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May 22, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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May 22, 2020 Coronavirus Community Call

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National and State Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates for Day 71 of the National Emergency over the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state and local news sources:

New York Times:

  • Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve spoke yesterday saying: “In the best of times, predicting the path of the economy with any certainty is difficult,”  
  • “We are now experiencing a whole new level of uncertainty, as questions only the virus can answer complicate the outlook.” 
  • Mr. Powell went on to say that the nation’s economy was in a “downturn without modern precedent.” 

Washington Post: 

  •  With experts warning of a second wave of infections in parts of the South and Midwest as all 50 states ease pandemic restrictions, President Trump said the United States would not shut down again if the novel coronavirus comes roaring back. “We’re not going to close the country — we’re going to put out the fires.” 

Wall Street Journal:

  • Equities broke out this week, driven by promising news and a renewed promise from the Federal Reserve
  • All 50 states have now taken at least some measures to reopen, and a number of governments overseas have as well. Two companies announced positive results from early trials of possible COVID-19 vaccines. Even a couple of retailers had some surprisingly decent earnings reports 
  • All of that helped propel the S&P 500 to its highest point since early March. U.S. crude oil rose 19% on Tuesday alone, and a number of observers have declared the bottom for commodities 

In Georgia:

  • Governor Brian Kemp yesterday joined CVS Health to announce the launch of new COVID-19 testing sites in Georgia. Building on the company’s comprehensive efforts to help slow the spread of the virus, on Friday, May 22 CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) will open 23 new COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across the state

In Alabama: 

  • 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:

  • The Mayor wished everyone a safe and nice Memorial Day weekend
  • The numbers have spiked over the last few days. As of this morning there are 494 cases in Muscogee County with 17 deaths
  • We are seeing more positive cases due to the increase in testing; however, the hospitalization rate remains flat; overall, we are doing well
  • The Mayor reminded callers that it’s not over and will not be for a long time; he encouraged citizens to continue to be smart and aware while easing back into activities
MercyMed Update-Billy Holbrook

Billy gave the following updates:

  • There were 180 individuals experiencing homelessness (and staff) tested this past Monday at SafeHouse Ministries. There were 4 individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 and 2 or 3 are in isolation at SafeHouse (they have a special area for COVID-19 isolation). MercyMed is monitoring their health
  • Thanked SafeHouse Ministries and Home for Good for collaboration in this effort
  • MercyMed is also planning to coordinate with Valley Healthcare, Tree of Life Healthcare and the Columbus Health Department to provide walk up testing in neighborhoods were people are unable to get to a drive thru testing site. This will begin in June. Dates, times and locations will be announced later
Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Natalie Man

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

  • There are 421 cases in Sumter County; 170 cases in Randolph County; 164 cases in Dooley County and 205 cases in Crisp County
  • The Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) will be conducting drive thru testing at the Sumter County Health Department in Americus, Georgia on Saturday, May 23, 2020 from 9:00am until 12:00noon, they will be testing at Harris County High School in Hamilton, Georgia on Sunday, May 24, 2020 from 12:00noon until 2:00pm and at Stewart County Middle/High School in Lumpkin, Georgia on Monday, May 25, 2020 from 9:00am until 12:00noon
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Nothing new to report today
Columbus Area Vulnerable Population Update
Home for Good Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

  • Pat thanked MercyMed and SafeHouse Ministries for their collaboration with testing, isolation and treatment for those individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Great step for individuals to be able to move into housing without any stigma
Community Calendar Update-Ben Moser and Betsy Covington

Ben and Betsy gave the following updates:

  • Joel Ames of Piedmont Columbus Regional has asked that as organizations begin to reschedule their fundraisers, to please use the community calendar at visitcolumbusga.com; you may also contact sguest@visitcolumbusga.com or asmith@visitcolumbusga.com;  their phone number is 706-322-1613
  • Great idea to get a full picture of what is going on in our community this fall and to avoid duplications
  • Betsy received the following information via email: nonprofits who are planning fund-raising and other events should also coordinate their fund-raising events with the Nonprofit Meetup Group’s calendar. For that, they should contact Jennifer Shawa at jshawa@twincedars.org and Kim Rozycki at kimberlyrozycki@gmail.com.
Coronavirus Response Fund (Crisis Fund) Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • To date the fund has awarded $907,735 in grants
  • We need to keep money coming into the fund as the need remains great
  • Great shout out in the Ledger; this fund is a collaboration between the Community Foundation, United Way and all of our community doing what it can to take care of each other
  • The committee will meet this morning concerning next round of grant awards
  • Reminder that there will not be a call on Monday, May 25, 2020 in observance of Memorial Day

Open Forum Updates

United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley Update-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • Reminder that this is the last official day of the school year and the feeding program ends today; the summer feeding program begins on June 1 in Muscogee County and June 15 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 
  • Need everyone to assist with getting the word out to children and their families about the feeding sites. The sites are the same for Muscogee County except for the Victory Mission site. There are three sites for Russell County. For details visit the United Way or Feeding the Valley Facebook page
  • Summer camps are starting, however there are fewer camps and fewer slots available this year. Girls Inc., Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and the YMCA all have a limited number of slots available. Registration information can be found on their websites. Also 211 is a great resource for finding summer resources

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