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April 2, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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To download call notes, click here.

National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 21 of the National Emergency from national, state and local news sources:

  • Weekly jobless claims rise to 6.6 million; almost 10 million have filed for unemployment over the last two weeks
  • In New York City, 1,000 police officers have tested positive for the virus; 911 calls there hit a record
  • United States deaths surge pass 4,600 as officials compare the U.S. situation with Italy’s outbreak
  • Cases in California are closing in on 10,000
  • Global cases near 1 million as U.S. waives grounding domestic air travel
  • In Georgia, Governor Kemp is to sign a statewide Shelter in Place Order today and has closed schools for the rest of the year. He stated that he came to the decision after receiving “game changing” information released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention
  • In Alabama, Governor Ivey is not ruling anything out but as of Wednesday she is holding off an any kind of stay at home order

Columbus Area Updates

Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Mann

In Natalie’s absence, Jack Lockwood gave the following updates:

  • The Georgia Department of Public Health website is updated with the case count each day at 12:00noon and 7:00pm; also updates on long term care facilities
  • There are 22 cases in Muscogee County; upsurge in cases in Sumter and Crisp County
  • No testing at the health department on Friday; staff will be assisting with MercyMed testing
  • For testing outside of Columbus, check with that area’s local health department, hospital or individual providers
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • To clarify, the Governor’s order to close schools for the remainder of the school year pertains to face to face in person instruction. Students will finish out the school through distance learning
  • Muscogee County School District has already planned for digital and print instruction through April
  • Also, in the process of planning for alternate dates for graduation later in June if allowed or virtual if necessary
  • Spectrum is providing free resources to our students for 60 days
  • Feedings for Muscogee County children will resume next week
 Lee-Russell Council of Governments-Lisa Sandt

Lisa gave the following updates:

  • Their office is closed; small number of staff in office for emergencies
  • Most staff working from home with calls being forwarded to them
  • All large events for April have been canceled
  • Senior citizens still receiving meals curbside, pick up and home delivery
  • No home visits; senior prescription program is still available; still providing services to caregivers
  • Public transit program is still operating; fairs have been waivered; practicing social distancing and cleaning
  • Call them with emergency needs of seniors
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • Yesterday afternoon the Department of Housing and Urban Development released the memorandum for availability of waivers (flexibility in spending funds) for Continuum of Care, Emergency Solutions Grant and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS; this information was sent to all area service providers this morning
  • Asking Governor Kemp to waiver the Shelter in Place Order for homeless service providers
Crisis Fund Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Out of respect for the shelter in place order, The Community Foundation office will be closing; mail will be forwarded; will not affect receiving funds
  • Reminder of Global Payment/ TSYS $100,000 matching gift to the fund; they will match individual gifts to the fund up to $2,000 for a total of $100,000; more information can be found at CFCV.com/coronavirus
  • Mindful of organizations that may not qualify for this fund at this point because they don’t provide front line services to vulnerable populations are still in need; working on an assessment tool

Open Forum Updates

St. Anne Community Outreach Update-Katie Byers

Katie gave the following updates:

  • Three large food pantries in Columbus: Wynnton Neighborhood Network, Uptown Ministries and St. Anne Community Outreach each serve about 12,000 a year
  • During the crisis they have been collaborating: sharing resources, volunteers and schedules to make sure one of them is open every day
  • Food pantries question whether they need to provide volunteers’ something in writing that would allow them to be out and about considering the Governor’s Shelter in Place order; Frank Sheppard of Feeding the Valley Foodbank added that foodbanks are eligible to be open, he will check on whether any documentation needs to be provided to volunteers
Senator David Perdue’s Office Update-Kathy Burns

Kathy gave the following updates:

  • Senator Perdue remains engaged with our national and state leaders along with businesses and organizations across our state
  • There are two COVID-19 resource guides that were put together by the Senator’s office they can be found at www.Perdue.senate.gov
  • Senator Perdue co-sponsored a letter to Secretary Mnuchin urging him to not require seniors to file paperwork in order to receive their stimulus checks; last night the United States Treasury Department of Public Affairs announced that there will be no need to file an abbreviated tax return; payments will be direct deposited into their accounts
MercyMed Update- Billy Holbrook

Billy gave the following updates:

  • Community wide drive thru COVID-19 testing at Cascade Hills starting tomorrow through Monday. Hours are 9:00am-6:00pm, Friday, Saturday and Monday and 1:00pm-6:00pm on Sunday; open to the public; no referral or appointment needed
  • Thankful to the Columbus Health Department who will come to lend their support; huge response from community to come volunteer as well
  • Criteria to receive testing are: Cough or fever or known exposure to someone who has the virus or is suspected to have the virus
  • The turnaround time on testing is 48-72 hours; results will be provided to patient, their primary care provider and the Department of Public Health

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