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April 22, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 41 of the National Emergency over the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state, and local news sources:

  • Public health detectives trying to retrace the path of the coronavirus across America were offered another clue Tuesday night when the Santa Clara medical examiner revealed that two people who died in their homes in February were infected with the coronavirus, that was weeks before the first official recorded death in Seattle
  • The United States has so far recorded more than 825,000 COVID-19 infections and at least 45,000 deaths from the disease
  • The Senate passed a $480 billion-dollar deal to replenish the Small Business Loan Program that has been overran by demand and to devote more money to hospitals and coronavirus test. President Trump said he would sign it into law
  • The storm engulfing world oil markets calmed on Wednesday after prices have fallen to levels not seen since late last century
  • In Georgia, the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers issued safety guidelines yesterday for reopening
  • In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey is urging residents to continue to follow her statewide stay at home order
Regional Director for United States Senator Doug Jones Update-Sandra Jackson

Director Jackson gave the following updates:

  • Appreciates being invited to join the call, Senator Jones was unable to join due to his schedule
  • Discussed various relief packages and programs: Family First, Unemployment, COVID-19 Package, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Payroll Protection Program, evictions and foreclosures, additional assistance for hospital and healthcare workers, etc.
  • First round of funding ran out; the Senate passed a supplement package on yesterday that will now go to the House for a vote on tomorrow and then to the President for his signature
  • All information can be found on Senator Doug Jones website www.jones.senate.gov/coronavirus and the Small Business Administration website www.sba.gov
Georgia State Representative Update-Calvin Smyre

Representative Smyre gave the following updates:

  • Appreciates the invitation from United Way to join the call; he added that his purpose for being on the call is to listen to our concerns
  • Emphasizing to the public to follow the directions of the public officials in the state and locally
  • Thanked the Mayor, all local officials, city council, city leaders, school officials, school board, etc. for their leadership during this difficult time
  • Thanked the Community Foundation, United Way, non-profits and other organizations for stepping up to the plate during this difficult time; he added that Columbus Georgia always steps up
  • Appointed by the Governor to the COVID-19 Task Force Community Outreach Committee. The task force has been empowered to provide guidance to the Governor on overcoming the hardship that we all are facing together in our state
  • As a member of the task force, every morning he reviews a COVID-19 report; he watches the daily statistics of each county to include positive and negative cases, changes in cases, and fatalities; he also reviews Region I emergency room categories, critical care beds and general inpatient beds, the COVID-19 hotline and stays in contact with various agency heads
  • His constitutional mandated responsibility is to create the state budget
  • First wave of stimulus package received dealt with emergency preparedness and education, total of $4 billion dollars; $2.2 billion dollars to state educational system; $1.8 billion will go to cities in the state of Georgia with populations of 500,000 or more; next stimulus for small businesses; third stimulus is one that will be dealt with by members of the general assembly; webinar today with experts from around the state on how to deal with state budgetary and revenue shortfalls; will need to go back and adjust the budget before the June 30, 2020 budget ends and then create a budget for FY 2020-2021 which begins July 1, 2020
  • The state ordered Shelter in Place officially ends April 30, 2020; State of Emergency order officially ends May 13, 2020; some businesses will be reopening April 24, 2020 and April 27, 2020
  • Representative Smyre can be contacted by email calvinsmyre@synovus.com or calvinsmyre@gmail.com. He can also be reached by phone or text at 706-326-3888

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • Thanked Representative Smyre for his update and for his service to the state on behalf of all the citizens of Columbus. Also thanked Senator Jones’s office; agreed that there are some budgetary issues that state and local government are going to face; this is a financial issue that has resulted from a medical catastrophe unlike anything that we have experienced and it will be hard to  model what budgets will look like
  • There are 235 confirmed cases in Muscogee County with 5 deaths; numbers include Ft. Benning if the individual resides in Muscogee County
  • Our mortality rate remains relatively low and our hospitalization rate remains stable; very appreciative of the majority of the residents of this region who were willing to shelter in place, observe social distancing guidelines and do all the other things that were asked of them; this has helped our numbers to stay as low as they are
  • Concerns about the manner in which certain businesses are set to reopen as Muscogee County numbers are trending up slightly
  • Reiterated the current shelter in place through April 30; wear a mask and practice social distancing when you go out
  • There is an outbreak in a local nursing home; The Department of Public Health, Homeland Security, the facilities administration and the Mayor’s office have been in contact and working together to make sure that it is contained, and they feel good that it is
  • Thanked Gilbert Miller for valleyhelp.org. Columbus Consolidated Government has linked to their website; thank everyone on the call for all that they have done to step up
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Man

 Jack Lockwood gave the following updates in Natalie’s absence:

  • There are 146 cases in Randolph County; 334 cases in Sumter County; 125 cases in Crisp County
  • Onsite testing continues at the Columbus Health Department from 8:30am-5:00pm Monday through Friday and 9:00am-12:00noon on Saturday. If you are experiencing symptoms and are a Georgia resident or work in Georgia, you can come by and first see a nurse for triage
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Echo the Mayor in appreciation for Representative Calvin Smyre. Appreciate his leadership and advocacy for education
  • Served 18,000 meals this past week in the feeding program. The largest number of meals served over the course for the feeding program
  • The feeding program went to three days a week with the same number of meals being served. It is going well
  • Completed instructional packets will be collected at schools on Thursday and Friday. There will be bins for parents to drop off work that the students have completed. The drop off times are 7:00am-9:00am, 11:00am-1:00pm, 5:00pm-7:00pm. Additional information can be found on the school district’s website
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • The Governor’s Task Force will meet tomorrow. The entire task force will meet to include all subcommittees to give a report on where they are in the process in developing new strategies and communications to communities across the state
  • Previously scheduled meeting of task force members and Continuums of Care across the state to put together the command center that will be located at the Department of Community Affairs in Atlanta to make sure that communication was getting out to all the communities across the state. This meeting is scheduled for 1:00pm today. Will provide updates
  • Reminder to service providers to provide updates and changes. There is a form on the United Way website https://testing.us1security.org/communityresourceupdates/
  • Reminder that resources are available on 211 via phone, text or website
  • Outreach to unsheltered population continues to be a challenge; special thanks to non-traditional outreach workers especially Melinda Shamburger at Valley Interfaith Promise for stepping up and assisting with outreach efforts
Crisis Fund Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • This morning the Community Foundation and United Way are announcing the third round of grant awards in the amount of $19,000 going out this week. Details are on the Community Foundation website at CFCV.com/coronavirus
  • Total grants awarded from the fund to date are $692,600
  • There is $879 remaining on the Global Payments/TSYS match; hoping to get there today; Global Payments/ TSYS will match individual gifts to the fund up to $2,000 for a total of $100,000
  • Reminder to front line organizations to go to the website and complete the questionnaire

Open Forum Updates

No updates today

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