Community Leaders Share Stories About Dealing with Pandemic

On December 17th local community leaders shared their stories about how businesses, non-profit organizations, and the health care industry have been dealing with the pandemic, discussed how the community must continue to work together, and answered questions about safe practices, the upcoming vaccine and more. The program was presented by the Chamber in collaboration with Geisinger.

Panelists included:

Each panelist presented what has changed within their business/organization from when the pandemic began to the present. While each of the participants told unique stories, the key takeaway from everyone was, “wear a mask.”

Holly Morrison discussed the disaster relief efforts it pivoted to in support of the nonprofit organizations in the area, as well as working with the Commissioners for both Columbia and Montour counties to administer grant programs for businesses and nonprofits. 

Andrew Pruden talked about the restrictions and other challenges that the restaurant industry is currently facing. He expressed his appreciation for the County Relief Block Grant that his business received earlier this year.

Diana Verbeck highlighted the importance of childcare during this critical time for families facing disruptions with school and work schedules. To ensure a safe environment for children, facilities conduct daily health screenings, have smaller groups, and all employees, as well as the children, wear a mask.  She did express concerns about the higher expenses to maintain a healthy and safe environment due to the needs for gloves and additional cleaning supplies.

In her 40 years in health care, Lissa Bryan Smith has never experienced anything like what is occurring. She discussed the change in protocols for all employees. Most that can are working remotely but clinical and frontline workers are in the hospital and applauded them as “true heroes”.

Robin Hampton talked about her day-to-day on the frontlines in the Intensive Care Unit, how units in the hospital were converted to ICU beds to make room, and the significant role frontline workers have while helping COVID patients.  

Bryce Fiamoncini discussed how the Emergency Medicine department is handling the influx of patients, how the department is relying heavily on teamwork and following proper protocols within the building. On Friday, December 18th, he was the 2nd frontline caregiver to get the vaccine at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital.

A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube.