With school closures, staff shortages across sectors, and the ongoing health impact of the pandemic, the week, and the year, is off to a stumbly start.
I’m trying to take comfort in the undeniable fact that we are all in this together. We, not just as in my immediate community or my town or even this country. We as in, the entire world. You might find this reality either deeply terrifying or kind of reassuring. I’m choosing to be reassured today. Maybe this will force humanity to reach new heights. Who knows? (“Who knows?” is starting to feel like the slogan of the year).
Anyway, let’s get started.
School closures: Atlanta Public Schools, Dekalb, Fulton, and Clayton are among the metro Atlanta counties that went virtual this week. Gwinnett, Cobb, and the City Schools of Decatur are all open - for now.
Gwinnett, home to large Hispanic and Asian communities (I just learned it’s the most diverse county in the entire Southeast), opens its schools on Thursday, and is mandating that all staff and students wear masks. Check out this 285 South Q & A with Chad Wasdin from the Gwinnett, Newton & Rockdale County Health Departments about testing and vaccinations in Gwinnett.
Need a COVID test and not sure where to go? After two weeks of hearing about (and seeing) overwhelmed testing sites, I was surprised on Tuesday afternoon to see that the Dekalb Health Center in Chamblee only had a few cars waiting in the drive through line. If you need a test and live around Chamblee, you can make an appointment here, M - F, 9am - 2pm.
Another option - especially if you or anyone you know needs language assistance (Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Nepali, Burmese) - is to contact the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS). They offer COVID testing at the CPACS Cosmos Health Center on Buford Highway, M-F, between 9am and 11am, and 1p-4pm. You must call beforehand to make an appointment: 770-446-0929.
Questions about how COVID-19 is being treated? - The Latino Community Fund - GA is hosting a Facebook Live discussion today about treatments for COVID-19, in Spanish, with Dr. Anneyls Roque, an infectious diseases physician at Emory Healthcare. Join the virtual discussion today, January 5th, at 1pmET. More details here.
Drive through food distribution in Clarkston - The city of Clarkston is joining local partners and holding a food drive at the Tahoe Village Shopping Center this weekend. The food drive is on Saturday, January 8th, from 10am to 1pmET at 4604 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. Click here for more information.
Essential Reading - "Overrepresented among the Vulnerable, Under-Protected in the Pandemic: Georgia Immigrants Deserve Better": Nationwide, 69 percent of immigrant working families work in “essential critical infrastructure.” But many of these families aren't getting the protections they need to be working on the frontlines. In Georgia, 52 percent of children from immigrant families are living below the federal poverty level. 21 percent of people who don't have health insurance in the state, are immigrants. This memo from Crystal Munoz at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute spells out just why this is so problematic and what policies they’re pushing for to change that.
And finally, some silver linings:
Despite disruptions and closures fueled by the COVID surge - there are actually some restaurants opening in 2022. Among them - the popular Filipino pop-up Kamayan Atl - owned by Mia Orino and Carlo Gan - will be opening a full restaurant Asian Square off Buford Highway this winter. And, Snackboxe Bistro, which serves both authentic Laotian and fusion dishes (the coconut rice is SO GOOD), is opening a second location in Duluth with a large outdoor dining space. I’ll keep you all posted on exact opening dates.
That’s all for now. Remember, for whatever it’s worth - we’re all in this together!
Top photo: Doctor hand holding positive Covid-19 rapid test. Credit: Getty Images.