COVID-19 Updates and Resources

[Updated 5/26/20]

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The situation is rapidly evolving in California and across the globe. One of the most important things we can do right now is to Flatten the Curve. By doing so, we will help our healthcare systems manage any healthcare-related surges.

Governor Newsom has issued an Executive Order that directs all Californians to stay home except as necessary to maintain or access critical systems and services. The order went into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020, and follows similar actions by the County of Santa Clara and neighboring jurisdictions. The order is in place until further notice and covers the whole state of California.

As of May 8, the statewide stay home order was modified. We are now in the first phase of Stage 2. This means in addition to essential activity, curbside retail is allowed, along with the infrastructure to support it. As of May 12, offices, limited services, and outdoor museums are also permitted to open. Six key health and scientific indicators will be considered before modifying the state’s stay home order to allow additional Stage 2 activity.

My team is working closely with state and county public health agencies to share accurate information with our community and to keep vulnerable people safe from COVID-19. As developments continue, my team will update this pinned post.

Visit www.covid19.ca.gov for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in California.

***Santa Clara County’s New Order to Begin Friday May 22, 2020***

County of Santa Clara Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced amendments to the current Shelter in Place Order to allow some businesses to resume operating, with modifications based on significant progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Under the new order, retailers in the county will be allowed to open for curbside/outdoor pickup, and the supply chain for those retail establishments will also be allowed to reopen. The amended order also allows additional outdoor activities to resume, including car parades, outdoor museums, historical sites, and publicly accessible gardens. These businesses and activities will be allowed to resume operation on Friday, May 22, 2020, with social distancing protocols in place to ensure the safety of workers and customers.

You can find more information and regular updates on the Santa Clara County Public Health website and below are links to frequently-asked-questions about the Shelter-at-Home Order:

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has launched an updated version of its testing website that makes it easier than ever for residents to find their way to free testing for COVID-19. There is also a new, easy-to-remember website address at sccFreeTest.org. Once on the site, users can choose testing sites based on whether they have a primary care doctor or if they need to use one of the community testing sites. Residents can find testing sites using an interactive map as well. The site also provides information about the testing process, a list of symptoms, and informational resource numbers for residents without health insurance. All frontline workers who regularly interact with members of the public are highly encouraged to get tested once a month, including grocery, restaurant, healthcare, construction, transit, public safety, and other employees.  All residents with symptoms, and anyone without symptoms who has been exposed to someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19, should also be tested.

Testing is:

  • 100% covered by health insurance
  • Safe and confidential
  • Free

Testing does not:

  • Affect immigration status
  • Require a doctor's note
  • Require insurance

UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNOR

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on April 28 that California is building a roadmap, consisting of four stages, for modifying the statewide Stay-at-Home order while maintaining community health and resiliency. The Governor is seeking feedback on physical and environmental adaptations that can make workplaces safer and protect our communities. The California Recovery Roadmap Survey can be found at: https://covid19.ca.gov/recovery-input/.

Governor Newsom also signed an executive that will allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing rather than in person amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 4, the Governor announced the launch of a new website, covid19supplies.ca.gov to get critical medical supplies to the front lines of California’s fight against COVID-19. The website will allow individuals and companies to donate, sell or offer to manufacture 13 of the most essential medical supplies, including ventilators, N95 respirators and testing materials. 

Governor Newsom announced the ‘Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.’ campaign, which urges all Californians to check in on vulnerable neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock.

    WHAT WE CAN ALL DO

    1. If you think you might be sick:
    • Call your health care provider first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken – please DO NOT just walk in
    • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough
    1. Stop the spread of germs – wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, don’t touch your face, cover your cough or sneeze, and frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces (but don't stockpile masks or gloves)
    1. Stay connected but avoid crowds
    1. Share only verified information from health agencies and trusted sources

    WHAT CALIFORNIA IS DOING

    • Directed Californians to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus

    • Made testing free for most Californians who are medically eligible for testing

    • Ensured students continue to learn and get meals even when schools physically close

    • Deployed the California National Guard to work at food banks

    • Distributed millions of N95 masks and other protective gear to health care workers, with more to come soon

    • Secured travel trailers and hotels to house people experiencing homelessness

    STAY INFORMED

    If you have questions or need more information, do not hesitate to contact my office at (916) 319-2027 or email me.


