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June 10, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

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National and State 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:
  • The outbreak is spreading rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, prompting Dr. Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, to warn on Tuesday that the unfolding crisis had “pushed our region to the limit.” 
  • Cases are surging in countries that took early isolation measures — like Peru, which is just behind Italy in its case count — and in those that ignored recommendations, like Brazil, which has the second-highest tally worldwide, behind only the United States, according to a New York Times database.   
Washington Post:
  • As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase worldwide, and more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day. 
  • In Texas, North and South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, there are an increasing number of patients under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of coronavirus infections. The spikes generally began in the past couple weeks and in most states are trending higher. 
Wall Street Journal:
  • The federal government plans to fund and conduct the decisive studies of three experimental coronavirus vaccines starting this summer, according to a lead government vaccine researcher. 
  • These phase 3 trials are expected to involve tens of thousands of subjects at dozens of sites around the U.S. 
In Georgia: 
  • The Department of Public Health in Georgia is reporting more than 53,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. 
  • As of Monday afternoon, there were 53,249 reported cases in the state. That is an increase of 752 in 24 hours. 
  • Georgia is also reporting 2,285 deaths, an increase of 77, and 8,872 hospitalizations, an increase of 126 in the past day. 
In Alabama:
  • From Forbes magazine – the Headline – Coronavirus Cases Have Risen Over 500% In Alabama’s Capital Since the Start of May 
  • In the Alabama capital of Montgomery, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have continued to rise since the state’s reopening in early May, according to a report, and weeks after Mayor Steven Reed said the city’s health care system had been “maxed out.” 

Columbus Area Updates

Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • We all anticipated that the numbers would go up after we started reopening different areas in our community
  • Yesterday was the highest number of positive cases reported in a single day with 60 being reported; we are now at 868 positive cases with 22 deaths
  • Our percentage of positives as reflected against the total number of tests given has gone up
  • The hospitalization rate has reached the highest that it has been, however hospitals are doing a great job with their resources and are able to manage the surge
  • With more people interacting and moving around there will be more opportunities for the virus to spread
  • We must continue to be vigilant and encourage people to practice social distancing particularly in their businesses; working together to do business in a healthy manner
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis

Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:

  • Dr. Lewis thanked everyone who voted to support the ESPLOST on yesterday
  • The school district is presently undergoing pre-k registration. Details can be found in the attached flyer or on the school districts website; the schools with openings are as follows: Brewer Elementary, Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy, Dorothy Height Elementary, Fox Elementary, Rigdon Road, Wesley Heights Elementary 
  • This week beginning internal and external stakeholder group discussions to get input on the start of the 2020-2021 school year; the district is considering three options: 100% return to school if conditions allow, 100% virtual option or a hybrid combination of the two
  • If anyone is interest in serving in a focus group, please contact Mercedes Parham at the school district’s communication department
  • Thanked Ben Moser, Jennifer St John, and United Way for presenting the Community School Strategy to the Muscogee County School District Board at their work session; the board will be considering as an action item on June 22, 2020
  • As we continue to see the spread of the virus in our area, the school district will not allow athletic conditioning for support teams at this time based on the current recommendations of the health department
Coronavirus Response Fund (Crisis Fund) Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • This week’s grant awards (10th round) total $9,220 to three organizations: Cathedral of Prayer, New Horizons Behavioral Health, and the Sexual Assault Support Center (The Center at 999). Details can be found at cfcv.com/coronavirus
  • To date total committed from the fund is $979,683
  • Of those commitments, 65% has been for health care related grants, the second largest area is food insecurity, 8% has gone to agencies that help individuals with financial assistance, 4% has been related to housing and shelter and 2% has been related to childcare and youth services

Open Forum Updates

MercyMed Update-Billy Holbrook

Billy gave the following updates:

  • MercyMed continues to conduct weekly mobile COVID-19 testing to help those who would like to get tested but lack transportation
  • Yesterday they tested 149 individuals who are experiencing homelessness at SafeHouse Ministries; thanked SafeHouse Ministries and Home for Good for their partnership in this effort; if anyone does test positive SafeHouse will be able to provide isolation sheltering
  • Next week they will offer walk up and drive up testing at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church located at 4400 Old Cusseta Road, Columbus, Georgia from 9:00am-2:00pm
  • The following week they will be on South Lumpkin Road; details to follow
  • Partners for this effort include: Valley Healthcare, Department of Public Health (Columbus Health Department), Tree of Life Healthcare and Pastor Johnny Flakes and the faith community

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