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 National Guard:
The Oregon National Guard has 187 total people working under Title 32 orders, which allows the Governor to utilize National Guard troops but the federal government covers the cost. These guardsmen’s primary duty remains getting PPE out to the various counties.
This Friday, and it’s expected to happen for all Fridays in May, the Oregon Air National Guard will fly multiple F-15 Eagles over hospitals. Both the 173 and 142 Fighter Wings will participate in these fly overs. The purpose is to show support for healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers. The flyover has been coordinated as part of Operation: American Resolve. Learn more here.
Provider Relief Funding for Oregon
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released information about providers who have received and attested to funding from the general distribution allocation of the Provider Relief Fund as of May 4.
The 2nd district received $89,336,084 from the first $30 billion allocation from the CARES Act for hospitals and health care providers. Oregon has received over $394 million from the first $50 billion allocation from the CARES Act for hospitals and health care providers. This includes money allocated to hospitals and health care providers who had high Medicaid and Medicare Advantage populations and as a result received minimal funding from the first allocation of $30 billion.
HHS will continue to update this database on a rolling basis, More here.
Walden Calls on the Governor to Help Local Governments with COVID-related Expenses
This week, Congressman Greg Walden called on Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Legislative Leaders to share a portion of the funds Congress sent to states with local governments to help them deal with unexpected COVID-19-related costs.
In a letter to the Governor, Walden made it clear that Congress fully intended for a portion of the $1.6 billion sent to the state of Oregon be shared with local governments to help them cope with unexpected costs related to the coronavirus.
Walden has worked with the U.S. Department of Treasury to help get answers to questions and guidance for those seeking appropriate relief. In the letter, Walden noted that the further guidance the Department of Treasury issued last night makes it clear that COVID-related costs borne by local government are eligible for assistance from the state. You can find that guidance here.
Read Walden’s letter here.
Good News for Farmers and Ranchers:
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that agricultural businesses are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. SBA’s portal has reopened for farmers, ranchers, and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More info here.
More PPE for Oregon:
More Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is headed to Oregon as a result of the Trump Administration’s Project Airbridge, which is run by FEMA.
The project will 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 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.
Below is what FEMA sent to Oregon:
- Coveralls – 3,630
- Gloves – 96,724
- Surgical Gowns – 138,898
- Surgical Masks – 319,101
- Ventilators – 140
- Face Shields – 130,643
- N95 Respirators – 357,920
An Update on SBA PPP Loans:
Last 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.
The SBA said that by yesterday the PPP had approved nearly 2.5 million loans in the second round of funding for more than $185 billion. This is in addition to the 1.6 million loans and $342 billion approved in round one.
In the last 24 hours, the program had approved 54,003 loans and the average size of those loans were $35,010.77. For the entire second round of PPP funding, the average loan size is $74,304.
Learn more here.
An Update on Testing:
More than 8.1 million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the United States.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) broadened its priority for testing, adding symptomatic first responders and people in long term-care facilities, prisons and shelters to the top tier. The priority list for the first time includes people without symptoms at a clinician or public-health authority’s discretion.
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 called on Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Legislative Leaders to share a portion of the funds Congress sent to states with local governments to help them deal with unexpected COVID-19-related costs. Read more here.
Greg Walden released a statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced they are awarding an additional $172,109,975 to 165 health care facilities in Oregon. This funding is in addition to the over $300 million Oregon has already received from HHS. Read more here.
Resources to Know and Share: Here are some helpful resources and information on COVID-19.
How to Get Your Individual Payments:
The IRS launched the “Get My Payment” web portal with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposition information. Click here to check on the status of your payment.
Veterans who receive disability compensation, a pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs 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.
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 billions in funding 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:
- Coronavirus.gov Small Business Resources Page
- Treasury Department Overview On The Paycheck Protection Program
- SBA.gov/Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources Page
INFORMATION FOR AMERICANS ABROAD:
The State Department has repatriated over 76,500 Americans from more than 130 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:
- Visit RedCrossBlood.org. Click on “Schedule an Appointment” under the “Donate Blood” tab. From there you can enter your zip code to find a blood drive near you.
- Red Cross Blood Donor App
- Call 1-800-RED-CROSS
- Use Amazon Alexa Blood Scheduling Skill
Fast Facts: Here are some helpful stats on COVID-19 as of 5/7/20
Cases of COVID-19:
U.S. current case count: There are currently at least 1,254,740 cases and 75,543 deaths in the United States, as reported by Johns Hopkins and other media sources.
Oregon current case count: 2,989
Hood River: 11
Testing in Oregon:
Total (since 1/24): 70,426