    LOCAL RESOURCES

    Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) Advice Line

    OLSE provides a free Advice Line for businesses and workers seeking information or assistance with labor standards compliance or workplace issues. Operators can provide limited advice, information, referrals to other agencies, and schedule appointments for direct assistance. The Advice Line is staffed by non-profit partners, including lawyers who speak Spanish, English, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Mandarin, who help people fill out the unemployment forms and answer legal questions.

    You can choose to remain anonymous when calling the OLSE Advice Line. Call 1-866-870-7725 (toll free).

    Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

    The announcement the Santa Clara County Health Officer’s extension of the Shelter-in-Place order through the end of May includes a mandate for transit personnel and passengers to wear face coverings while riding beginning Monday, May 4. That means anyone boarding VTA vehicles will have to comply by donning a face covering and continue to adhere to social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible. Bus and light rail operators will also be wearing face coverings while in their vehicles:  https://www.vta.org/covid-19

    • Light Rail service is running 6 am - 6 pm Monday through Friday
    • VTA is running reduced bus service, with some routes suspended or coming less often - most service ends at 9 p.m.
    • Fares are not being collected at this time

    Schools Districts in Assembly District 27 offering meals

    All School Districts in Santa Clara County offering meals

    https://www.sccoe.org/covid-19/Documents/Overall-Meal-Distribution-Information.pdf

    Hospitals and Clinics

    Housing and Homelessness Services

    Shelters and Services

    Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits

    The Silicon Valley Community Foundation is leading an effort with other Bay Area philanthropic partners on a regional response to this public health crisis. The COVID-19 Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund will will be used to provide flexible operating support grants to nonprofit organizations that SVCF has pre-qualified to provide emergency-related services: food, shelter, health and mental health services to affected communities. Applications are now open, with a maximum request of $50,000 per applicant: https://www.svcn.org/covid19-resources.

    Home-Delivered Pet Food

    The Santa Clara County Senior Nutrition Program (SNP) and Animal Services are partnering to offer free, home-delivered pet food and related essential pet needs, like kitty litter, to SNP and Meals on Wheels participants. This program is subject to funding availability and will end on June 30.

    Interested participants can call (408) 686-3900 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The following information should be ready before calling:  name, home address, SNP gold card number, phone number, type of pet, brand of food, and special dietary needs. Download an informational flier.


    FOR OLDER ADULTS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

    211 connects the community to the latest health and human services information. When people dial 2-1-1, staff are prepared to address the needs of residents through a free, confidential service available 24/7.

    Paratransit for People with Disabilities:

    www.vta.org/go/paratransit

    San Andreas Regional Center:

    www.sanandreasregional.org/coronavirus/ or (408) 374-9960


    STATE AND FEDERAL RESOURCES

    California Health Corps

    On March 30, Governor Gavin Newsom launched a new initiative to expand California’s health care workforce and recruit health care professionals to address the COVID-19 surge. Health care professionals with an active license, public health professionals, medical retirees, medical and nursing students, or members of medical disaster response teams in California are all encouraged to join the new California Health Corps.

    Unemployment, Disability, and Workers' Compensation Insurance

    At the Governor’s direction, the Employment Development Department (EDD) will launch a new call center on Monday that will operate 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government. The Governor also directs EDD to expedite access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs.

    The EDD will also stand up a one-stop shop for individuals applying for unemployment insurance and the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program starting April 28. The PUA will provide federally funded benefits distinct from UI program for certain individuals out of work or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. This includes the self-employed, ​individuals who may be employees but who lack sufficient work history and independent contractors. Federal guidelines include gig workers and California’s gig workers will continue to be protected by our strong laws against misclassification in the administration of PUA. PUA benefits will be issued within 24-48 hours – not the traditional 21 days ​for regular UI claims.

