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March 25, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and State Updates-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 13 of the National Emergency from the following media sources: The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times:

  • Federal lawmakers reached a $2 trillion-dollar aid deal, the largest in American history
  • The aid package includes direct payments to individuals and families, small business loans, unemployment compensation and loans for distressed companies
  • Spain’s death toll makes it the hardest hit country behind Italy; People barred from leaving home
  • India began the world’s largest lockdown
  • Governor of California states that lifting restrictions by Easter in his state seems unlikely
  • Governor of Georgia called on businesses that can help the state with critical health care items
  • Thoughts and prayers are with Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany, Georgia with 150 confirmed cases, 11 deaths and over 1000 test results pending
  • Governor of Alabama says no to a statewide shelter in place order

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • Four confirmed cases in Muscogee County; most are quarantined at home
  • Daily talks with local hospitals in order to be proactive; all in good shape with beds and equipment at present
  • Recent conference call with grocery store chains; how to best serve customers and keep everyone safe
  • The Mayor asked everyone to encourage each other to practice social distancing
  • The city has begun removing public basketball goals and tennis nets to discourage people from gathering in groups
  • The city has not modified last weeks order; shelter in place is not eminent
  • The Mayor continues to self-quarantine with no symptoms
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department)-Natalie Mann

Natalie gave the following updates:

  • As of 9:30am there are four confirmed cases in Muscogee County, four in Sumter, three in Crisp, one in Harris, one in Randolph, one in Macon
  • The Department of Public Health just posted new guidelines for long-term care facilities on their website
  • Screening continues at the Columbus Health Department
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Muscogee County School District did a district wide scavenger hunt for medical supplies from their schools, health care classes and science classes
  • Supplies to be delivered to Emergency Management Agency for distribution to first responders and hospitals
Alabama State House Representative Update-Chris Blackshear

Representative Blackshear gave the following updates:

  • Alabama legislative session on a two-week Spring Break; scheduled to go back next Tuesday, March 31,2020
  • May potentially be ending the session due to social distancing and will be reconvening later this summer to finish the budget
  • 242 confirmed cases in Alabama as of yesterday; 26 in Lee County; 5 in Chambers County; 0 in Russell County
  • Each state requests test kits from the Federal government; state sends test kits to hardest hit counties first
  • State superintendent will have a decision about school closures by the end of day tomorrow
  • Alabama has been approved for small business loans; go to madeinalabama.com to file electronically
Russell County School District Update-Dr. Brenda Coley

Dr. Coley gave the following updates:

  • The school district is sharing updates with the community through social media
  • Teachers are getting instructional materials to students through distance learning methods and resource packets
  • Community feeding program for students; 10 sites that include 3 school locations
  • State of Alabama has received a waiver for standardized testing
  • Webinar today at 3:00pm with state school superintendent to discuss school closures; reopen or extend; currently on Spring Break until April 6
  • No know confirmed cases in Russell County
Piedmont Columbus Regional Update-Joel Ames

Joel gave the following updates:

  • As of 8:40am, no confirmed cases at Piedmont Columbus Regional
  • Prepared for and anticipate confirmed cases
  • In house collection site continues; eight Piedmont patients were tested on Tuesday
  • No visitor policy continues with a few exceptions
  • Screening visitors by taking temperatures and recording their presence in the building
  • Staff are continuing self and peer assessments
  • Supplies are being managed system wide
  • Appreciate support from community agencies and the Muscogee County School District offering medical supplies to a central place to be distributed as needed
  • Testing turnaround time three to five days
United Way Community Investment Updates-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

 As she shared on yesterday’s call, a group of community partners are working together to help meet the nutritional needs of children in Muscogee County over spring break.  They had a planning call this morning and will talk again tomorrow.  They will deliver as follows: 

  • Students will receive Buddy pack backpack on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of next week.  Each buddy pack will include two day’s worth of kid friendly food 
  • They will follow the current delivery locations to increase access 
  • They are partnering with the school district to ensure this information gets out to parents – They will use the same communication channels effectively used by the district to inform parents 
  • Partners involved in this effort include Feeding the Valley, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girls Inc., YMCA, Open Door, The Salvation Army and Take the City.  Additionally, several churches will support this effort by providing transportation and drivers to deliver the food. 

They will have another planning call tomorrow at 8:00am

Home for Good and Vulnerable Population Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • Call with Governor at 11:30am to review proposal and recommendations from the task force on community needs
  • Received information from Department of Housing and Urban Development based on some best practices for encampments, emergency shelters, isolation shelters and screening of clients coming into shelters
Crisis Fund Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Reminder to support the fund; front line needs
  • Fund is moving quickly; she and Ben are busy fund raising and taking calls 
  • Great to see people stepping up to help

Open Forum Updates

Phenix City Housing Authority Updates-Mary Mayrose

Mary gave the following updates:

  • Housing authority offices remain closed; One or two staff members are in the office on staggered schedules
  • Sent out 2nd resident notices to advise where to go if they are having symptoms
  • Advised residents to call 211 for testing information
  • Property managers are calling to check on vulnerable families
  • Food distribution at the Chuck Roberts Activity Center on March 31st for elderly residents
  • Providing staff lunches for Phenix City School District
Alabama Power Updates-Sebastian Dixon
  • Power crews are practicing social distancing
  • Some contractors have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation
  • Engineers are telecommuting
  • Business office using kiosk and drive-thru
  • Alabama Power not disconnecting for none pay
MercyMed Updates-Billy Holbrook
  • Expecting an increase in patients outside of the coronavirus issue due to unemployment, lack of insurance, etc.
  • Still getting referrals from the Department of Public Health for testing; capacity to test every 30 minutes; just received a shipment of 40 test kits
  • Their turnaround time for test results varies from three to seven days
  • Public Zoom call today at 3:00pm. MercyMed doctors will discuss the coronavirus along with a question and answer segment.

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