COVID-19 Update from Congressman Greg Walden

The latest on the coronavirus: The situation is rapidly changing, but I wanted to share the latest information and news on the outbreak and relief efforts.

Funding for Oregon Education:

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced yesterday that nearly $3 billion will be made available to governors to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the coronavirus. Oregon will receive over $32 million in a discretionary grant to support the state’s K-12 and higher ed needs during COVID-19. The money comes as a result of the CARES Act.

Help is On The Way:

Secretary Mnuchin announced that nearly 80 million Americans will have received an Economic Impact Payment through direct deposit by the end of today.

Those on Social Security who do not file taxes DO NOT need to file anything to receive this new payment.

Those who receive disability compensation, a pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs WILL need to submit information to the IRS to receive this payment. You can provide this information through the IRS’s website here.

Low income individuals with a gross income between $12,200 for individuals and $24,400 for married couples that do not file taxes, WILL need to submit information to the IRS to receive this payment. You can provide this information through the IRS’s website here.

For additional information about the economic impact payment you can visit the IRS website here.

FEMA Project Airbridge:

FEMA has launched Project Airbridge to help efficiently maintain the country’s existing medical supply chain infrastructure. The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes for U.S. medical supply distributors to get commercially sourced and procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies into the country for their customers. FEMA is covering the cost to fly the supplies into the U.S. from overseas factories, which will cut the amount of time it takes to ship supplies from weeks to days.

Expanding Connectivity:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun accepting applications for the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The funds will help healthcare providers purchase the connectivity and devices they need to care for patients remotely in response to COVID-19.  More here.

NIH Begins New Study:

NIH has begun recruiting for a new study to quantify undetected cases of COVID-19. In this “serosurvey,” researchers will collect and analyze blood samples from as many as 10,000 volunteers to provide critical data for epidemiological models, helping to illuminate the extent to which the virus has spread undetected in the United States.  People interested in joining this study should contact clinicalstudiesunit@nih.gov.  

Clinical trial information is here. 

More Funding for Oregon:

The first $30 billion in funding for hospitals and health care providers that was included in the CARES Act was delivered. This resulted in $291 million for Oregon. As part of the CARES Act, there is still $70 billion to be disbursed to hospitals and health care providers in order to combat the effects of COVID-19. Read more here. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded over $23 million to Community Health Centers in Oregon, including 11 in the Second District. Read more  here. 

Application Now Open for Paycheck Protection Program:

Businesses can now apply through their local lender for the Paycheck Protection Loan Program that that will provide businesses with up to eight weeks of funding to keep employees on the payroll. The Treasury Department released useful information for lenders and borrowers, and a copy of the application here.

Nationwide Stats as of April 14, 2020: 

  • More than 1,100,000 loans have been approved for small businesses
  • Almost $270 billion in loans have been processed 
  • Nearly 4,800 lenders have participated

Oregon Stats as of April 13, 2020:

  • Oregon has had 9,508 approved loans
  • Received  $2,427,776,445 in approved dollars

Watch out for COVID-19 Scams:

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are reporting a spike in coronavirus related scams including home testing kits, fake cures, and other malicious attempts to prey on COVID-19 fears. The Treasury Department will NOT ask you to pay anything for the payment most Americans will receive as a result of the CARES Act and will not contact you for your bank account information. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the government asking for this type of information, please report it to www.ftc.gov/complaint. You can learn more about how to protect yourself from these types of scams here.

What’s Walden Doing: An update on my latest actions. 

Greg Walden Encourages Oregon Health Care Providers to Apply for New Telehealth Program

Greg Walden released a statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program. On Monday, the FCC opened the program’s application. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $200 million for the program, which will help connect providers and patients.  Read more here.

Greg Walden: ‘Help is on the way’

Greg Walden released information on the individual payments that most Americans will receive as soon as the middle of April thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read more here.

Oregon Delegation Announces $291 Million in Funding to Boost Oregon Health Care Providers Coronavirus Response Efforts

Reps. Greg Walden, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that 3,454 hospitals and health care providers in Oregon will receive a total of $291 million in funding to enhance their coronavirus response efforts.Read more here.

Greg Walden Releases Statement on Senate failing to pass needed funding to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 

Greg Walden released a statement in reaction to the Senate failing to pass needed funding to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) playing partisan games, delaying much-needed aid to Americans during a global pandemic.Read more here.

Resources to Know and Share: Here are some helpful resources and information on COVID-19.

Helpful Resources on PPE:

CDC updated the PPE Burn Rate Calculator, a spreadsheet-based model that will help health care facilities plan and optimize the use of PPE for response to COVID-19.  More here.

You can now see PPE shipments to Oregon counties here.

ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

  • For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
  • The application for borrowers can be found HERE

The Small Business Administration has also launched a hotline for lenders who need assistance accessing SBA’s E-Tran system. That number is: 1-833-572-0502. More answers from the SBA can be found here.

Other resources on the Paycheck Protection Program:

INFORMATION FOR AMERICANS ABROAD:

The State Department has repatriated over 50,000 Americans from more than 90 countries.

The State Department is making efforts to bring home Americans, including through commercial flights, chartered flights, and military transport.  Any American abroad who needs assistance should contact their local U.S. embassy and register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), available here or by calling 1-888-407-4747.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

  • Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.
  • Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.
  • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.
  • Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.

ASSISTANCE FROM HHS AND FEMA:

HHS and FEMA have fielded many requests to assist or partner with the Federal Government in response to the COVID pandemic.

  • Organizations or individuals seeking to contract with the federal government to import or manufacture medical products to aid the U.S. response submit information to FEMA through the a Request for Proposal, available here.
  • Organizations or individuals that wish to donate medical supplies or equipment can submit that information here.
  • Other inquiries from organizations or individuals, including individuals who want to volunteer or organizations that want to produce a product related to the COVID response, among other inquiries, can be referred to https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

How to schedule a blood donation appointment:

Fast Facts: Here are some helpful stats on COVID-19 as of 4/14/20

Cases of COVID-19: (as of 4/14/20)

U.S.  current case count – There are currently at least 608,240 cases and 25,992 deaths in the United States, as reported by Johns Hopkins and other media sources. 


Oregon current case count: 1,633

Benton: 24

Clackamas: 135

Clatsop: 6

Columbia: 11

Coos: 1

Crook: 1

Curry: 3

Deschutes: 55

Douglas: 19

Grant: 1

Hood River: 4

Jackson: 47

Jefferson: 1

Josephine: 19

Klamath: 26

Lane: 42

Lincoln: 4

Linn: 52

Malheur: 4

Marion: 289

Morrow: 5

Multnomah: 420

Polk: 30

Sherman: 1

Tillamook: 5

Umatilla: 16

Union: 4

Wallowa: 1

Wasco: 10

Washington: 365

Yamhill: 32
Testing – in Oregon: As of 4/14/20Positive: 1,633

Negative: 30,730

Total (since 1/24): 32,363