    EDD Federal CARES Act Unemployment Assistance

    We have reviewed the federal CARES Act and are pleased to report that on Sunday, for the week ending April 11, the EDD will begin issuing the new $600 additional unemployment benefit payments funded by the federal government. Visit the Latest News for Workers for the details.

    • In addition, the EDD has launched a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page to keep you informed of eligibility requirements and the around-the-clock effort to build this new program from the CARES Act. This complex program to serve those who don’t usually qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including businesses and the self-employed, has to be developed and could rival the size of the current UI program EDD administers for unemployed workers.
    • The EDD will also keep you posted on the CARES Act provision establishing a new 13-week extension of benefits paid for by the federal government when someone exhausts their regular state UI claim between March 29, 2020 and the end of 2020. This too also requires an extensive effort to implement these new extended benefits.

    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

    As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program once operational include:

    • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020*, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
    • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 25* are eligible for the extra $600 payments.
    ​​​​* Under the CARES Act of 2020, the $600 additional benefits are available through 07/31/20. However, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance to clarify that, for most Californians, the last full week of benefits will end on 07/25/20. Similarly, the PUA program has a legislative end date of 12/31/20, but for Californians the last full week of benefits will end on 12/26/20.

    Benefits can be retroactive to weeks starting on or after February 2, 2020, depending on your last day of work due to COVID-19 and regardless of when you submitted your claim application. The effective date of your claim will begin the Sunday of the week when you last worked and became unemployed due to reasons directly related to COVID-19.

    Covered California for Small Business (CCSB) Premium Deferral Program:

    This new program will allow businesses that have not paid their April or May premiums to pay just 25 percent of their premiums for those months and defer the remaining amount across the rest of the year. CCSB is also providing a 30 day grace period for April and May premiums. Employers who would like to participate must contact the Covered California for Small Business service center at (877) 777-6782, or CCSB@covered.ca.gov, within 10 business days of being notified. Covered California will continue to monitor the pandemic and determine if further actions are needed to protect small businesses seeking to keep their employees covered. A press release is attached and can be found here.

    Paid Family Leave and Sick Leave

    If you're unable to work because you're caring for a sick or quarantined family member with Coronavirus, you can file a Paid Family Leave claim here: EDD Paid Family Leave claim.

    If you or a family member are sick, there may be paid sick leave or other paid leave that is available. Additionally, employees at worksites with 25 or more employees may also be provided up to 40 hours of leave per year for specific school-related emergencies, such as the closure of a child's school or day care by civil authorities (see Labor Code section 230.8). Whether that leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employer's paid leave, vacation or other paid time off policies. Discuss your options with your employer, and read more about Paid Sick Leave eligibility here: DIR Paid Sick Leave eligibility.

    * The Labor and Workforce Development Agency has more information about potential benefits, including informative chart displaying and explaining these benefits: LWD Coronavirus Resources.

    California Eviction Moratorium

    Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order establishing statewide moratorium on residential evictions for renters who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 related economic hardships. The moratorium went into effect on March 27 and is valid through May 31, 2020.​

    If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to pay all or part of your rent, you should:

    • Explain your financial situation to your landlord and relay how much you are able to pay
    • Save all financial documents
    • Pay as much of your rent as you can

    If your landlord is attempting to evict you for not paying rent and you took all of the above steps, contact a local legal aid provider.

    California Disaster Relief Fund and Resources for Undocumented Workers

    On April 15, the Governor announced an unprecedented $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians. This first in the nation, statewide public-private partnership will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by COVID-19. California will provide $75 million in disaster relief assistance and philanthropic partners have committed to raising an additional $50 million.

    California’s $75 million Disaster Relief Fund will support undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19 who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status. Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can apply for support beginning next month.

    The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.

