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January 20, 2021: Coronavirus Community Call

• Coronavirus
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To download notes, click here.

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The Weekly Coronavirus Response Update Call will be changing to a Bi-Weekly (every other Wednesday) format. The next call will be Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

National and/or State News Update-Ben Moser

Ben gave the following updates concerning the coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

New York Times: 
  • At least 2,770 new coronavirus deaths and 185,070 new cases were reported in the United States on January 19, 2021. Over the past week, there has been an average of 201,117 cases per day, a decrease of 11 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Wednesday morning, more than 24,311,200 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus according to a New York Times database.
  • In 29 states and territories, including Georgia, new cases are higher and staying high.
  • In 24 states and territories, including Alabama, new cases are higher but going down.
  • In 1 territory, cases are lower but going up.
  • In 2 states and territories cases are lower and staying low.
  • More than 400,000 people with the virus have died in the United States. Deaths continue to emerge at some of their highest levels of the pandemic.
  • California, which is adding almost 40,000 cases every day, became the first state in the country to surpass three million known infections. Only four other states have more than one million cases.
  • Texas is reporting cases at near-record levels. The outlook is especially dire along the Mexican border, including around Laredo and Eagle Pass.
  • The Plains states have started to recover after a terrible autumn. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas are all seeing sustained declines in new cases.
  • Coronavirus hospitalizations have started to slowly decline after months of increases, according to the COVID Tracking Project. But more than twice as many people with the virus are hospitalized now than at the spring or summer peaks.
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • Elevated issue – Vaccine distribution from CNN –
  • President-elect Joe Biden on Friday outlined a plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the US population that includes opening eligibility to get more people vaccinated, creating more vaccination sites and taking measures to increase the supply and distribution of the vaccines.
  • His plan includes mobilizing more personnel to support the vaccination effort, launching a public education campaign to address those hesitant to take the vaccine and focuses on ensuring equitable access to the vaccine across the country.
  • “Our plan is as clear as it is bold: Get more people vaccinated for free. Create more places for them to get vaccinated. Mobilize more medical teams to get the shots in people’s arms. Increase supply and get it out the door as soon as possible,” Biden said during an event in Wilmington, Delaware.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • The present COVID-19 surge was anticipated. However, the numbers are going down slightly in our area.
  • The hospitals are doing a great job treating patients and managing resources.
  • The biggest challenge lately has been vaccine availability. The vaccine is not widely available to the general public yet.
  • The Columbus Consolidated Government, the Columbus Health Department, and local hospitals are partnering to push out vaccines as soon as they are available. They have been able to get out 10, 000 doses so far in our area.
  • Appears that it may be spring or summer before the vaccine is widely available to the general public.
  • Suggested that citizens watch area pharmacies websites and the health department website(westcentralhealthdistrict.com) for availability of the vaccine. There is also a link on the Mayor’s Facebook page for a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Registration at the old Columbus Specialty Hospital. https://www.facebook.com/MayorSkipHenderson/
  • The Columbus Consolidated Government has also partnered with local emergency management to devise a plan so that when the vaccine is widely available to the general public, everyone in the community will have equal access.
  • Reminder to the community to keep doing a good job. Continue to wear mask, wash hands, practice social distancing and be nice to each other.
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Due to health conditions, the school district delayed returning to the Choice Model by one week. As of yesterday, elementary and special needs students returned to the Choice Model.
  • The school district is meeting with their health panel today. Middle school and high school students will plan to return to the Choice Model next week depending upon health conditions.
  • Encouraging the public to continue to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to help keep students in school.
  • School nurses are being trained to administer vaccines once those become available.
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Food distribution in Randolph County, Georgia at Enrichment Services on tomorrow.
  • Regular monthly food distribution in Russell County, Alabama (Central Activity Center in Phenix City) on Saturday for Alabama residents only.
  • Next week there will be several food distributions stops in Columbus/Muscogee County, Georgia.
  • For details on food distributions call, email or Facebook message Feeding the Valley. (706) 561-4755 |  facebook.com/feedingthevalleyfoodbank |  feedingthevalley.org
  • Feeding the Valley remains in good shape with food supply.
  • Due to COVID-19, they are not having volunteer groups in the Feeding the Valley warehouse. They have been fortunate to have assistance from the National Guard. There are volunteer opportunities for the general public outside of the warehouse. See the volunteer tab on their website. feedingthevalley.org
  • Feeding the Valley received a $40,000 grant from the CVS Corporate Philanthropy Department to assist with food insecurity for children and seniors in rural areas.
St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • Today is day 313 of the St. Francis COVID-19 Command Center.
  • The healthcare system is resilient. However, no one expected the pandemic to last this long.
  • The challenge is how to continue to sustain the energy of their team.
  • The numbers are the highest that they have been. However, they have stabilized but remain fluid.
  • They are taking care of the immediate needs of patients.
  • Thankful for the support of the community.
  • 1,400 staff have been vaccinated.
  • Reminder to be kind to ourselves.
Columbus Health Department-Jack Lockwood

Jack gave the following updates:

  • Vaccine Locator  COVID Vaccine | Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Go to westcentralhealthdistrict.com or columbushealth.com to register for the COVID-19 vaccine or to schedule COVID-19 testing.
  • Once registered, an individual will receive an email and/or text that vaccines are available and where.
  • Once an individual schedules the appointment, they will receive a confirmation email and/or text.
  • Jack recommends printing the confirmation or have it available on a cellphone when reporting for the appointment.
  • He also advised individuals to be on time for the appointment. Do not come early or late. This disrupts scheduling and spacing.
  • Once an individual gets to the appointment there will be paperwork to complete before receiving the vaccine.
  • After receiving the vaccine an individual will be observed in a holding are for 15 to 30 minutes to monitor for any reactions.
  • Individuals will receive an email when it is time to return for the second dose.
  • They are presently using the Moderna vaccine and are only vaccinating individuals in Phase 1.
  • Encouraged the elderly who are not computer literate or who don’t have access to a computer to ask others to help sign them up.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat gave the following updates:

Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • No new grants to report today. Several applications are being review. More information to come on the next call.
  • To date the fund has awarded $1, 252,000.
  • The needs in our community are great.
  • For details on grant awards, to donate or if you are a non-profit in need of assistance go to cfcv.com/coronavirus.

Making Connections (Open Forum)

Piedmont Columbus Regional-Joel Ames

Joel gave the following updates:

  • As of 8am this morning, the three Piedmont Columbus Regional locations have updated their visitor’s restrictions.
  • No visitors are allowed except for Labor and Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatrics (under age 18) and some inpatient rehabilitation.  End of life care will allow visitors on a case-by-case basis.
  • Children under 12 are not allowed to visit and they are encouraging adults over 70 not to visit the facilities.
  • The new guidelines are posted at the main entrances and on their website. https://www.piedmont.org/locations/piedmont-columbus/northside-visitors
  • They continue to do temperature checks and log in visitors.
  • The change is until further notice and is intended to provide additional protection for everyone.

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