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August 5, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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August 5, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and/or State News Updates-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates concerning the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from national, state, and local news sources:

Washington Post: 
  • Worldwide, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths exceeded 700,000 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • The United States continues to outpace all other nations with a tally of more than 4.7 million infections, but the number of new cases being reported nationwide has seemed to drop-in recent days. Experts say that could be the result of testing backlogs, with people in many parts of the country waiting a week to find out if they are infected.
  • Here are some significant developments:
  • White House officials and Democratic leaders say they have agreed to try to finalize the details of a new coronavirus relief package by the end of this week. The legislation, which will address lapsed unemployment benefits and restrictions, could go before Congress for a vote next week.
  • Voters voiced concerns about the delivery and security of mail ballots as five states held primaries Tuesday, highlighting how the rapid shift to absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic has emerged as a central issue in this year’s elections.
  • A spiraling outbreak in the Australian state of Victoria is prompting other parts of the country to enact restrictions aimed at keeping out residents of neighboring states.
  • Some European countries are slowing or reversing the easing of restrictions amid increases in new cases. Ireland has canceled plans to reopen pubs.
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • Mental Health – and some stats that show that if you are feeling the effects of the pandemic, you are not alone –
  • According to the National Center for Health Statistics, roughly one in 12 American adults reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder at this time last year: now it’s more than one in three. Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a tracking poll showing that for the first time, a majority of American adults — 53 percent — believes that the pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health.
  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 36 percent of Americans report that coronavirus-related worry is interfering with their sleep. Eighteen percent say they are more easily losing their tempers. Thirty-two percent say it has made them over- or under-eat.
  • So, if you are feeling the effects, you are not alone. Therefore, cut yourself some slack and take time to do whatever it is that you do for self-care. We all need to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of others.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates 

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • They are continuing to watch the numbers daily. They are encouraged that the numbers appear to be trending down.
  • The daily numbers are affected by life events. i.e. holidays, sports/athletic events, relaxing of restrictions, etc.
  • Urging Muscogee County residents to remain vigilant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines especially as young people are going back to schools and universities.
  • The number of hospitalizations appear to have flattened; lowest number of new cases yesterday was 22. There have been 83 deaths total due to the virus (37 of those have been in senior care facilities).
  • Encouraged and proud of the people in this community. They have been observing the public and how the public has been responding to the masking request. It appears that 95 percent of citizens are now wearing mask and practicing social distancing.
  • The city’s recreation facilities remain closed; they are wanting to reopen but need to make sure that it can be done safely.
  • The city is still requiring mask for most government buildings and they are continuing to work with bars and night clubs to follow the Governor’s guidelines so that they can remain open.
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • The school year will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 using a virtual delivery model.
  • Teachers returned to schools on Monday, August 3, 2020 and will use this time to prepare for use of the virtual delivery model.
  • If the numbers continue to decrease, they will move back towards in person instruction as soon as possible.
  • Verification is also scheduled for next week; schools are contacting their parents with details for verification and the distribution of chrome books and other resources to get the school year started.
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Student feeding continues this week in Muscogee County and Russell County.
  • Pop-Up Food Distribution today began at 9:00am at the Chattahoochee County Neighborhood Service Center, 439 Broad Street in Cusseta and in Fort Gaines, Clay County, 155 Wilson Street.
  • The next Muscogee County food distribution will be on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at the Columbus Civic Center.
  • Food distribution will be in Georgetown, Quitman County tomorrow.
  • Reminder that if individuals need food, they can go to the Feeding the Valley website, click on “Need Food”, enter their zip code and they will receive a list of food pantries in their area.  https://feedingthevalley.org/
St. Francis Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • The number of positive COVID-19 patients at St. Francis appears to be stabilizing or trending down.
  • The St. Francis team is doing well, and they appreciate the community support of wearing mask, social distancing and washing hands.
  • Encourage people not to delay their healthcare needs, it is safe to come and get care.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey
Grants/Projects Update-JJ Musgrove

JJ gave the following updates:

  • There were no grants this week. They have been seeing a lot of need but have been able to respond to it quickly.
  • To date 68 grants have been awarded in the amount of $1,060,212.
  • Details concerning grants and the Coronavirus Response Fund can be found at cfcv.com/coronavirus

Making Connections (Open Forum) Updates

New Horizons Behaviorial Health Update-Susan Gallagher
  • Susan gave the following updates: Just a reminder that Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities has established the Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line for individuals to access 24/7 if they need someone to talk to during this time of heightened stress and anxiety. The number is 866-399-8938.
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley/Community Initiatives Update-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • As schools reopen in a virtual environment next week, there are several community partners that will be offering services to support students during the school day hours (7:30am-5:30pm). They will be meeting nutritional, educational and safety needs. They include: Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc, Open Door, Salvation Army, YMCA and Enrichment Services Program.
  • Information will be posted on social media and can also be found through 211(call, website or text your zip code to 898211).
  • There is a need for high quality internet access across our community. It is not a luxury and it is essential that we advocate for increased access.
Pierce Chapel United Methodist Church Update-Reverend Lynn Meadows-White
  • Reverend Meadows-White gave the following updates: Drive-Thru Community Food Giveaway, Saturday, August 8, 2020, 4:00pm, Columbus Civic Center Front Parking Lot. No questions asked. No paperwork or ID required. Collaborative efforts of multiple churches in the area.
CARES Act Recovery Update-Marquette McKnight

Marquette gave the following updates:

  • The city of Columbus stands to benefit from $34 million dollars of the CARES Act Recovery money.
  • Organizations/businesses can apply for grants for COVID-19 related expenses that are not covered by any other source. i.e. PPE, thermometers, face mask, office retrofitting, etc.
  • The online digital application will be launched on Monday at 10:00am and closes the following Wednesday. She will send an overview and the link to callers that she has email addresses for. She will come back next week after the portal opens to answer questions.
Georgia Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department) Update-Jack Lockwood

Jack gave the following updates:

  • The Columbus Health Department will be conducting COVID-19 testing on Saturday, August 8, 2020 from 8:00am-11:00am, 2100 Comer Avenue
  • Go to the website westcentralhealthdistrict.com to register for an appointment or call 706-321-6300.
Chattahoochee Council of Boy Scouts of America Update-Juan Osorio

Juan gave the following updates:

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