    For info on fighting evictions or public benefits issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, resources are available through Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal):

    BayLegal's Legal Advice Line (LAL) is 1-800-551-5554, and operates Monday-Thursday, from 9:30-12:30, though they will stay open later if they have capacity. The LAL handles legal matters related to:

    • Housing discrimination or loss of housing, including evictions and problems related to housing subsidies (like loss of a Section 8 voucher)
    • Public benefits matters, including appeals of denials, terminations, and overpayments of various state and federal public benefits, such as SSI, CalFresh, CalWORKs, veterans benefits, and benefits for immigrant crime victims
    • Family law or immigration matters for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking
    • Questions related to public charge
    • Consumer rights, including protection from predatory lending and illegal debt collection
    • Youth justice matters for court-involved or at-risk youth, including homeless youth

    COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

    You or someone you know may be eligible for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants, a one-time disaster relief assistance program for undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of relief. Qualifying adults can receive $500 in assistance, with a maximum of $1000 per household. Applications for funding open Monday, May 18, 2020, and will remain open until the funding is spent, or until June 30, 2020. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. To apply, contact one of these three non-profits. (List non-profits in your region: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/immigration/covid-19-drai)

    Property Taxes

    California State Association of Counties and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors announced that counties will use all existing authority to cancel penalties and other charges for homeowners, small businesses, and other property owners that are unable to pay their property taxes due to circumstances caused by COVID‐19 on a case‐by case basis. However, property owners who can pay or that haven’t been directly affected by COVID‐19, including international corporations and out‐of‐state landlords, still need to pay on time to keep critical government services running.

    Relief from Financial Institutions

    The State of California is working to soften the financial impact of COVID-19 on residents who are struggling to pay their mortgage and bills. Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers have committed to providing relief for consumers and homeowners in California.

    See the list of participating financial institutions.

    Under the Governor’s proposal, Californians who are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for relief, including a 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments, after contacting their financial institution.

    On April 23, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that 21 of the 24 student loan servicers operating in the state have agreed to a 90-day forbearance on payments. The relief will have no impact on credit for eligible borrowers. The Governor also announced that he had signed an executive order denying debt collectors the ability to garnish federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act money from debtors. The retroactive order will also require reimbursements of any garnishments that took CARES act money from California residents previously. The order does not apply to people who owe child support, alimony, or victim compensation. 

    Department of Social Services

    Governor Newsom signed an executive order to expand support for vulnerable populations by allowing 60 days waivers for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers their work and be able to care for older adults, as well as individuals with disabilities.

    Childcare Services and Education

    The Governor signed an executive order that will facilitate childcare for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the California Department of Education and California Department of Social Services the flexibility to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive order can be found here.

    On April 1, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a major agreement between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement means more kids will be able to get school resources, such as quality distance instruction, and empowers teachers to create lessons within clear parameters.

    • The agreement includes a collaboration framework for school employers and employees to work together on matters of labor and management to minimize any impact to students—including direction on implementation and delivery of distance learning, special education, and meals through the end of the school year.

    On April 30, the Governor announced a new portal to help Californians working in essential sectors find safe, reliable, and accessible childcare options. Californians working in essential sectors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response need safe, reliable, and accessible child care options. MyChildCare.ca.gov provides an interactive map of qualified licensed child care providers near you. The tool is available in English and Spanish.

    Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

    An executive order was issued to empower the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to take necessary action to be able to conduct business and continue to operate while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye issued a statewide order suspending all jury trials in California's superior courts for 60 days and allowing courts to immediately adopt new rules to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her order includes the following directives:

    • All jury trials are suspended and continued for 60 days. Courts may conduct a trial at an earlier date upon finding of good cause shown or through use of remote technology when appropriate. 
    • Time periods to begin criminal and civil trials is extended for 60 days, though courts may conduct trials earlier upon finding of good cause or through remote technology when appropriate.
    • Superior courts are authorized to adopt any proposed rules or rule amendment that is intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to take effect immediately, without advance circulation for 45 days of public comment. A court adopting any such rule change must immediately distribute the new or amended rule, and no litigant’s substantive rights shall be prejudiced for failing to comply with the requirements of a new or amended rule until at least 20 days after the rule change has been distributed.

    See the full order here.

