Congressman Walden COVID-19 update 4/29

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.

Oregon Sees Low COVID-19 Rates

Oregon has some of the lowest COVID-19 rates across the country.  Oregon Health Authority is  working to expand pharmacy based testing. The current case positivity rate is 2%. 

SBA Provides more PPP Loans:

Starting this week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) began processing more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. This comes after President Trump signed into law more funding for the PPP.

As of yesterday afternoon, SBA announced that they had processed over 475,000 loans for a total of over $52 billion from more than 5,100 lenders. This total is in addition to the first tranche of PPP loans, where over $340 billion went out to over 1.6 million small businesses. 

The average PPP loan is for $206,000 and nearly 75% of all loans have been for $150,000 or less. Yesterday, Secretary Mnuchin said that he expects the PPP to impact over 60 million workers, which is half the private workforce, and said that one million loans that have gone out so far are for companies with under 10 people. 

Learn more here.

Funding for Firefighters:

FEMA has announced that fire service organizations nationwide with people on the front lines of this pandemic will soon be able to apply for additional funding to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE). This funding comes from the $100 million FEMA was awarded in the CARES Act to help ensure first responders have enough PPE.

FEMA will begin accepting applications for the grant funding on Tuesday, April 28. The deadline for applications is May 15. Learn more here.

More Funding for Health Care Providers & Hospitals

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded over $40 billion to health care providers and hospitals – including $103,577,091 for providers in Oregon. The funding comes as a result of HHS distributing over $40 billion of the $100 billion that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act designated for provider relief. In addition to this funding HHS has already distributed $30 billion nationwide, including $291 million to Oregon. Read more here.

How to Get Your Economic Impact Payment

Over the next several weeks, most Americans will see their payment of $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per couple, and $500 per child arrive directly to their bank account via direct deposit thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

The IRS announced a change for veterans who receive disability compensation, a pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs  – these  veterans DO NOT need to do anything to receive their payment.

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

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

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.