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July 29, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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July 29, 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:

The New York Times: 
  • As of Tuesday, more than 4,366,900 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 149,700 have died, according to a New York Times database.
  • Case numbers are surging throughout most of the United States, including in many states that were among the first to reopen. Because the number of people hospitalized and the percentage of people testing positive is also rising in many of those places, the case spike cannot be solely explained by increased testing. Still, coronavirus deaths remain well below their peak levels. And as some places reimpose restrictions, others continue to reopen their economies.
  • American life has been fundamentally reordered because of the virus. Concerts, parades and baseball games have been called off. Unemployment claims have spiked. And in most states, case numbers are rising again.
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • A reminder of the basics of COVID-19 prevention:
  • Keep your distance from others. Stay at least six feet away from people outside your household as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands often. Anytime you come in contact with a surface outside your home, scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinse and then dry your hands with a clean towel.
  • Avoid touching your face. The virus primarily spreads when contaminated hands touch our nose or mouth or eyes. Try to keep your hands away from your face unless you have just recently washed them.
  • Wear a mask outside your home. A mask protects others from any potential infection from you. The more people who wear masks, the more we all stay safer.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates 

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • Columbus has just under 4,000 positive cases with 76 deaths. There were 83 new positive cases yesterday.
  • They continue to monitor the 7-day rolling average to keep an eye on trends. The 7-day rolling average over the last week is down which is good but is not an indicator that we have turned the corner; the Mayor attribute this to the fact that he has observed more people adhering to the mask recommendations and other Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
  • They continue to monitor the hospital numbers. The hospitals are doing a great job managing resources and beds. Although there are surges, from a trends perspective they seem to have flatted out with regards to the 7-day rolling average.
  • There has been lots of conversation across the state about mask mandates. Columbus has always advocated putting a mask mandate in place if necessary if it was enforceable and legal to do so.
  • Firefighters gave out about 20,000 mask a few weeks ago and people are wearing them. As a result, the numbers are starting to reflect that people are being more careful over the last few weeks.
  • Mask are required to access certain government buildings in Columbus. The mandate can be enforced because of the judicial order by Judge McBride that anyone entering any facility housing a court room must wear a mask. Citizens will not be turned away instead mask will be made available.
  • The city continues to monitor the status of reopening recreational facilities. The recreation centers, senior centers and the civic center remain closed. They are hesitant to reopen any facility that will attract large gatherings.
  • The city met with local bar owners last week about reports of young people congregating in night clubs without social distancing.  The meeting was positive and bar owners were reminded of the Governor’s guidelines to remain open. Law enforcement is stopping in and checking to make sure that they are complying.
  • The city continues to encourage the community to help eliminate the spread of the virus.
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Feeding the Valley continues to operate at full capacity with trucks picking up and delivering food. They continue to do food distributions throughout the community.
  • If callers know of anyone in need of 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/
  • Advise callers to continue to monitor the Feeding the Valley Facebook page and website for community wide food distribution dates.
St. Francis Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • Pleased that the 7-day trend is not going up but cautious about making any predictions, as they are continuing to monitor.
  • Urging everyone to continue to support Mask Up Georgia to stop the spread of the virus.
  • St. Francis is very busy with COVID-19 patients as well as non-COVID-19 patients. All hospital services are open to include elective services.
  • They continue to work with the state to make sure that the hospital has appropriate resources; treatment recognition and options have improved.
  • The month of July had the highest number of COVID-19 patients that they have cared for since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Their Command Center has been operating 138 days. They appreciate the continued support of the community.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • This week grants total $30,100 to three organizations: Feeding the Valley, Hopewell United Methodist Church (Pine Mountain) and Truth Spring, Inc. For details please go the cfcv.com/coronavirus
  • To date, awards from the fund total $1,060,212
  • Asked the community to please continue to support the fund; United Way and the Community Foundation will continue this work as long as it is necessary in our community.

Making Connections (Open Forum) Updates

River Valley Area Agency on Aging Update-Katie Howard

Katie gave the following updates:

  • Seniors Farmer Market, Friday, August 7, 2020, 8:00am
  • Must be a Georgia resident and age 60 or above to receive(free) $20.00 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • The application can be found on their website beginning this afternoon; rivervalleyaging.org; Seniors can also call the office for an application to be mailed to them 706-256-2910 or they can pick up an application at the office located at 710 Front Avenue.
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley/Community Initiatives Update-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • The student feeding has been extended by one week through August 12, 2020.
  • Thanked Feeding the Valley and all the partners who are making this possible.
  • The food is being distributed at the same 21 sites as the school district. Meals are distributed on Monday and Wednesday from 11:30am-12:30pm. Students receive five days’ worth of food.
  • Asking partners on the call and in the community to help spread the word so that families with children under the age of 18 will know where and how to access food until school starts.
  • Several UWCV partner agencies that service children are opening their sites during the day to support students. Additional information to follow and updates can also be found through 211.
  • Also, two of the agencies are hiring to support those programs. Boys and Girls Club and Girls, Inc.
T.E.A.R.S, Inc. Update-Angelia Walton

Angelia gave the following updates:

  • Thanked United Way and the Community Foundation for their support.
  • Daycare and childcare are still needed in their area (Phenix City, Alabama).
  • Extended their hours and age groups that they serve.
  • They will be actively participating in a after school program for the upcoming school year that will look different.

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