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August 12, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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August 12, 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:

New York Times: 
  • At least 1,444 new coronavirus deaths and 53,344 new cases were reported in the United States on August 11. Over the past week, there have been an average of 53,723 cases per day, a decrease of 18 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
  • As of this morning, more than 5,154,700 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 164,400 have died, according to a New York Times database.
  • Case numbers remain persistently high across most of the country, though reports of new cases have dropped since late July, when the country averaged well over 60,000 per day.
  • Deaths, though still well below their peak spring levels, reached an average of more than 1,000 per day by early August, more than double the average from early July.
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • We heard from Marquette McKnight last week and she is on again today to talk more about Cares Act funding,
  • Columbus will receive $34 million overall and eligible organizations include:
    • Local small businesses with less than 100 employees.
    • Community assistance groups.
    • Nonprofits.
    • Arts agencies.
    • Medical and healthcare organizations.
  • So, stay tuned – this is huge folks and Marquette is coming up to give us more detail and answer questions.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates 

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • Excited about the partnership with Marquette McKnight and Media, Marketing and More concerning the CARES Act funding.
  • Excited that the state has released the funds to the local governments to help businesses, organizations and non-profits.
  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases have plateaued to some degree. There have been spikes here and there of 80-90. Typically, they are staying in the 60-70 range. The numbers are often influenced by triggering events. There have been 102 deaths in Muscogee County due to COVID-19.
  • The hospitalization rate has stayed level. Pleased to see the great job that the hospitals are doing handling resources.
  • The city is still requiring mask in government facilities.
  • The city is still holding off on opening indoor recreation facilities and will need to decide soon about youth football. They are trying to limit opportunities for large gatherings.
  • Encouraging everyone to continue to follow guidelines; wear a mask in public, practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.
  • Reminder to complete Census 2020.  An accurate count is needed for funding. Remind, ask, beg neighbors and friends to complete the census.
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Virtual classes will begin on Monday, August 17 for students in Muscogee County.
  • Teachers have spent two weeks preparing and training for virtual instruction. Teachers were surveyed and 97% of the 3,100 teachers feel prepared to teach virtually.
  • Virtual learning is anticipated for the first 3 ½ weeks and will plan to move to the choice model depending upon health conditions. Trying to eliminate the hardship of opening and having to reclose.
  • The school district is governed by the GHSA (Georgia High School Association) concerning school sports. The start of the football season has been pushed back for now, however, they are starting with softball, track and cross country. They are observing all safety protocols.
  • Dr. Lewis went to a few softball games recently and was very pleased to see that the Columbus teams and coaches were practicing social distancing, wearing mask in the dugouts and following all safety protocols.
  • All school kitchens will open on Monday for students to pick up meals.
  • Thanked everyone for their support and assistance throughout the pandemic. Asked for continued patience and understanding as we continue to move through uncharted territory.
CARES Act Funding (Media, Marketing and More) Update-Marquette McKnight

Marquette gave the following updates:

  • Columbus Cares, a $34-million-dollar fund has been launched to be used for local small businesses, non-profits, community assistance groups, healthcare and medical organizations.
  • Major kudos to the city of Columbus for the way that they have structured the program to allow residents and citizens equal access to these funds which will be a huge economic boost and assist to many of our non-profits. 
  • A few applications have been received but nowhere near $34 million.
  • The website is open and the digital application can be found there as well as an overview and FAQs  https://www.columbusga.gov/columbuscares
  • There is also an email address for questions columbuscares@columbusga.gov
  • The application period has been extended to Monday, August 24.
  • Apply early in case additional information is needed. Make sure that all supporting documents are uploaded with your application.
  • The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is hosting a webinar on Monday, August 17, 2020 at 2:00pm that will be a walk thru of the application process. Details to follow.
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Today is the last day of the student feeding program for Muscogee County and Russell County. There are 20 sites and they will distribute 6,000 meals for students to have food for today, tomorrow and Friday.
  • Thanked Jennifer St John, United Way, community partners, churches and other organizations for the use of their staff and vehicles to help feed thousands of kids who otherwise would have struggled to find nutrition.
  • Community Wide Food Distribution is taking place today in Meriwether County (Greenville, Lutherville and Manchester).
  • Muscogee Country Drive Thru Community Wide Food Distribution will be this Saturday at the Columbus Civic Center beginning at 9:00am
  • The census is important to non-profits who are federally funded. Feeding the Valley includes a census flyer in the food boxes they distribute.  
St. Francis Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • They are continuing to see a plateau; not getting worst; stabilizing. Under 40 today.
  • The hospital remains busy taking care of the healthcare needs of the community.
  • Reminder to listen to the leaders of our community, wear a mask, wash hands and practice social distancing.
  • Reminder not to delay healthcare, it is safe to come to the hospital and they are there when needed.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • There will be a FAQ on the Community Foundation website concerning the CARES Act funding in relation to the Coronavirus Response Fund.
  • This week’s award is to the American Red Cross in the amount of $10,000. Total awards to date are $1,070,212.
  • If you are an agency in need of assistance, please go to cfcv.com/coronavirus to apply.

Making Connections (Open Forum) Updates

Betsy thanked all the local churches who partnered together for the Community Wide Food Distribution this past Saturday. She asked them to let them know if they need additional support.

Ben announced the 2020 United Way Kick-Off. It will be held virtually on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 12:30pm. Registration is on the United Way Facebook page and website.

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