Thursday | March 12, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

For questions about recovery checks, click here.

For questions about the payroll protection small business loan program, click here.

https://home.treasury.gov/cares

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

General COVID-19 Information

Experiencing Symptoms?

Call your physician for directions.

Other resources:

  • MUSC Telehealth Info: Residents who are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should call their personal doctor or healthcare provider. If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening to all South Carolinians. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home.
  • Prisma Telehealth Info: Get easy, affordable access to a Prisma Health care provider from your mobile device or computer. Visit the Prisma Health website and use promo code COVID19.
  • Medicare: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, doctors and other health care providers can use telehealth services to treat COVID-19.
  • Additional telehealth options can be accessed HERE.

 

Before going through a drive-thru testing site, you must first be seen via telehealth and receive a referral from a physician. For questions, contact SCDHEC’s Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.

Managing Anxiety/Mental Health Resources

  • Find new ways to connect with friends, family, and co-workers. Just because we are physically isolated doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated – use the technology available and get creative. Switch thoughts from “social distancing” to more of a “physical distancing.” Connection can lessen anxiety and bring you closer to center.
  • Keep your daily routine as consistent as possible. This includes the same wake-up and bedtimes. Put systems in place to help you manage your time effectively throughout the day.
  • Focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t. Some things to start with are self-care, health, wellness, and nutrition practices.
  • Be extra gentle with yourself. A little kindness and self-compassion goes a long way. Pay attention to your self-talk and have some extra tolerance for yourself.
  • Cut back on your media exposure. We all want to stay informed and connected, but the constant talk of the virus can be overwhelming and feed our fears and anxieties. Limit your information to one or two trusted sources.
  • Keep things in perspective. While it is still necessary to take the recommended precautions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Attending Physician – for most situations – the risk of becoming seriously ill is considered to be low.
  • Know that a little bit of anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. Full-on panic in times of distress is unproductive, but a small bit of fear or anxiety can actually be helpful. These emotions, even though unpleasant, can motivate us to prepare for and protect ourselves against potentially dangerous situations.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle. Take a deep breath, exercise, rest, practice meditation, drink plenty of water, monitor your alcohol consumption, and have a conversation with someone who makes you laugh.
  • Seek support if and when necessary.
  •  Additional resources:

For free and confidential support for people in distress, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741741.

 

Job Loss

Individuals who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment.

Small Business Information

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans, through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. For more information on these loans, contact the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

 

For additional resources, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration COVID-19 website.

 

Travel Advisories

Information for American Citizens who are unable to return home due to countries temporarily closing their borders:

  • U.S. Citizens should shelter in place.  
  • Purchase food and other items as possible.
  • Individuals should send an email directly to the American Embassy.  Please include Name, Date of Birth, Passport# and current location. Individuals should also indicate if they have any urgent needs. 
  • This link can be used to look up the email addresses for each of the U.S. Embassies: https://www.usembassy.gov/.  Please go to the tab for American Citizen Services to find the appropriate email address. 
  • American citizens can also call American Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444.
  • The U.S. Department of State encourages everyone to monitor the COVID-19 page on their website.  Here, you can read the latest guidance from the CDC and DHS, the Presidential Proclamations, as well as updates from each affected country.
  • American Citizens are also being asked to register with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
  • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Food Assistance

  • If you need ongoing food assistance, you may apply for SNAP benefits online, by mail or fax.  For information on how to apply online or download an application to print out, visit the DSS website.  As some county DSS offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, we suggest you call the office before visiting in person.
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Emergency Food Pantry is holding food pick-up locations Monday – Friday from 9am-1pm in Columbia and Greenville.
  • Additional food banks can be found here: https://www.foodpantries.org/st/south_carolina
  • Some grocery stores are changing their hours in response to the COVID-19. A few grocery chains are listed below:
    • Walmart stores will be following a 6am-11pm schedule in order to sanitize and restock shelves. They will be monitoring items that are most needed and will set a sale limit for certain items. Walmart also has an online ordering and pick up service.
    • Publix locations have adjusted their hours to 8am-8pm. Some locations have altered their pharmacy hours to 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays. These changes will allow the store to restock shelves and sanitize their stores properly. They are also setting purchase limits on certain items. Publix is encouraging customers to utilize their delivery service and curbside pickup option.
    • BiLo stores will be open 7am-9pm to provide time to sanitize and restock shelves. BiLo is encouraging customers to use their delivery service.
    • Dollar General has allotted their first hour of operation to be specifically for senior and those more vulnerable to illness. All locations will close at 8pm for cleaning and sanitation.
    • Aldi stores will follow a 9am-7pm schedule to allow for sanitation and restocking. Some products may be unavailable as their restocking efforts will be focused on pre-made meals, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and water.

Education

  • South Carolina public schools are closed by Executive Order of Gov. Henry McMaster beginning March 16, 2020 – March 31, 2020.
  • The Office of Health and Nutrition has been granted a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows summer feeding options to be used during school closures. We have also received a waiver for flexibility so that meals can be grab and go. These waivers will allow school communities to provide two nutritious meals to students who may not have access to them outside of the school day. If you have any questions regarding grab and go meals please email waiverfood@ed.sc.gov.
  • For more information, visit the South Carolina Department of Education website.
  • Charter Communications/Spectrum is offering free internet to students for 60 days amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Veterans Information

  • Call your VA Medical Center before going to a clinic, urgent care, or emergency room, especially if you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Ask your VA health care team about the option of care by phone or video instead of an in-person visit.
  • For additional information, visit the VA.gov website.
  • If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services

 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 

Internal Revenue Service

  • The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses, and other affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available.

 

Social Security Administration

  • All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting March 17, 2020. They are still able to provide critical services and will make certain exceptions for specific dire need situations.
  • If you need to contact your local office for a dire need situation, please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator.

 

National Park Service

 

Long-term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes

  • Gov. McMaster has declared a state of emergency and has directed DHEC to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state, with the exception of end of life situations.
  • For more information, visit the CDC website.

 

Additional State Services

  • Family Connection of SC is temporarily postponing in-person trainings, outreach events, and, and home visits until after April 3, 2020. The Family Information Center will remain open to provide support, information, and referrals for families with children that have a disability or special healthcare need.

Homeless Information

  • Transitions Homeless Center in Columbia will remain open to serve their clients. Their 260 beds are full and they serve an additional 90-95 day center guests. They are taking additional measures to protect their clients from this virus.

There are hardship programs in place to help homeowners who have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible.  As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, “you can find the number for your mortgage servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.”

FHFA has established a dedicated webpage with relevant updates and resources available here: www.fhfa.gov/coronavirus 

Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own dedicated webpages for homeowners, with online tools for determining if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help

Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

Please feel free to share this information with colleagues in your D.C. or district office(s), caseworkers, constituents, and other interested parties.

 

 

Related Issues:  COVID-19