Last week was marked by COVID-19 death, recovery, prayer and more in Columbus and Chattahoochee Valley


Here’s a look at some of the stories that made the news last week as WRBL News 3 continued coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the nation and our region.

Death count in Muscogee County at four

A 22-year-old Columbus woman who died on Friday, April 10 became the fourth person from Muscogee County to pass away with the COVID-19 virus, according to the state.

The woman also became the youngest victim of the virus.

“I don’t believe COVID-19 was the main cause,” Coroner Buddy Bryan said. “It could be listed on the death certificate as a contributing cause but not the primary.”

She had given birth earlier in the week and was pronounced dead at her home, Bryan said. She had underlying health conditions, according to the official DPH data.

Mercy Med tests more than 1,200 Chattahoochee Valley residents

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Columbus rose by more than 100 this week in the wake of a mass testing event by Mercy Med, a non-profit medical clinic.

The drive-through event was held at between April 3-6 at Cascade Hills Church. The complete results are not in yet, but 1,243 people were tested. That included 918 Georgia residents and 319 Alabama residents, according to Mercy Med.

Bernard Moss was the first Columbus COVID-19 death

He was a father, grandfather, soldier and pastor. 

Bernard Moss died on March 29 and showed up on the official state count more than a week later. His family shares the story retired Sgt. 1st Class Moss.

Georgia Department of Public Health numbers have lag time

It took eight days for the state to report Bernard Moss’ death in the official Department of Public Health numbers. WRBL News 3 has been asking why.

Community shows support for Schley County COVID-19 victim

 The only COVID-19 death in Schley County is 61-year-old Jimmy Fulks. On Saturday April 11, a prayer motorcade was organized to show support for the family.

“It was touching,” said widow Sandra Fulks of the support. “I can’t thank the community enough. That lets me know that the community loved- they loved my husband as well as his family. He touched more hearts than I realized he did.”

Two Columbus law enforcement officers test positive

One Columbus police officer and a reserve Muscogee County Sheriffs deputy tested positive last week, according to the agencies.

Georgia extends shelter in place until end of April

On Wednesday April 8, Gov. Brian Kemp extended the Georgia shelter in place order until April 30. It was set to expire on April 13.

First St. Francis Emory COVID patient goes home

The first patient to be removed from a ventilator at the Columbus hospital was released on Thursday April 9.

Olive Marie Vidal-Kendall’s emotional departure was captured on video by the hospital staff and put on YouTube.

They had a similar celebration at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Jobs at two local hospitals impacted during crisis

East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus said the loss of revenue during the coronavirus crisis has impacted their workforces, according to WRBL News 3 reports.

St. Francis-Emory Healthcare has placed 5 percent of its workforce on temporary leave, a hospital spokesperson told News 3.

East Alabama Medical Center employees beginning with the hospital’s President and CEO, physicians, directors, and managers are taking temporary pay cuts.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Piedmont Columbus Regional read in part, “While this situation is unprecedented and fluid – both in scope and duration, at this time, we do not have plans for changes to the Piedmont workforce.”

Nursing homes vulnerable during pandemic

The Lee County coroner confirmed multiple deaths at an Opelika nursing home on April 8. The day before, the mayor of Cuthbert, Ga., confirmed an outbreak at a nursing facility in that town where more than 40 residents tested positive.

Funeral homes, burials impacted during pandemic

It has been anything but business as usual for Columbus-area funeral homes.

And two local directors discuss how they are handling it exclusively with News 3 co-anchor Phil Scoggins.

Unsanctioned basketball game in city gym leads to arrest of two Phenix City men

On April 9, Phenix City Police arrested two city employees who violated the Shelter in Place” emergency action put into place by Governor Ivey.

Police say the two employees, 26-year-old Quadarius D. Woods and 35-year-old Tjai D. Bryant, opened the C-Club gym in Phenix City and participated in an unsanctioned sporting event at a city-owned facility, which is in violation of city policy, directives, and in violation of the emergency act employed by Governor Kay Ivey.

Columbus church holds service, not in violation of law

A small Baptist church in the Columbus Historic District held its normal Sunday morning service April 5,, drawing the attention of local law enforcement during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church at the corner of Sixth Street and First Avenue was in the middle of its 11 a.m. service when Columbus Police and a Muscogee County Sheriff’s deputy showed up following a complaint.

There were between 15 and 20 people inside the sanctuary, according to a police officer who looked inside. The parishioners were social distancing, the officer said.

The Sheriff’s Deputy who went inside said that the church was not in violation of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter in place order issued three days earlier.

People got to eat during the pandemic

One farm in the Chattahoochee Valley is seeing a spike in business during the coronavirus pandemic. Chris Jackson, co-owner Jenny Jack Farm in Pine Mountain, Ga., told News 3 the spike in business has been noticeable.

“We have seen a really large increase in the interest of our farm since the coronavirus began to permeate our nation,” Jackson said. “When some sort of crisis hits, I think a lot of folks stop in with a question: ‘How are they going to eat when something like this happens?’

The lonesome horn

A Columbus State University senior has found a unique place to practice playing his trombone as the Schwob School of Music is shut down.

And Wesley Shores is creating a hauntingly beautiful sound in downtown Columbus.

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