EN ESPAÑOL

 

* The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except for essential needs. *


As we deal with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak throughout our country, I want to keep you as informed as possible. I want to assure you we are doing everything possible at the federal, state and local levels to address this and keep our communities healthy. As always, it is crucial that we continue to remain proactive and calm, and take preventive steps to keep everyone safe—especially those most vulnerable.

Resources:

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department COVID-19 information

County of San Luis Obispo Health Agency COVID-19 information

Ventura County Public Health Department COVID-19 information and hotline

California State Coronavirus response resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 information


Symptoms:

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to basic flu symptoms and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. These include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Reports of illness have ranged from mild to severe.

If you are experiencing symptoms, separate yourself from people and animals and seek help from a health care provider. If symptoms become severe, call your doctor BEFORE visiting and inform them you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Prevention:

As there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, it is important to take preventative actions to help slow the spread. Here are some preventative measures you and your family can take:

  • Wash hands often for 20-30 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

  • Practice social distancing to stop the spread and protect the most vulnerable

  • Avoid gatherings in groups of more than 10 people

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow

  • Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose and mouth

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick

  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as phone screens and doorknobs

  • Stay home from work or school if you are feeling sick

View more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 here.

Schools:

UC Santa Barbara will be continuing remote instruction through the spring quarter.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo spring quarter classes will be held online.

Santa Barbara County Education Office information here.

San Luis Obispo County Education Office information here.

Ventura County Education Office information here.

Free meals for children in Santa Barbara County
Free meals for children in SLO County
Free meals for children in Ventura County

The latest coronavirus relief bill to become law (the CARES Act) freezes interest and suspends payments for federal student loans until September 30. Be sure to confirm that your loans are federal student loans, so you know how this provision impacts you.

Travel:

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

The State Department has created a 24-hour public hotline for Americans abroad who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. For callers in the U.S. and Canada, the number is 888-407-4747. For those dialing from overseas, the number is 202-501-4444. Travelers are also strongly encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate them in an emergency.

The only way for our missions abroad to know that an American is in country is to register through STEP. Once they do so, the mission will not only know whether the citizen is present on the ground but will also be able to send that person updates in real time. This is the quickest way for Americans to receive the most up to date information where they are.

Avoiding discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits is also recommended.

While these recommendations are in place, it is important to also work together to eliminate the stigma and misinformation surrounding coronavirus that is affecting the Asian American community. The Asian American community is not at a higher risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.

Employment, Work and Caregiving:

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury or pregnancy.

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. 

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. 

More information here.

Businesses:

Small Business Administration (SBA) coronavirus disaster assistance
Small Business Administration (SBA) guidance for businesses and employers

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Emergency Loan Guide
Frequently asked questions regarding small business coronavirus disaster loans

Housing:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is halting foreclosures and evictions for single family homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration until the end of April.

California has established a statewide moratorium on evictions.

Taxes:

The federal filing and payment deadline for taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15, giving taxpayers more time to file. You should still file early if you are able, but Tax Day has been changed with no interest and no penalties.

For California state taxes, find more information on our July 15 extension here.

Veterans:

Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected).

Department of Veterans Affairs coronavirus resources for veterans
Find your closest VA facility

Congress passed legislation to protect GI Bill benefits education benefits in the wake of coronavirus. That bill is now headed to the president's desk.

Healthcare coverage:

All patients with full-service Medi-Cal or commercial insurance in California will have copays, coinsurance and deductibles waived for COVID-19 testing and screening. Learn more below.

Coronavirus FAQ for commercial insurance, Medi-Cal and Californians who are not covered
Coronavirus information for Medicare beneficiaries

Government response:

We have allocated $8.3 billion emergency funding to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19. This includes funding for vaccine development, support for health centers, telemedicine, prevention, treatment and more.

In Congress, we reached a deal with the president to ensure more support for our communities as they confront coronavirus. The House and Senate passed and the president signed a second bipartisan bill to provide free coronavirus testing for all who need it, including the uninsured; establish an emergency paid leave program; strengthen food assistance, school meals, senior nutrition and food banks; enhance unemployment aid; safeguard Medicaid; and stand up for all who are most vulnerable in our communities.

Most recently, Congress passed and the president signed the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This bill invests $200 billion in hospitals, health systems, and personal protective equipment; expands unemployment insurance and adds 13 extra weeks of benefits; puts money into the hands of the people with a direct payment; provides hundreds of billions for small business relief; supports agriculture and specialty crop growers; invests billions in Child Care Development Block Grants; establishes a Ready Reserve Corp to ensure enough trained doctors and nurses; and more.

We know coronavirus is forcing people across the nation to make drastic changes to the ways they live and work, and we are committed to supporting our communities through these difficult times.

Office operations and scheduled tours:

State and local authorities in California and Washington D.C. have ordered residents to stay at home except for essential needs. For this reason, my team has temporarily shifted to remote working operations in order to best serve our district safely. This does not change anything in terms of our constituent services—we are still here to help you with any federal issue, especially those relating to coronavirus in this challenging time.

The only difference is, to best accommodate the high call volume and needs of all constituents, our phone lines have switched to a voicemail system where you can leave a message and contact information. A member of our team is checking these messages each hour, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and we are working to get back to you as quickly as possible. We will also be checking these messages over the weekend. Please don’t forget to leave a phone number or email address in your message so that we can quickly reach you. You can also continue to reach our office through this website.

Additionally, we have been notified that U.S. Capitol and White House tours are cancelled until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to you.

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