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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 929 new coronavirus deaths and 60,590 new cases were reported in the United States on October 20. Over the past week, there have been an average of 60,159 cases per day, an increase of 36 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
- As of Wednesday morning, more than 8,316,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 220,900 have died, according to a New York Times database.
- In 33 states and territories, including Alabama, new cases are higher and staying high
- In 12 states and territories, including Georgia, new cases are lower but going up
- In 9 states and territories new cases are lower and staying low
Elevated Issue of Local Concern or Awareness-Ben Moser
- And for the elevated issue this morning from the New York Times, the lead headline: Virus surges again across the United States
- As the coronavirus races across the country, it has reached every corner of a nursing home in Kansas, infecting all 62 residents inside.
- There are so few hospital beds available in North Dakota that patients sick with the virus are being ferried by ambulance to facilities 100 miles away. And in Ohio, more people are hospitalized with the virus than at any other time during the pandemic.
- After weeks of warnings that cases were again on the rise, a third surge of coronavirus infection has firmly taken hold in the United States. The nation is averaging 59,000 new cases a day, the most since the beginning of August, and the country is on pace to record the most new daily cases of the entire pandemic in the coming days.
- But if earlier surges were defined by acute and concentrated outbreaks — in the Northeast this spring, and in the South during the summer — the virus is now simmering at a worrisome level across nearly the entire country.
- Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming each set seven-day case records on Tuesday. Even New Jersey, once a model for bringing the virus under control, has seen cases double over the past month.
- The latest wave threatens to be the worst of the pandemic yet, coming as cooler weather is forcing people indoors and as many Americans report feeling exhausted by months of restrictions. Unlike earlier waves, which were met with shutdown orders and mask mandates, the country has shown little appetite for widespread new restrictions.
- As a reminder, remain vigilant, wear a mask, practice social distancing and be aware of overcrowding enclosed and/or poorly ventilated spaces.
Economic Sector and Impact Area Updates
Columbus Consolidated Government Update-Mayor Skip Henderson
Mayor Henderson gave the following updates:
- Columbus has done a remarkable job of keeping the numbers low.
- The number of positive cases for Muscogee County is almost 6300. However, the 7-day rolling average is down to eight.
- The county has also been below the 100 per 100,000 threshold over a 14-day period for 14 days as of tomorrow, October 22.
- The city will announce that the enforcement of the mask mandate will be suspended but not removed. It will be kept in place in case of a possible surge coming with the holiday season and if the 100 per 100,000 goes back to over 100. It is at 73 as of today.
- Local hospitals have seen a very small uptick in COVID-19 cases. But nothing significant or worrisome.
- The city’s message is, whether there is a mask mandate from the government or not, citizens need to continue to do what they have been doing. Practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash hands. He hopes that people will recognize that this is what has allowed the number to stay low.
- If cases should go back up over 100, the city will resume the mask mandate enforcement.
- Reminder to the public, A Spooktacular Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat & More will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 5:00pm-8:00pm in the Columbus Civic Center parking lot as an alternate to Trick or Treat.
- The Mayor was asked to speak to the implications of the state government redirecting the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Cares Act funding for our community.
- The Mayor answered that it is not just our community that is affected but across all local government county and city.
- The city of Columbus identified Phase 2 and Phase 3 funding to allocate some of these funds to businesses that were hurting and had to make modifications to continue to function. However, the state decided last week that they were going to try to rebuild the unemployment trust fund from Phase 2 and Phase 3 funding. The city at this point does not anticipate receiving any Phase 2 or Phase 3 funding.
Muscogee County School District Update-Dr. David Lewis
Dr. Lewis gave the following updates:
- The school district has been experiencing a rollover coaster in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Prior to last week they saw an elevation, last week they saw a decline and this week they are seeing a small spike in cases.
- Fortunately, the Choice Model allows staff and students flexibility to move seamlessly between the two models when isolation or quarantine is required. The school district is continuing to monitor cases.
- Appreciates the support, cooperation and patience of the community as we move through this pandemic together.
Feeding the Valley Update-Frank Sheppard
Frank gave the following updates:
- Food distribution will take place in Chattahoochee County (Cusseta, Georgia) today.
- Monthly food distribution will take place in Russell County (Phenix City, Alabama) on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at the Central Activity Center. This distribution is for Alabama residents only.
- Food distribution will take place on next Monday, October 26, 2020 at Chase Homes Apartments, Open Door Community House and Warren Williams Homes Apartments. All are in Muscogee County (Columbus Georgia).
- Food distribution will take place on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at E.J. Knight Apartments, The Senior Center and Nicholson Terrace. All are in Muscogee County (Columbus Georgia).
- Information concerning food distributions can be found on the Feeding the Valley website and Facebook page. feedingthevalley.org
St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble
Melody gave the following updates:
- St. Francis remains cautious and vigilant in their efforts to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Their facility is now allowing a visitor/companion for each patient.
- Team members out with COVID-19 remains very low, only one or two.
- They continue to be busy serving the needs of the community.
- Appreciates everyone’s help in ensuring that there is a safe environment for team members, patients and the community.
- Thanked the Mayor and his team for helping her team with a special initiative.
Home for Good/United Way Update-Pat Frey
Pat gave the following updates:
- Considering the new information concerning the Cares Act and the Phase 2 ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) Cares funding, no sub grantee announcements will be made until clarification is received from the Department of Community Affairs.
- Policy and procedure manuals will be ready once clarification is received that that funds are still available.
- The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and The Economic Development Committee presents “Balance & Budget: Financial Planning Workshop”, October 22, 2020, 7:00pm, Zoom link: https://www.columbusmetrodst.org Columbus Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter
Grants/Projects Update-Betsy Covington
Betsy gave the following updates:
- No new grants to report this week. A few grant requests are being processed and will update next week.
- Grants awarded to date total $1,200,423; 55% for healthcare needs; 19% to assist with food insecurity; 14% has provided financial assistance; 6% has been related to housing/shelter and 4% for childcare/youth services.
- Monitoring the repercussions from the recent decision concerning the Cares Act funding no longer being available for Columbus.
- Will work to keep the Coronavirus Response funds flexible; may need to do more fundraising for the Coronavirus Response Fund.
- United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley are committed to the Coronavirus Response Fund for the long-term to help make sure that our community comes out on the other side as healthy as we can possibly make it.
Making Connections (Open Forum Updates)
Ben started by asking callers about PPE needs.
- How many callers have all the PPE they need?
- How many callers are struggling to get the PPE they need?
St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Update-Melody Trimble
Melody gave the following updates:
- They are very fortunate to have needed PPE.
- Reminded everyone to get a flu shot and to continue wearing a mask, washing hands and practice social distancing.
New Horizons Behavioral Health Update-Susan Gallagher
Susan gave the following updates:
- Reminder that there is help for people experiencing stress and anxiety:
- Georgia Crisis and Access Line 1-800-715-4225
- Emotional Support Line 1-866-399-8938
- New Horizons Behavioral Health also offers a free online QPR Gatekeeper Training (suicide awareness and prevention training).
Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama Update-Donna Morgan
Donna gave the following updates:
- Their issues with PPE have been supply chain shortages, inflated prices and COVID-19 surcharges.
River Valley Regional Commission Update-Jim Livingston
Jim gave the following updates:
- They were able to purchase mask, gloves and sanitizer for vulnerable seniors in the community and to distribute with Meals on Wheels.
- Supply chain shortages have been a challenge.
211 Update-Candace Muncy
Candace gave the following updates:
- Ask agencies to send updates to her concerning services that they will be offering during the holiday season. firstname.lastname@example.org