Fayetteville and Cumberland County Community Development Departments are responding to the economic impacts being experienced by small businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic. Funding has been made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Development Block Grant Program. Separate projects are being administered by Fayetteville and Cumberland County Community Development Departments. Financial assistance is available from county government to small for-profit businesses with up to 10 employees at the time of application. Up to $10,000 in grant funding can be provided to for-profit businesses operating outside the city of Fayetteville in Cumberland County. Fayetteville City Council approved funding for bridge loans to help small business operations while they await approval of federal loans. The program is funded for $260,000, providing individual businesses up to $5,000. The goals of the bridge loans are to provide immediate relief so small businesses in the city of Fayetteville can stay open and limit job losses until they qualify for longer-term disaster funding from the SBA or other funding sources.

Keep the water running

Stay-at-home orders have changed the way our community’s people shop, eat, do business and go to school. When buildings are vacant or operate at significantly reduced capacity for an extended time, the water is left sitting in the pipes. Disease-causing microorganisms can grow, and corrosion control can be impacted. To remove stale and potentially unhealthy water in buildings, the Fayetteville Public Works Commission suggests preparations be taken to reopen properties when the time comes. The key is to flush water systems and devices. For larger buildings, a single flush isn’t enough to re-establish good water quality. Flushing should be a part of the cleaning and routine maintenance that will have to be completed before reopening.

PWC recommends performing a final flush 24 to 48 hours before a building officially reopens. Consider the following steps when flushing your facilities: Flush all faucets (remove faucet aerators if possible) for 10 to 30 minutes, open all outlets at once to flush the service line, and then open them again, individually, beginning near where the water enters the building. Flush cold water first, then flush hot water until it reaches its maximum temperature. Follow manufacturer recommendations to flush water fountains, hot-water tanks, hot-water recirculating loops, ice makers, dishwashers, humidifiers and cooling towers.

Veterans Affairs and hydroxychloroquine

Facing growing criticism, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it will not stop use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19, but that fewer of its patients are now taking it. In responses provided to Congress and obtained by The Associated Press, the VA said it never “encouraged or discouraged” its government-run hospitals to use hydroxychloroquine on patients. Still, it acknowledged that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie had wrongly asserted publicly without evidence that the drug had been shown to benefit younger veterans. The VA also agreed more study was needed on the drug and suggested its use was now limited to extenuating circumstances. The Veterans Affairs Department declined to say how many patients had been treated with hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus since January. Still, a recent analysis of VA hospital data showed that hundreds of veterans had taken it by early April. “Any drug used to treat patients with COVID-19, especially veterans living with debilitating preexisting conditions, must be proven safe and effective before it’s administered,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mt., said. “Given recent studies from both VA and other hospitals, hydroxychloroquine seems to fall short of those requirements.”

COVID-19 treatment medication available locally

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center will receive an allocation of remdesivir from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to aid in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The first patients received remdesivir doses last week. It’s an investigational antiviral medication that has been evaluated in clinical trials. Based on preliminary results, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization to permit the use of remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized adults and children with severe infection. Gilead Sciences, Inc. is donating 607,000 vials of remdesivir over the next few months for use across the country. Cape Fear Valley’s allocation is based on the medical center’s percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Hospitals receiving remdesivir must assess and document that patients meet specific criteria. “There are many requirements on the hospital in order to receive this therapy and our pharmacy team, providers and nurses are all excited to meet this challenge so that we can offer another life-saving treatment for COVID patients from Cumberland County and the region,” said Christopher Tart, vice president of professional services at Cape Fear Valley Health.

Cumberland County School Superintendent honored

The North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association and the North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development have announced the selection of Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. as the recipient of the Dr. Samuel Houston Leadership Award. This award is presented to a graduate of the NCSSA Next Generation Superintendent Development Program. The program covers the essential leadership competencies of a school superintendent: visioning and goal setting, superintendent/board relationships, leading for improved teaching and learning, human resource leadership and systems leadership.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Samuel Houston, Jr., who is president and chief executive officer of the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center. “Dr. Connelly exemplifies the traits that have guided Dr. Sam Houston’s career in educational leadership,” said NCSSA Executive Director Jack Hoke.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the Dr. Sam Houston Leadership Award,” said Dr. Connelly.

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