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May 15, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 64 of the National Emergency over the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state and local news sources:

New York Times:
  •  The government’s monthly report on retail sales is due on Friday, and the results are likely to be ugly. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the report to show that sales fell 12%, even more than the 8.4% drop in March. That would add up to the worst two-month decline on record 
Washington Post:  
  •   Democrats are gearing up to push a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the House on Friday. The legislation, which would boost funding for state and local governments as well as the U.S. Postal Service, faces roadblocks in the Senate, and President Trump has threatened a veto  
Wall Street Journal:  
  •  The Federal Reserve is expected to report Friday that industrial production—a measure of factory, utility and mining output, including oil and natural gas production—fell a seasonally adjusted 11.1% in April, which would be the biggest monthly drop in records dating back more than a century 
In Georgia:
  • From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:  Governor Kemp’s new executive order took effect yesterday and is currently set to expire May 31, 2020.  Bars, nightclubs and live performance venues will remain closed under the order. Aside from businesses deemed critical infrastructure, gatherings of more than 10 people aren’t allowed unless social distancing measures are in place. Governor Kemp announced some changes to restaurants and dining services. No more than 10 patrons for every 300 square feet will be allowed inside. Other required restaurant and dining safety measures are detailed in the Ledger article and on the Governor’s website
In Alabama: 
  • From AL as a reminder – For COVID-19 resources for businesses and individuals, please visit altogetheralabama.org 

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • As of this morning, Muscogee County was at 412 positive cases with 15 total deaths
  • The Department of Public Health and their partners have done an outstanding job of getting test available to people in Columbus
  • He estimates that at least 4,000 people have been tested in Columbus; which means that one out of every 45 to 50 people have been tested; 10-12% positive diagnosis; which is good compared to the rest of the state
  • The hospitalization rate remains stable and has declined, which is good news
  • The Governor’s order still requires social distancing and still has lengthy guidelines for businesses to follow as they reopen; one important thing is that if they are able to follow those guidelines and reopen they will be able to generate revenue that will shorten the timeline for getting our momentum back
  • The Columbus Consolidated Government is preparing to reopen administrative offices on Monday, May 18, 2020; some employees may continue to work remotely
  • There will be a mask policy for employees; people entering the building will be urged to wear masks as well and they will be screened for temperatures
  • The Marina and the Cooper Creek Tennis Courts will be reopening under specific guidelines
  • In June the city will evaluate when to reopen the Senior Centers and recreation centers
  • The city of Columbus is consulting with of the Georgia Recreational Professional Association (GRPA) as well as other cities this size on best practices for reopening venues
  • The overriding goal is to provide an opportunity for the citizens of Columbus to stay safe and still enjoy as much as possible the quality of life that Columbus has to offer
  • The Mayor is asking citizens to stay the course; not over yet; continue to work together
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Man

Natalie gave the following updates:

  • Reminder: The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Columbus Health Department are extending testing capabilities; drive-thru testing will take place tomorrow, May 16, 2020 from 9:00am until 1:00pm in the parking lot of the Columbus Civic Center
  • As of this morning, there are 412 positive cases in Muscogee County; 20% or 81 individuals hospitalized; 15 deaths or 3.64% of individuals; total cases in the 16-county health district are 1,702
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Reminder that students began returning on Wednesday, May 13 through Friday, May 22, to return school property and picking up personal effects; all Principals, Assistant Principals and School Secretaries returned to the schools on Monday to prepare for this process
  • Guidance counselors will return to schools on next week to help with transcripts and other records
  • Reminder that the feeding program will discontinue the week of May 26-May 29 and the summer feeding program will begin on June 1, 2020; Appreciate United Way, Feeding the Valley and other partners filling the gap for that week
  • Finalizing virtual summer school plans and will have an update on next week
Alabama State Representative Update-Representative Chris Blackshear

Ben gave the following updates in Representative Blackshear’s absence:

  • There are 11,101 cases in Alabama as of this morning
  • There are 447 cases in Lee County with 30 deaths
  • There are 326 cases in Chambers County with 23 deaths
  • There are 91 cases in Russell County with 0 deaths
  • A total of 144,422 people have been tested in Alabama
  • There are 1,304 total hospitalized and 473 confirmed deaths
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley Update-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • As we heard on the call earlier this week, Dr. Lewis shared that there would be a gap in the school feeding program.  This is also a need in Russell County
  • United Way was able to work with Feeding the Valley to quickly identify a solution to ensure children have continued access to food during the transition from the school year to the summer
  • Kid-friendly Buddy Packs will be delivered on Tuesday and Thursday during the week of Memorial Day for Muscogee and Russell County School Districts.  This service will continue for the first two weeks of June in Russell County and be provided on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 
  • Additional transportation partners are needed to support the food deliveries in Muscogee County, if you are interested, please contact Jennifer St John at 706-536-3876 or jstjohn@unitedwayofthecv.org     
  • This time of year, also means start to summer camp program – and day camps will also look very differently this year
  • Over the past week, United Way has convened two meetings with partners providing summer camp programming.  Camps are typically filled with fun activities, field trips, and educational supports to combat summer learning loss.  This year, fewer camps will operate, field trips have been cancelled, social distancing and other safety measures will be implemented, and summer learning loss is expected to be even greater this year
  • Through United Way’s partnership with the Muscogee County School District, they will host a training for summer programs with a focus on two recommended programs that students can access for free. 
  • Programs are collaborating to address the need for cleaning supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer, thermometers, and individual water bottles.  
  • Additionally, more families are experiencing financial hardship and more scholarships will be needed. 
  • If there is anyone on the call who has the ability to help secure significant amounts of individual, single use, water bottles either donated or at cost, please contact Jennifer St John at 706-536-3876 of jstjohn@unitedwayofthecv.org
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • Sending out the link again today for the Nonprofit Community Assessment Tool for the Chattahoochee Valley so that everyone will have an opportunity to complete as they will begin analysis next week https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/63FSG3M
  • Reminder that there will be walk up testing at SafeHouse Ministries on Monday, May 18, 2020 from 9:00am-2:00pm for persons experiencing homelessness. See attached flyer for additional information  TestingFlyer.pdf
Coronavirus Response Fund (Crisis Fund) Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Reminder that grants awarded to date total $843,720 from the fund
  • There are lots of needs in the community; continue to help spread the word and encourage others to donate
  • Reminder of the AFLAC match; AFLAC will match individual gifts to the fund up to $2,000 for a total of $100,000; great way to double your gift; go to cfcv.com/coronavirus to get more information
  • Starting Monday, the Coronavirus Response Update Call will go to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday format; there will not be a call on Memorial Day

Open Forum Updates

No updates today

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