Coalition: ‘Very positive’ signs at hospital

Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020

For the last several weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic grew across the state and region, the Selma-Dallas County Coronavirus Community Coalition has held a weekly call to update the community on various efforts taking place to combat the virus – Tuesday was no different.

During this week’s call, Vaughan Regional Medical Center (VRMC) CEO David McCormack reported that the view from the hospital was “very positive,” with only two COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital, neither of which is in the intensive care unit (ICU).

McCormack stated that most patients that have tested positive for the virus have not required hospitalization.

Further, though staff at VRMC have been treating COVID-19 patients for nearly two months, McCormack noted that none of the hospital’s staff have been infected with the disease.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Robert Stewart, Black Belt Outreach Coordinator for U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, discussed the new relief package approved by the U.S. House.

“This bill helps municipalities that are struggling [and] struggling families and it’s targeted to provide aid to essential workers,” Stewart said. “We know local governments are in desperate need of federal assistance due to lost revenues.”

While he summarized much of the bill’s pieces, including another round of direct payments and an  extension of unemployment benefits, Stewart reminded those on the call that the bill still had to survive the U.S. Senate and get the president’s approval before it becomes law.

Stewart also noted that, in response to calls from Social Security beneficiaries and those on  disability who have not yet received a stimulus payment, that Sewell’s office received notification from the Internal Revenue Serrvice (IRS) that those payments should arrive via prepaid debit card shorty.

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams celebrated a collaboration between the school system and the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation (SCNTR) for Operation Fresh Food, which will launch next week.

Williams also noted that Selma High School’s graduation ceremony, which is scheduled for June 20 at 9 a.m., will be “kind of like a drive-in movie.”

Rural Health Medical Program (RHMP) CEO Keshee Dozier-Smith reported elsewhere that drive-thru testing will begin in all of the program’s counties next week, with an eye toward testing more than 50 people each day.

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