May 23rd COVID-19 Resources for Seniors Newsletter
April 24th COVID-19 Small Business & Healthcare Newsletter
April 17th COVID-19 Education & Student Loans Newsletter
April 8th COVID-19 Health Resources Newsletter
April 1st Census Newsletter
March 31st COVID-19 Direct Payments FAQ Newsletter
March 27th COVID-19 Stimulus & Updates Newsletter
March 19th COVID-19 Updates Newsletter
As the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, I know there is concern about what you can do to keep our families and communities safe. For the most up-to-date information, tips for prevention, and background on the coronavirus, click here.
As of Wednesday, April 29, Sacramento County health officials have extended their public health order until May 22nd. In addition to recommending that all residents “shelter in place” by staying home unless going to essential sites like grocery stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, or businesses that provide food, shelter and social service, starting on May 1st, they have also provided updated guidelines on several other essential activities. The new health order can be found here.
Nevertheless, unless the errand is absolutely essential, I encourage you all to follow guidance from Sacramento County to stay home to the maximum extent possible.
In the face of this outbreak, the federal government must act swiftly and decisively to protect our public health. This means a robust, coordinated, and comprehensive effort to put resources in the hands of medical providers and our local partners working to save lives. As an important first step, the House and Senate have passed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental funding bill to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. The legislation includes funding that will support greater testing, stockpiling medical supplies, and reimbursing our state and local entities on the frontlines of battling the virus. The text of legislation can be found here. A summary of that legislation can be found here.
And on early Saturday morning, March 14, 2020, the House passed additional legislation to provide economic and additional health care relief to families and health workers. The aid packageensures free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. It also provides:
- Paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
- Enhanced unemployment insurance that extends protections to furloughed workers;
- Strengthened nutrition security initiatives to ensure students, seniors, and low-income families are able to keep food on the table; and
- Increased federal funds for Medicaid to support local, state, tribal, and territorial governments and health systems to ensure everyone has the resources to combat this crisis.
On March 27th, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a robust third COVID-19 aid package that will help bolster our health care response, strengthen our economy, and establish stronger protections for workers. Some key provisions of the stimulus package include:
- For Fighting the Coronavirus: This bill makes $100 billion available to hospitals and health care providers on the front lines of fighting Covid-19 to invest in personal and protective equipment, testing supplies, increased workforce training and new construction to house patients and emergency operations. There’s an additional $150 billion for state and local governments in this agreement, to give them the resources they desperately need to pay for expenses of the emergency.
- Direct Payments to Working Americans: A cash rebate of up to $1,200 (individual) or $2,400 (married) will be made available to all U.S. residents making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number. An additional $500 will be made available per qualifying child under age 17. The advance payment of rebates is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers). Rebates will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns. Non-filers are still eligible for rebates, but may need to take additional steps to receive their rebates. Rebates do not need to be repaid.
- Unemployment Insurance (UI): Every unemployed worker receiving benefits will get an extra $600 per week for four months. We’ve also provided federal incentives for states to get money in people’s pockets sooner.
- For Small Businesses: This bill includes a $377 billion infusion for small businesses including $350 billion dedicated to loan forgiveness grants to help small businesses and non-profits maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses. The funding also provides relief from rent, mortgage and utility costs by making these expenses eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
- For Students: This bill directs more than $30 billion to emergency education funding and eliminates income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer.
Our office is closely monitoring the situation and working with local public health officials, health systems and the federal government as resources continue to be dispersed.
NOTE: If you are a small business owner and you have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, please see our web page directing you to available resources from the Small Business Administration.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
With the COVID-19 crisis, please also be aware that the tax deadline has been extended:
- The due date for 2019 federal income tax returns is extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020
- Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed
- This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax
- Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief
- Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov
COVERED CALIFORNIA & MEDI-CAL
Covered California and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) have joined together to make sure that those losing employment have a ready path to coverage — whether through Medi-Cal or the plans offered through Covered California.
Covered California has opened the health insurance exchange for a special enrollment period to any eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who meets Covered California’s eligibility requirements (which are similar to those in place during the annual open-enrollment period) can sign up for coverage through June 30.
You can find the health insurance exchange application here. Covered California is asking that if you need assistance, please call, rather than seeking in-person help.
In addition, when signing up through CoveredCA.com you may find out that you are eligible for no-cost or low-cost coverage through Medi-Cal. Eligibility for Medi-Cal and CHIP depends on monthly income (unlike Covered California, which looks at annual income). If you have recently lost your job and have no current income, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage effective immediately.
Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.You can check-in for common office visits, mental health counseling and preventive health screenings via telehealth without a copayment if you have Original Medicare.
Additionally, if your doctor determines that you should not leave home because of a medical condition or due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and you need a skilled service like an infusion or an injection, you may be considered homebound and qualify for the Medicare Home Health Benefit.
You can find a full description of how Medicare is expanding coverage here.
State of California: (for general COVID-19 updates)
California Employment Development Department: (for disability, unemployment insurance, etc.)
- 211 or
- 1-800-500-4931 or
- (916) 498-1000
Yolo County: (For West Sacramento Residents)