Telemedicine and Telehealth programs are operating for psychiatry, family medicine, pediatrics, women’s health and behavioral health
  • Drive up testing continues Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Call Valley Healthcare at 706-322-9599
Valleyhelp.org Update-Gilbert Miller

Gilbert gave the following updates:

  • Just a reminder that valleyhelp.org is an intersection website for those in crisis or confused about navigating the system
  • If any would like to provide updates or links to resource pages, please email updates@valleyhelp.org
Clement Arts Update-Carmen Overton

Carmen gave the following updates:

  • Her organization supports the local foster community
  • Her organization has heard through the Department of Family and Children Services that they have seen a drastic decline in the number of reports being made regarding child abuse and/or neglect because children are not visible in the community
  • Her organization is concerned that there may be a surge in cases in the coming days and months and would like to partner with other agencies to provide resources and support for children

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