    Office of the Attorney General

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert about deceptive advertising related to novel coronavirus in California.  Attorney General Becerra reminds all Californians to be mindful of any products or services that falsely claim to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure COVID-19.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, nor is there a medicine that treats or cures coronavirus. Individuals who have been the victim of a falsely advertised product that claims to treatment, test, or cure coronavirus are encouraged to file a complaint through Attorney General Becerra’s website at http://oag.ca.gov/report.

    California Income Tax Relief

    Because of COVID-19, various tax file and pay deadlines moved to July 15, 2020. If you're a taxpayer affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, review resources and more information here: https://www.ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/covid-19/index.html.

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

    The IRS moved the national income tax filing day ahead to July 15, three months after the normal deadline for Americans to send in their returns. For more federal tax information, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

    California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

    The DMV is expanding its Virtual Field Office at virtual.dmv.ca.gov to create more digital options for transactions that previously required an in-person office visit. Available transactions now include:

    The DMV has reopened select field offices across the state on Friday, May 8, to assist customers with appointments and with transactions that require an in-person visit to a field office during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV continues to encourage customers to use online services, its expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including driver license and vehicle registration renewals.

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV announced further extensions for expiring driver license:

    • Drivers age 70 and older with a noncommercial license that expires in June or July will receive a 120-day temporary extension.
    • Drivers age 69 and younger with a noncommercial license that expires between March and July will receive a temporary extension through July 31, 2020. In most cases, these drivers are eligible for an online renewal and should try to renew their license online.
    • Driver license permits that expire in July or August are extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application, whichever is earlier.
    • All commercial licenses, endorsements and learner’s permits that expire between March and June will remain valid through June 30, 2020, to align with federal guidance. Commercial drivers also can now submit medical certificate updates for their license through the DMV’s Virtual Field Office, virtual.dmv.ca.gov.

    For more information, please visit dmv.ca.gov.

    Utility Consumer Protections During California COVID-19 Outbreak

    Consumer protection provisions have been enacted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in California. This list covers both Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs), which are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs).  Please visit your specific utility’s webpage for more specific information about protections and benefits available to you: www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid19protections.

    For payment assistance programs, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/assistanceplans.

    For information about discounts on home and cell phone service available through the California LifeLine Program, please visit www.californialifeline.com/en/login for the application and www.californialifeline.com/en/provider_search to find a provider near you.

    If you have an issue with your utility and would like to file a complaint, please contact the Consumer Affairs Branch via phone at 1-800-649-7570 or via email at consumer-affairs@cpuc.ca.gov.

    Small Businesses

    If your business has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus, you can apply for a low-interest federal disaster loan. The Governor also announce $50 million in loan guarantees for small businesses that may not be eligible for federal relief, as well as $17.8 million in new state initiatives to support California workers impacted by COVID-19. The allocation will come from Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds.

    Price-gouging is illegal in California. If you or someone you know needs to file a complaint against an individual or business, you can add your claim here. On April 3, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order expanding consumer protection against price gouging as California continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order generally prohibits sellers of any kind from increasing prices on food, consumer goods, medical or emergency supplies, and certain other items by more than 10 percent. The order also gives additional tools to the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, among others, to take action against price gougers.

    California State Parks

    In support of the state's efforts, California State Parks has taken various safety measures to avoid dangerous visitation surges and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as closing vehicle access at ALL 280 state parks, and fully closing others. High public use indoor facilities – including museums and visitor centers – are not included in this list but continue to be fully closed. To find a list of closures, please visit: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30355. This list is dynamic and will be updated regularly. 

    A full closure means there is no public access at these public outdoor spaces on a temporary basis to protect public health from the COVID-19 pandemic. All restrooms are closed, and there are no parking facilities open for visitors, recreational boats or off-highway vehicles. No form of activities is permitted (including sunbathing, walking, jogging or watersports).

    The reopening of state park units will be made with little advance notice and visitors should expect a different state park experience than they are used to. Visitors are advised to visit the webpage of their local outdoor destination before leaving home to find out if it is open, what new visitor guidelines are in effect and if parking is available.

    More information can be found online at www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve. State Park Peace Officers, in cooperation with allied law enforcement entities, will continue patrolling all state park units and enforcing all regulations.

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