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September 9, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

• Coronavirus
September 9, 2020: Coronavirus Community Call

To download notes, click here.

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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 462 new coronavirus deaths and 28,549 new cases were reported in the United States on September 8, 2020. Over the past week, there have been an average of 36,704 cases per day, a decrease of 13 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
  • As of Wednesday morning, more than 6,345,700 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 189,500 have died, according to a New York Times database.
  • In 13 states and territories, including Alabama, cases are higher and staying high
  • In 3 states and territories cases, including Georgia, cases are higher but going down
  • In 6 states and territories cases are lower but going up
  • In 32 states and territories cases are lower and staying low
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
  • From NPR and all major news services:
  • Nine drug companies pledged Tuesday that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.
  • The CEOs of AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer are among those who signed the pledge to follow “high ethical standards and sound scientific principles.” All three companies are conducting large studies of potential vaccines for the disease that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. and nearly 900,000 worldwide. The other biopharmaceutical companies are Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novavax, BioNTech and Sanofi.
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, in an interview on the Today show, called the pledge historic.
  • “With increasing public concerns about the processes that we are using to develop these vaccines and even more importantly the processes that will be used to evaluate the vaccines, we thought it was critical to come out and reiterate our commitment,” Bourla said.

Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates 

Public:
Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson

Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:

  • The numbers have continued to improve.
  • Continue to monitor the local hospitalization rate. Focusing on keeping a cushion so that hospitals can take care of patients with medical needs outside of COVID-19 and not exhaust their resources due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.
  • Local hospitals have done a great job throughout the pandemic managing resources and taking care of the people of this community.
  • There have been 151 deaths in Muscogee County due to COVID-19.
  • The average daily cases are going down. A 7-day rolling average is kept to monitor trends. The average is now at 22 cases.
  • There are several factors that influence positive test results to include the number of test available, the number of people taking the test and the reporting schedule of the database.
  • On August 16, 2020, they started watching the number of cases per 100,000 residents per the Governor’s criteria for allowing mask mandates. On August 16, there 392 cases per 100,000 over a two-week period. Today it is down to 144.
  • The Mayor recently enacted a mask mandate through executive order. The City Council later ratified it with a vote of 8-2.
  • Columbus has seen a similar trend in comparison to other cities that have mask ordinances. It takes three to four weeks before an impact is seen.
  • The Mayor reminded everyone that masks are an important part of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 until we get a vaccine.
  • Thanked members of the community who have “masked up” as it is helping.
  • Some city facilities are still closed. Planning this month to reopen the natatorium and the ice rink as they are the two that are easiest to social distance within. The Parks and Recreation Department and the Department of Public Health are working on protocols to safely reopen the facility.
  • Seeing positivity in the numbers. Will continue to monitor. Aware of triggering events that could drive numbers up. Will make changes or restrictions necessary to keep the community safe.
Phenix City School District Update-Superintendent Randy Wilkes

Superintendent Wilkes gave the following updates:

  • Thanked United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley for all they do for Phenix City Schools.
  • Phenix City Schools began remote learning on March 18, 2020 (through May 14, 2020) after the Governor’s order on March 13, 2020.
  • They have been very successful with remote learning. Every student in the district K-12 has a chrome book.
  • Began this school year with some students virtual and some coming to school. 
  • Survey to parents resulted in 2,400 students (33% of the student population) requesting virtual learning academy.
  • There are 60 plus teachers in a central location, social distancing in cubicles teaching live via video conferencing to those 2,400 students who requested virtual learning.
  • The other two thirds of the student population who elected to come in person have been divided into two groups (Trailblazers and Innovators) by household to help with childcare concerns.
  • For the first three weeks of school, Trailblazers came on Monday and Thursday for in person instruction, Innovators came on Tuesday and Friday with everyone being remote on Wednesday. This allowed for deep cleaning of the schools every Wednesday.
  • For the next three weeks of school (including this week) they are running a similar schedule with the exception that everyone (Trailblazers and Innovators) will be coming to school on Wednesday.
  • Allowing parents who are not ready to send their Trailblazers and Innovators back with two thirds capacity in the classroom to keep students at home and remote in.
  • Teachers are teaching three groups of students two different ways. They are using the Google Classroom platform which has been very successful with a few glitches.
  • Planning to bring all Trailblazers and Innovators back to school on September 28, 2020.
  • All students and school district employees wear masks and schools continue to be deep cleaned. No visitors are allowed in schools at this time.
  • Continue to keep parents updated by communicating in writing and via video. Always letting parents know that the district will err on the side of safety.
  • The district has a COVID form that must be completed if there is a COVID exposure. The form is received and reviewed by the Superintendent, Lead Nurse and the school principal and handled case by case. 
Non-Profit:
Food
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard

Frank gave the following updates:

  • Tomorrow food distribution in Troup County; three sites in Lagrange and one in West Point.
  • Tomorrow food distribution in Meriweather County; two sites in Greenville, one in Luthersville and one in Warm Springs.
  • Muscogee County food distribution, Saturday, September 19, 2020 at the Columbus Civic Center. This distribution is held every third Saturday of the month. For Georgia residents.
  • Russell County food distribution, Saturday, September 26, 2020 at the Central Activity Center in Phenix City, Alabama. For Alabama residents.
  • The National Guard has been helping Feeding the Valley with food distributions since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so until towards the end of the year. Asked volunteers to continue to monitor the website for when it is safe for volunteers to return to help with food distributions.  
Health
St. Francis Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble

Melody gave the following updates:

  • The numbers are stabilizing, which is good news.
  • Reminder to everyone not to let their guards down and to continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by doing the right things.
  • Reminder that we are approaching the flu season.
  • Reminder that it is safe to come to the hospital and to not delay care.
  • Appreciates everyone’s support.
Housing
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey

Pat emailed the following updates:

National Alliance to End Homelessness: Eviction Moratoria, Census Updates, and New Webinar Series

Youth Services/Elder Services
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley Agency Partners Update-Jennifer St John

Jennifer gave the following updates:

  • The Muscogee County School District will be transitioning to the Choice Model beginning September 21, 2020.
  • Some of the partner agencies that have been supporting virtual learning throughout the day will shift back to their after school only programs.
  • For the latest updates, contact 211 via phone(211 or 706-405-4775) on the website(211uwcv.org), email (info@211uwcv.org) or text your zip code to 898211 for extended childcare resources.
  • Thanked partner agencies for their service to students and families during this critical time.
Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington

Betsy gave the following updates:

  • This week’s grant award is to Keep the Faith in Phenix City, Alabama.
  • Total grants awarded to date are $1,095,000.
  • Continue to watch evictions, homelessness and food insecurity.
  • 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.

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