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April 3, 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 22 of the National Emergency from national, state and local news sources:

  • Over half of the world is now under a “stay at home” order
  • The White House stops short of declaring an official policy but joins other leaders who recommend wearing cloth face mask in public even if they have no symptoms
  • With more than 6,000 deaths, United States health officials and state leaders are urging a stronger response to the outbreak
  • In New York, where there have been over 2,400 deaths, New York Governor states that the state has about six days left before it runs out of ventilators
  • As video conference app Zoom surges in popularity, federal officials are now warning of a privacy and security concern called “Zoom Bombing” a form of cyber harassment. Some users have reported that their calls are being hijacked. 
  • March Jobs Report is expected to show the start of a collapse; pushing the unemployment rate to record highs
  • United States and Europe are turning to phone tracking strategies to halt the spread of the virus
  • Ventilator shortages loom
  • In Georgia, Governor Kemp signs a nine-page document making “Shelter in Place” official beginning 6:00 pm April 3 through April 13
  • In Alabama, Governor Ivey held an hour-long question and answer segment on Twitter Thursday afternoon.  She stated that each state must weigh their own set of factors. She is in communication with local, state and federal officials daily. She is taking a measured approach to keep Alabamians healthy, safe and working wherever possible

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • The Mayor and city attorneys are in the process of reviewing the Governor’s “Shelter in Place” order to interpret into language that can be easily understood by our community
  • The purpose of the order is to keep Georgians at home for two weeks unless there is an absolute necessity to leave
  • Continue to pass the word and do what the Governor is asking
  • As of 7:00pm last night, there were 26 confirmed cases in Muscogee County
  • County-Wide testing going on over the next several days; will yield more positives but no cause for panic; opportunity to identify them and quarantine
  • Hospitals in our area are doing a good job preparing and staying ready; toured the 5th Floor at Doctors Hospital; Beds should be ready around April 14; Thanked Dan and Kathelen Amos for their generosity
  • Option A: Doctors Hospital, Option B: Stand Up Hospital of 40-60 beds that can be built in a matter of hours
  • Planning prevention but also to be ready in case of a surge in cases
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Mann

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

  • There are 26 confirmed cases in Muscogee County; 48 in Sumter and 21 in Crisp
  • No testing at the health department today or Monday. Health department staff will be working with MercyMed at the County Wide testing at Cascade Hills.
  • Their phone line is still up and answering calls from the public
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Reminder that feedings and distance learning resume on Monday. Spring Break ends Sunday
  • For student who need print resources, parents can pick them up on Tuesday and Wednesday; approved by the Governor’s office as an essential function
Alabama State Representative Update-Chris Blackshear

Representative Blackshear gave the following updates:

  • There are 1315 cases in Alabama; 96 in Lee County; 3 in Russell County
  • More than 10,000 Alabamians have been tested
  • Delivery of 10,000 kits that were disbursed statewide on Wednesday
  • There have been 34 reported deaths; 24 have been confirmed
  • Hot Spot Jefferson County has 323 cases as of this morning
  • East Alabama Medical Center is treating 30 individuals at their facility
Piedmont Columbus Regional and Piedmont Healthcare System Update-Board Member Warren Steele

Warren gave the following updates:

  • The 10th floor at Midtown Medical Center is up and running as a COVID-19 floor
  • The 30 plus beds at Doctors Hospital should be operational by the 3rd week of April
  • Thanked Dan and Kathelen Amos for their $1 million-dollar donation towards renovating Doctor’s Hospital; appreciate everyone responding and helping
  • Through their modeling, it is expected that they will reach a peak of patients at the 11 hospitals by April 27
  • Number of COVID-19 patients doubled from last Wednesday to this Wednesday
  • Last two days seeing numbers stabilize as patients are recovering and moving out
  • Persons under investigation (PUI) have dropped and have been below 100 for most of the week
  • New building in Atlanta, by the end of the month the system will have 130 additional beds in the Atlanta area
  • Started internal testing of staff and patients in Atlanta and Athens and expect to start in Columbus next week; results in 6-24 hours allows quick resolution of issues
  • Some stress on supplies but still in decent shape; resterilizing mask and gowns
  • Staffing new beds will require additional sources for ventilators; asking state for assistance
  • About 350 retired doctors have answered the call to help
  • Thanked the media for the article on the Midtown Command Center; focus shifting from policy planning to scenario planning
  • Thanked the community for supporting health care workers by helping with Money, Masks and Meals. The Piedmont Foundation is coordinating these activities. See the Piedmont website for details
MercyMed Update-Billy Holbrook

Billy gave the following updates:

  • He is onsite for the first day of Community Wide drive thru testing at Cascade Hills
  • Thanked the Department of Public Health for their help; both hospitals have been supportive and thanked Mayor Henderson for his support
  • Testing is going well; the crowd flow is good
  • There will be 120 volunteers assisting through Monday
  • So far 75 tests have been done today; turnaround time is 48-72 hours
  • Criteria to receive testing are: Cough or fever or known exposure to someone who has the virus or is suspected to have the virus
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • Housing Navigation Meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 3:00pm via WebEx to include our service providers and expanding to include everyone in the Continuum of Care to talk about challenges and ways to meet the needs of clients. The event will be posted on Home for Good’s website
  • Just received a one-page update from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) giving service providers one place to look for resources for funding and meeting the needs of clients
  • No update on stay of evictions from the state
Crisis Fund Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Beginning initial grant making meetings on the fund and hope to have some money coming out next week
  • Adding an assessment tool on the website (CFCV.com/coronavirus) for nonprofit organizations that don’t provide front line services to vulnerable populations
  • Thankful for everyone in the community stepping up to help

Open Forum Updates

No additional updates today

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