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September 16, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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September 16, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and/or State News Update-Ben Moser

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

New York Times: 
  • At least 1,287 new coronavirus deaths and 39,224 new cases were reported in the United States on September 15, 2020. Over the past week, there have been an average of 38,211 cases per day, a decrease of 10 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
  • As of Wednesday morning, more than 6,614,100 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 195,600 have died, according to a New York Times database.
  • In 12 states and territories cases are higher and staying high
  • In 7 states and territories cases, including GA and AL, cases are higher but going down.
  • In 8 states and territories cases are lower but going up.
  • In 27 states and territories cases are lower and staying low.
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • A press release last week from the Governor’s official website:
  • Atlanta, GA – On September 10th, Governor Brian P. Kemp and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), are asking all Georgians – especially those who may have participated in large gatherings over the Labor Day holiday weekend – to schedule a COVID-19 test at one of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s more than 180 testing locations.
  • “Last week, we traveled the state asking Georgians to follow public health guidance and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 over the Labor Day Weekend,” said Governor Kemp. “To prevent increased community spread following the holiday weekend, we are asking all Georgians who participated in gatherings, were not able to socially distance, or who may have been exposed to the virus to schedule a COVID-19 test. To stop the spread of COVID-19, Georgians must be part of the solution and not the problem, as we have said from the beginning. By scheduling a test and continuing to do Four Things for Fall, we can keep Georgia on the right track in the fight with COVID-19 and continue protecting lives and livelihoods.”
  • “Testing is a key component in our fight to stop COVID-19,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey. “Governor Kemp and I are asking all Georgians who may be at risk of exposure to the virus after Labor Day to schedule a test at one of our testing sites throughout the state. I would also recommend that all Georgians go ahead and schedule a flu shot. These two steps can mitigate community spread and keep Georgians healthy as we continue on a positive trajectory with the virus.”

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates 

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • The number of positive cases is trending down.
  • Appreciate Governor Kemp urging people to get tested. Testing is available but not as many people seem to be taking advantage of the opportunities to get tested.
  • The hospitalization rate is at a plateau. They continue to monitor it.
  • There have been 159 deaths in Muscogee County due to COVID-19.
  • Thanked the members of the community who have followed the guidelines as this has helped hold the numbers down.
  • The city is looking to reopen the natatorium on September 26, 2020. The city is working with the health department to determine how to phase in the reopening.
  • The city has received lots of calls/questions about preparation for Hurricane Sally. The city has been in contact with the local Red Cross and city workers and equipment are on standby to assist with falling trees and flooding issues. The city has crews out looking at sewer intakes/potential flooding hot spots to make sure that they are free of debris. The Mayor reminded citizens to make sure that anything sitting on the curb is not blocking gutters/sewer intakes or sitting where it can be swept into gutters/sewer intakes.
  • Red Cross does not anticipate any evacuees coming to our area but are ready to assist them if they do.
  • The city has received lots of calls/questions about Halloween. They are working on a safe alternate to door to door Trick or Treat. They will have some strict guidelines and recommendations for Halloween participants. The public safety department is planning on Truck or Treat again this year and churches are working on safe alternatives for children. The city hopes to have these guidelines out within the next week.
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Pleased to announce that the school district has started to phase in in-person instruction for those who chose this option through the Choice Model.
  • Pre-K-2nd grade, 6th grade, 9th grade and special needs students have returned to school. The remainder of students who chose in-person instruction will return to school on next Monday.
  • Dr. Lewis visited 12 schools on Monday, and everyone was masked up and everything was going well. Excited to see school buses and students back in school.
  • They will continue to monitor health conditions.
  • Asked callers to encourage anyone they know that is looking for work, that the school district is looking to hire bus drivers and school nutrition workers. They can contact the school district’s school nutrition department or the transportation department. https://mcs.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • In anticipation of Hurricane Sally, food distribution in Chattahoochee County (Cusseta, Georgia) today has been rescheduled to next Monday and food distribution in Randolph County (Cuthbert, Georgia) tomorrow has been rescheduled to next Wednesday. This information can be found on the Feeding the Valley website and Facebook page. feedingthevalley.org
  • Feeding the Valley is preparing for the storm. They are coordinating with the Red Cross and other partners that distribute food if there should be a significant event in the service area. They are prepared and hoping for the best.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • A grant was awarded this week to Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministries.
  • Grants to date total $1,135,000.
  • The needs in the community are great, asked callers to please continue to give if they can.
  • For details on grants, donating to the fund or if you are an agency that needs assistance go to cfcv.com/coronavirus
  • There are still funds available on the AFLAC match.

