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July 8, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

• Coronavirus
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July 8, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and/or State News Updates-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates concerning the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state, and local news sources:

The New York Times: 
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, cautioned on Tuesday that it was a “false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Dr. Fauci’s comments came at an event Tuesday with Senator Doug Jones of Alabama as the United States surpassed three million cases on Tuesday.
  • “By allowing yourself to get infected because of risky behavior, you are part of the propagation of the outbreak,” he said. “There are so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, conceded that officials had been surprised by its recent spread, especially among young people.
  • None of us really anticipated the amount of community spread that began in our 18-to-35-year-old age group,” Dr. Birx said in a brief appearance on an Atlantic Council panel. “This is an age group that was so good and so disciplined through March and April. But when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about.”
  • The rate of new cases was rising quickly as the nation hit the three million mark, according to a New York Times database. Half a million new cases have been reported since June 26. Cases have risen in 37 states over the past two weeks, and this week the nation has been averaging roughly 50,000 new cases a day — double what it did in mid-June. 
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser

For our elevated issue of local concern and awareness:

Proper Mask Protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- How to properly wear a mask.

  1. Wash your hands and grab a clean cloth mask (Only wear clean, breathable face masks. Re-wearing the same mask could expose you to contaminants).
  2. Put on your mask, holding it by the ear loops. 
  3. Your mask should also fit snugly against the sides of your face — no open flaps. But it should not be so tight that it is difficult to breathe through.
  4. Make sure your nose, mouth and chin are covered. If your mask has pleats, they should open downward. 
  5. How not to wear a mask.  Beware of these three familiar mask mistakes. 
  6. It is too loose. 
  7. You forgot to cover your nose. 
  8. You put it back on and touched it.  – try not to touch it.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates- Public:

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • Thanked the Community Foundation and United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley for the call format being a beneficial central point for information
  • The numbers continue to rise. We are at over 2,200 positive cases in Muscogee County. The number of deaths is 54
  • They are continuing to monitor the numbers very closely; the Mayor’s office has begun publishing graphs of the numbers to give the community a visual of the rise in numbers
  • The local hospitals have been invaluable with keeping the Mayor’s office in the loop with information to help mitigate the spread of the virus, while also managing their resources
  • There have been a lot of conversations about making mask mandatory in our community. The Mayor’s office is willing to do this, however, due to some of the wording in the Governor’s order, there is some concern about whether the enforcement would be legal
  • They will continue to monitor the mask situation and they are grateful for the input that they have received from citizens
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • The school district is planning to start school on time on August 10, 2020
  • The school district has selected the Choice Option for the 2020-2021 school year. This allows students and parents to choose between in person or virtual instruction. Declarations are due by Friday, July 17, 2020, so the district can appropriately allocate staff and resources
  • The school district’s plans continued to be revised and updated based on updates from local health experts as well as other state government officials
  • The school district’s website also has a frequently asked questions page that is updated as new information arises


Food: Feeding the Valley Food Bank Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Finished the fiscal year with a record of distributing 13.6 million pounds of food
  • Unfortunately, Feeding the Valley has had a coronavirus exposure. A volunteer and employees have tested positive for COVID-19. They have been sent home and they will be retested to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Their facility is closed until Monday, July 13, 2020. They will conduct a deep cleaning and sanitization of the facility as well as the fleet
  • Everyone’s (employees, partner agencies and food recipients) safety is the upmost priority
  • They will take every step necessary to make sure that everything is safe, and that employees and volunteers are given all the medical care necessary
  • They will be issuing a press release today shortly after this call
Health: St. Francis Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • They are experiencing an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. This reflects the steady increase of confirmed cases in our region
  • They continue to work with state and public health officials, local and regional health care entities to plan and to continue to provide care to the community
  • Asked citizens to continue to remain vigilant to help slow the spread of the virus and to protect each other
  • Asked citizens not to delay essential care and have confidence that when they come to their facility that their vital health care needs will be met
  • She is grateful for her extraordinary team and for the support of the community
Housing: Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • The monthly Continuum of Care Housing Navigation Meeting was held yesterday. There were 28 people in attendance. The focus of the meeting was Health (mental and physical) and Housing. Guest speakers were Bambi Bundrick of Piedmont Columbus Regional and John Duffy of the Alabama Institute for Behavioral Health and Research. See the attached link from the meeting.
    COC Housing Navigation Meetings
  • Next Tuesday beginning at 9:00am, MercyMed will be conducting COVID-19 testing at SafeHouse Ministries for individuals experiencing homelessness
Youth Services/Elder Services: Boys and Girls Club Update-Rodney Close

Rodney gave the following updates:

  • Their summer program began on June 1 and will continue until July 31
  • They have an enrollment of 300 kids which is 275 less than usual; five of their locations are open
  • This summer of course looks different; parents and children are asked to stay in their cars when they arrive. They are questioned and temperatures are checked; everyone has embraced the new normal
  • Thankful for the support of the Community Foundation and United Way through the Coronavirus Response Fund; the funds have provided personal protective equipment, masks and water bottles with the assistance of Publix. Funds also provided scholarships for 60 kids to attend summer camp whose parents would not have been able to do so otherwise
  • Excited about being able to provide a service for parents who need to work and need somewhere to drop off their kids
  • Looking forward to the school year and supporting the school district by helping the children after school with homework and preparation for the next day
Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Thanked Frank Sheppard and Rodney Close and all organizations who are on the front lines taking care of the young people and the elderly in our community
  • It is an honor for the Community Foundation and United Way to administer the Coronavirus Response Fund on behalf of the entire community and with the support of the entire community
  • So far, the fund has made grants totaling $1,024,032; this week’s grant is to Operation Home Front
  • For grant history and other information about the fund go to cfcv.com/coronavirus
  • Thankful for the continued support of the community

Making Connections (Open Forum) Updates

United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley Update-Jennifer St john

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • As everyone knows, United Way, Feeding the Valley and other community partners/youth organizations have been able to help fill gaps in the student feeding programs. i.e. Spring Break and the break between the end of the school year program and the start of the summer program
  • They are looking to help meet that need again (July 20-August 5) as the summer program ends and before the school year begins
  • Also help is needed in the form of buses and vans; please contact Jennifer St John at jstjohn@unitedwayofthecv.org if you would like to assist
  • Jennifer thanked everyone for heir past, present and future support
Piedmont Columbus Regional Update-Joel Ames

Joel gave the following updates:

  • The urgent care clinic on Blackmon Road is the only Piedmont location that is offering COVID-19 testing and this location is not a walk-in or drive-thru; a doctor’s referral and an appointment is required
  • Piedmont Columbus Regional is continuing to see high and rising numbers in new hospitalizations of positive COVOD-19 patients
  • They are increasing their staffing levels and monitoring their supplies, equipment and beds
  • Urging citizens to wear mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing
  • Their Infectious Disease Center sent a video of moisture droplets coming out of a person’s mouth while talking with a mask on and without a mask on. See attached. Visual reminder of the importance of wearing a mask
River Valley Area Agency on Aging Update-Katie Howard

Katie gave the following updates:

  • Thanked everyone who has volunteered with Meals on Wheels
  • They are always in need of volunteers; please call 706-327-5208 if you would like to volunteer or if you know someone who is interested in volunteering

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