Special Coronavirus Update – March 28, 2020
Special Coronavirus Update – March 28, 2020
In this week’s update on the coronavirus crisis, I wanted to talk about a major piece of relief and stimulus legislation Congress passed on Friday, March 27, provide you with some of the latest updates from federal, state, and local public health agencies, share with you the latest recommendations on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, and post the results from the poll in last week’s update.
Keeping In Touch
Just as I have since the start of this crisis, I want to assure you that I continue to work with my staff to provide you the constituent service you rely on, while also working to provide the 47th District with the federal resources we need right now and will need in the coming days.
I continue to participate in regular calls led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi with my Democratic colleagues, regular calls with the California Congressional delegation, and daily calls with the Orange County State/Federal Delegation and with Governor Newsom’s office. I am also in constant communication with our city officials, such as Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and in regular contact with our public health officials, health care providers, and emergency responders.
This week, I also participated in Governor Newsom’s teleconference welcoming the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy to the Port of Los Angeles. The Mercy will provide 1,000 hospital beds, extra doctors, nurses and other medical staff to ease the burden on area hospitals dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
I am also in routine contact with many of our local businesses. I want to say that I am extremely proud of the numerous local businesses that have stepped forward to do what they can to assist during this crisis, such as our local Virgin Orbit facility that has begun working to produce medical ventilators.
Lastly, I want you to know that my office has received thousands of calls and emails over the past several weeks, and we continue to respond to every message seeking assistance, help with a federal agency, or simply seeking information about how Congress is responding to this crisis.
Steps By Congress To Address The Outbreak
I was proud that the House on Firday, March 27, passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion relief and stimulus package to address the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States
As the coronavirus spreads throughout our country, the devastating impact of this pandemic becomes clearer each day. The bipartisan CARES Act makes an important down payment on needed economic relief for Americans and their families, especially in California. It provides critical cash assistance and benefits to people who need it. It grants crucial resources to small businesses, helps prevent layoffs, and delivers urgently needed and vital funds to hospitals, schools, and local governments.
The bill we passed yesterday is huge, by any measure. It will provide critical assistance, and I am proud of the tireless efforts by House Democrats to secure the best possible deal for working families, and proud that we worked with our Republican colleagues to reach a bipartisan agreement.
We simply can’t afford to declare victory, though. More will be needed. We’re just beginning to understand the full scope of the impacts.
This is the third relief bill Congress has passed related to the coronavirus outbreak, and while they have each been critical in helping us in this fight, we know they are just first steps. Many families, workers, small businesses, first responders, and health care professionals will need more assistance, and we are already working on additional help to address this public health threat.
The American people need and deserve a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe from the coronavirus epidemic, and to protect our economy. I will continue to work relentlessly to put families, workers, and small businesses first and protect Americans’ health, safety and economic security.
Here are just a few of the numerous initiatives in the CARES Act directly benefiting the residents of California.
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that our state of California will receive approximately $15.3 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four weeks, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Nearly $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
- More Than $100 Billion in Additional Emergency Appropriations, Including the Following:
- Transit Agencies: Provides $25 billion to transit agencies, which have all seen a drastic drop in revenues as social distancing has been implemented. This funding is to be used to protect the jobs of the employees of the transit agencies, funding their paychecks during this public health emergency. Our state of California will receive $3.75 billion under this program.
- HUD Emergency Solution Grants: Provides $2 billion for HUD Emergency Solution Grants to states that will be distributed by formula. These grants are designed to address the impact of the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Of this $2 billion, our state will receive $237 million. In addition, the bill provides an additional $2 billion for these grants that will be allocated by HUD to the most hard-pressed areas.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant: Supports childcare and early education by providing $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Our state will receive $348 million under this emergency appropriation.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Provides $900 million to help low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Our state will receive $75 million for this purpose during this public health emergency.
- Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program: Provides $850 million for this program, giving additional support to state and local law enforcement agencies, thereby allowing them, for example, to obtain the personal protective equipment and other medical items they may need during this public health emergency. Our state will receive $96 million under this appropriation.
- CDC Coronavirus State, Local and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: Provides about $750 million in CDC State, Local, and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards to help agencies cope with the public health emergency. The minimum award for our state is $42 million. In addition, states can apply for additional funds above their minimum award, based on their needs.
- Election Assistance: Provides $400 million for Election Assistance Grants for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections. Coronavirus is already resulting in the postponement of some primaries and this funding can help states make voting safer for individuals. Funding can be used, for example, to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting, and expand online registration. Our state will receive $36 million for these purposes.
Updates From Public Health Agencies
Testing in the U.S.
This Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web page is updated daily with the latest information on the number of coronavirus tests that have been conducted in the U.S., either by state public health labs or the CDC.
COVID-19 Travel Health Notices by Country
While the U.S. State Department has urged U.S. residents not to travel outside the country, this CDC web page details the latest information about travel health notices for countries around the world during the coronavirus crisis, as well a list of additional resources for travelers.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Latest Facts
The California state government web page lists the latest updates on the coronavirus crisis by the CDPH. These daily fact sheets from CDPH include the latest number of cases of coronavirus in the state, the number of deaths due to the disease, and information about testing being performed in the state.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Updates (LADPH)
The web page contains daily updates from the LADPH, including the number of cases and deaths in the county, links to daily fact sheets detailing where the cases are located, links to the latest LADPH orders, and much more information on the disease and prevention measures.
How to Donate Personal Protective Equipment To Healthcare Providers in Orange County
The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) is now excepting donations, from businesses and corporations, of personal protective equipment, such as N95 masks, disposable gloves, eye protection, medical gowns, and disinfecting wipes. The donations will be distributed by HCA to healthcare workers throughout the county. Details at the link.
Latest Update To Long Beach ‘Safer At Home’ Order
The City of Long Beach Health Officer has issued an update to the city’s ‘Safer At Home’ order. The update details citywide business and public facility closures, restrictions on public gatherings, social distancing guidance, and the reasons behind each provision of the order. Full text of order is at link.
Latest Recommendations To Slow The Spread Of Coronavirus
During this public health crisis, it important that we all take steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Below are the most recent recommendations announced by federal, state, and local public health agencies.
- Stay at home. We must all follow Gov. Newsom’s stay at home order.
- Avoid large events or gatherings. If you must leave your home, Los Angeles and Orange counties have barred all non-essential public gatherings or events of any size. If you are a person who has underlying health conditions, is elderly, or is otherwise at risk of serious complications, public health agencies agree that you should avoid any type of gatherings altogether.
- Practice social distancing. That means limiting the time you spend in public and keeping a 6-foot distance between yourself and other people when you are in public.
- Avoid non-essential travel, and do not travel to areas where there are outbreaks of coronavirus. The U.S. State Department is urging all Americans to avoid travel outside of the United States.
- Abstain from all cruise ship travel, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Continue to wash your hands frequently and stay home.
- If you are self-quarantined, make sure you connect with the Department of Public Health so that you have all the necessary follow up and supplies.
- Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or are pregnant should contact their providers when they are sick.
- Call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.