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April 23, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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To download notes, click here.

National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 42 of the National Emergency over the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state and local news sources:

  • Law makers are gathering in Washington today to vote on a $484 billion dollar coronavirus package that would revive a depleted loan program for distressed small businesses and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing; the bill does not provide money for state government even as governors across the country have had to divert resources to fight the virus while watching their revenue streams fall off a cliff
  • Scientist in the United Kingdom will begin human trials of the potential COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, but the government warns that they may have to rely on social distancing until next year assuming no treatment or vaccine is found before then
  • 4.4 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week as economic pain continues across the United States; this brings the total claims since mid-March to over 26 million
  • Crude oil prices jump extending a period of huge volatility that ricochet through the energy industry; traders are bracing for more gyrations in the weeks to come
  • In Georgia, the numbers from the Department of Public Health website: 21,102 confirmed cases, 4018 of those being hospitalized and 846 have died
  • In Alabama, reminder for COVID-19 resources for businesses and individuals, visit altogetheralabama.org

Columbus Area Updates

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

Pamela Kirkland gave the following updates in Natalie’s absence:

  • There are 244 confirmed cases in Muscogee County; 341 in Sumter County; 148 in Randolph County
  • There will be no testing at the Columbus Health Department today due to the weather; all testing is outside drive thru; every county in Georgia does testing except when there is inclement weather
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • No new updates for today
Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Update-Amy Bryan

Amy gave the following updates:

  • A guideline sheet has been established for our community for businesses set to reopen on April 24 and April 27; there are steps that will need to be taken in order to be in compliance with the Governors order
  • Planning a call for the community with our Congressman on next week to talk through the next round of stimulus dollars and what it means for small businesses
  • Also planning a call next week, open to the public with the Attorney General Chris Carr to discuss what is going on in his realm
  • The Chamber has received lots of phone calls and questions; some businesses have elected not to reopen just yet
  • There have been concerns about people that are drawing unemployment and what this means if their business does reopen; there was a  meeting with Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Governor Kemp yesterday,  there will still be the ability for employers to file partial claims because of limited hours for their employees; The Chamber is trying to get more details
  • The Chamber will also create a fact sheet for employers and employees that will be on their website along with the business guidelines for reopening columbusgachamber.com
Crisis Fund Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • The third round of grant awards was awarded on yesterday. Details are on the Community Foundation website at CFCV.com/coronavirus
  • Total grants awarded from the fund to date are $692,600
  • The fund to date has received $1.1 million dollars in donations; more is needed for the long haul
  • There is $628 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

Open Forum Updates

Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • There will be a drive thru food distribution on Saturday at 8:30am at the Central Activity Center in Phenix City for Russell County residents; they are preparing for 1200; proof of residency would be an Alabama tag, or driver’s license or power bill held up to the window
  • Information about the food distribution can also be found on Feeding the Valley’s website and Facebook page

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