The staff of The Sumter (South Carolina) Item is doing daily Zoom calls with community leaders to keep the Sumter community informed — in real time — about the coronavirus crisis locally. Members of the community are invited to register to attend the live virtual shows and also have access to recordings of the show afterwards on the paper's Facebook page.
The first episode of Sumter's Virtual COVID-19 Response featured Dr. Clay Lowder who shared what he and his team at Colonial Healthcare are doing to curb the spread of the virus. That episode had more than 8,000 views, according to Publisher Vince Johnson.
"We're using this forum," Johnson said during one of the episodes, "to talk with community leaders about what they're doing during this coronavirus crisis to get the information out just as fast as we possibly can. A lot of things are happening in real time and we're trying to get that information to our readers and to our subscribers."
Sumter School District Superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox and Mayor Joe McElveen also took part in Zoom calls with the paper and community this week. Members of the public are invited by The Sumter Item to submit questions for these calls.
Sumter’s Virtual COVID-19 Response is sponsored by Bank of Clarendon.
In addition, The Sumter Item has centralized all of its coronavirus coverage on a separate homepage, with the local resources and news readers need to know, including a list of local restaurants offering to-go services, a list of websites and accounts for home-schooling parents to follow, closures and changes that are updated daily and local coverage of how this pandemic is affecting the local community. All of the paper's coronavirus coverage on this page is free.