Making Connections (Open Forum) Updates

Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry (CVEM) Update- Martha Robert

Martha gave the following updates:

  • Thankful for the weekly call helping to keep everyone grounded, connected to one another and sharing information about resources.
  • CVEM works hard to pass the information about community resources to their clients, who are anxious, terrified and in incredible situations.
  • They have served 175 households throughout the pandemic.
  • Thanked her CVEM volunteer team.
Community Testing Sites Update
  • The General Manager of Peachtree Mall asked if anyone on the call knows of a testing site that offers rapid COVID-19 testing.
  • Candace Muncy answered that CVS Pharmacy offers COVID-19 testing with results in two days. Go to cvs.com for locations and to schedule an appointment.
  • Lauren Chambers answered that IACT Health offers COVID-19 testing with results in 20 minutes. They are located on the Piedmont campus on Talbotton Road iacthealth.com or 706-321-0495. Also, Crossroads Pediatric Acute Care offers COVID-19 testing for children 21 and under. Results back in two days. crossroadspac.com or 706-507-4995.
  • Liz Wise answered that Acute Care Emergence on Veterans Parkway offers COVID-19 testing. Human resources personnel can call to receive packets for employees without having to go through the waiting process. Results are back within the hour. acutecareemergence.com or 706-221-6800.
  • Billy Holbrook answered that MercyMed offers rapid testing by appointment. Call the main extension at 706-507-9209 choose option 1 and leave a message for someone to call back and schedule the appointment. MercyMed will bill insurance. The test is $35.00 without insurance.
Georgia Outreach Update-Liz Wise

Liz gave the following updates:

  • They are running non-partisan voter registration drives to register voters ahead of this fall’s election.  They are actively looking for sites at local businesses and organizations with good traffic flow to set up tables from 12-5pm daily.
  • Canvassers will be on site during these times to assist citizens with determining if their registration is current and if they have not registered, get them registered before October 5, 2020.
  • They are looking specifically for locations in underrepresented locations in and around the surrounding area or where the likelihood of a high number of unregistered voters are present.
  • They would appreciate any leads or connections with business and organizations in support of increasing their registered voter numbers.
  • They are also in urgent need of canvassers and are in the process of putting their team together. They are looking for passionate and friendly faces to join and getting Georgians out to vote. The link to the organization details and the job posting: https://www.theoutreachteam.net/apply-hourly
  • Liz can be reached at Liz.Wise@theoutreachteam.net
Georgia Power Company Update-Lisa Smith

Lisa gave the following updates:

  • Encouraged everyone to have a plan in the event that we have widespread outages from Hurricane Sally (i.e. keeping cell phones charged).
  • There are presently 165,000 outages in parts of Alabama.
  • Georgia Power is preparing, and they have resources available. Safety is their number one priority.
River Valley Area Agency on Aging Update-Katie Howard

Katie gave the following updates:

  • They are continuing to look for volunteers for their Meals on Wheels route. If anyone is interested, they can call 706-327-5208.  
  • They are also looking for volunteers to do telephone reassurance. There is a short background check. If anyone is interested, they can call 706-256-2900 and ask for David Marlowe.
Amerigroup Update-Lauren Chambers

Lauren gave the following updates:

  • National Disability Employment Awareness, Thursday, October 1, 2020, 10:00am-12:00pm via Zoom. See attached flyer for details.
  • Picture Perfect, Saturday, October 10, 2020, 10:30am-12:00pm via Zoom. See attached flyer for details.
  • October 16, 2020 is World Food Day. Please save the date. Amerigroup, Springer Opera House, IMA, & Feeding the Valley will be hosting a Mobile Food Pantry at the Springer Opera House. More information to come.

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