Mayor Steven Reed forms COVID-19 Task Force

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Yesterday, Mayor Steven L. Reed convened a new task force comprising medical, health and community leaders who will help coordinate Montgomery’s continued COVID-19 response as cities across the nation and the state face a surge of Coronavirus activity that has been growing each day.

“Our goal from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to take decisive actions to slow the spread of Coronavirus in an effort to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Montgomerians,” Mayor Reed said. “My administration is committed to building on our proactive, strategic and science-based approach to dealing with the virus, one that prioritizes the health and safety of the public. Even amid the long-anticipated surge, the dedication and breadth of expertise in this task force are critical tools in our continued fight. We appreciate their dedication to doing all they can to serve and protect our city.”

Task force members include ADPH Director of Government Affairs Carolyn Bern, ADPH East Central Assistant Administrator Tim Hatch, ADPH East Central District Administrator Richard Burleson, Montgomery EMA Director Christina Thornton, Baptist Hospital President Russ Tyner, Jackson Hospital President Joe Riley, Health Services Inc. Executive Director Gilbert Darrington, pulmonologist Dr. William Saliski, surgeon Dr. Brian C. Gary, Montgomery Area Community Wellness Coalition Executive Director Ghandi S. Daniels, Community Congregational United Church of Christ Pastor Rev. Raymonda Speller and Montgomery County Commissioner/Nurse Practitioner Isaiah Sankey.

The Mayor’s COVID-19 Task Force held its first virtual meeting today. The discussion covered a range of issues, including hospital capacity, mitigation efforts to slow the spread, access to testing, care and resources for patients, and upcoming vaccination efforts.

The hospitals in Montgomery are at full ICU capacity, which is not abnormal, but the Task Force emphasized that hospital workers are exhausted and the ability to serve patients cannot be stretched any more than current efforts. The post-Thanksgiving COVID case surge is deeply disconcerting, and leaders encouraged residents to exercise an abundance of caution as the holiday season continues. Hospitals anticipate having to halt elective procedures as they confront a rapidly growing caseload.

The task force discussed the need for residents to remain diligent in protecting themselves and loved ones by continuing to wear a mask and minimize non-essential gatherings. Especially as we continue into the holiday season, residents should avoid in-person interactions as much as possible, and when gathering remain outside and masked.

While the Task Force is hopeful that the soon-to-be-released COVID-19 vaccine will begin to help communities overcome this pandemic, the members recognize there is significant hesitancy about taking the vaccine. They will work to share transparent information about the development, safety and distribution plans to build greater confidence and urge all residents to be inoculated.

More than 12,500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Montgomery County, including 117 on Wednesday. ADPH reports Montgomery County has 69,911 citizen COVID-19 overall tests processed, with a 17.9 percent positive rate of those tested. In the past two weeks, more than 1,213 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Montgomery County. The test positivity rate for Montgomery County over the past two weeks is 27 percent – or nearly one in three of all people tested.

For more information on this and other information related to Montgomery’s proactive COVID-19 response, please visit www.mgmready.com.

All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine. Copyright 2020.

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