COVID-19 Public Health & Economic Resources
Updated at 01/13/2021 at 7:34 AM PST
On December 21, 2020, the House passed the Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package, which has now been signed into law and includes $900 billion in economic and public health relief.
This deal comes eight months after the House and Senate agreed on the first COVID relief package, the CARES Act, and three months after House Democrats proposed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, the Heroes Act, which was never considered in the Senate.
As this public health and economic crisis continues, I want to ensure you have the best available information to protect and care for yourself and your loved ones as we learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers the coronavirus to be a severe public health threat. It’s vital you’re aware of the disease and the efforts necessary to prevent its spread.
For general inquiries, please contact Alameda County at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 268-2101 or call my office at (510) 763-0370.
Public Health Information:
As we work to contain the spread of COVID-19 and provide economic relief, I want to share the resources and information currently available at the federal, state, and local level.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop symptoms, call your health care provider immediately for medical advice.
- The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.
- The California Department of Public Health has frequently asked questions here.
- The Alameda County Public Health Department provides updates on the disease's spread in the East Bay.
- The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.
- Food and Drug Administration: Emergency Use Authorization
Health Care Coverage:
Regional Stay Home Order
- The Regional Stay Home Order (PDF), announced December 3, 2020, and a supplemental order, signed December 6, 2020, will go into effect at 11:59 PM the day after a region has been announced to have less than 15% ICU availability.
- They prohibit private gatherings of any size, close sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and require 100% masking (with certain exceptions as indicated within guidance for use of face coverings) and physical distancing in all others.
More information on the regional stay at home order is available here.
Staying at home and practicing social distancing during this crisis does not mean that anyone should face domestic violence, sexual assault, or abuse.
- If you feel unsafe at home, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
- To report child abuse, please call Alameda County Social Services at 1-510-259-1800.
The COVID relief package includes funding to help get the coronavirus under control, keep our communities safe, and get our economy working again. This relief package invests $69 billion in vaccines, testing, and tracing, including funding I fought for with Senator Elizabeth Warren that includes $2.8 billion for testing and vaccination in medically underserved communities.
I will be sure to provide updates as more information becomes available on the COVID-19 vaccination.
In the new COVID Relief package Democrats secured a new round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP). The maximum payment amount is $600 for individual taxpayers ($1,200 for joint filers), and $600 per child. The payment is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income above the following thresholds: $150,000 for joint filers, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for single filers. For more for information, click here.
As of December 29th, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department began delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions who received the first round of payments earlier this year under the CARES Act.
The initial direct deposit payments may begin arriving as early as December 29th and will continue into the following week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed starting Wednesday, Dec. 30.
For those who do not regularly file tax returns, such as seniors on social security and Veterans with VA benefits, the IRS has resolved a previous issue and now has this information in their database and will use it to disburse payments to these groups.
- Ways and Means Committee: Second Round of Economic Impact Payments FAQs
- IRS: Get My Payment Frequently Asked Questions page
Enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits: In the new COVID relief bill, Democrats avoided the expiration of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for millions and added a $300 per week UI enhancement for people out of work.
If you are unable to work, have lost employment, or have reduced hours due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Click herefor information about the types of unemployment insurance you can file for in California.
Paid Sick Leave:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act guarantees two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave for many American workers. The new COVID relief agreement provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.
- Department of Labor
- California Department of Labor: Guidance for Employers and Workers
- Omnibus Fact Sheet from the House Committee on Education and Labor
COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
All employees who work for employers who have 500 or more employees nationwide can receive COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave under California law.
The new Labor Code provision also extends COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to health care employees and emergency responders who were not extended paid sick leave by their employers under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, without regard to the size of their employer.
For more information, click here.
In the new COVID relief package, Democrats secured $25 billion in critically needed rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
Alameda County Eviction Moratorium Ordinance:
This emergency ordinance outlaws all evictions in Alameda County with few exceptions and allows tenants 12 months to repay rent over 12 months. It will remain in effect until 60 days after the local health emergency is lifted or 60 days after December 31, 2020, whichever is later.
- Housing Resource List (ACPHD)
- City of Alameda Rent Relief
- CA Governor’s Office: Help for renters, homeowners, and small landlords
- House Committee on Financial Services Fact Sheet
The new COVID Relief package also includes $13 billion secured by Democrats in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the hunger crisis that has left up to 17 million children food insecure.
To apply for food assistance through CalFresh, click here.
- County of Alameda COVID-19 Food Distribution & Services Map
- Alameda County Community Food Bank/CalFresh
The new relief package also includes emergency funds for school meal and child and adult care food programs, which are in dire need of relief. The bill provides as much financial assistance as needed to carry out these payments.
- School meal services in Alameda County
- Berkeley Food Network’s Food Access Resource List (PDF)
- Berkeley Unified School District Meal Program
- Oakland Unified School District Meal Program
- Albany Unified School District Meal Program
- San Leandro Unified School District Program
If you have a child in K-12 education and you want more information about school closures, distance learning, and free school lunch, please click here.
In California, many utility providers are not shutting off services due to missed payments. For more information, visit the California Public Utilities Commission website.
The Water Board also restricts the shut off of water during the COVID crisis. Report water shutoff or issues at COVID-19 Water Shut-Off Complaint Report.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP):
LIHEAP utility and heating assistance programs help low-income and other qualified households with paying their energy bills. If you apply and are eligible, you may receive cash assistance once per program year with paying PG&E utility bills. For more information, click here or call: 510-881-0300 x 245.
Democrats secured critical financial assistance for small businesses, including businesses owned by people of color and nonprofits to recover from the pandemic.
- $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants.
- $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants.
- $25 million for the Minority Business Development Centers program under the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
To file an inquiry with Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), please reach out to my Oakland office here.
The California Office of the Small Business Advocate is now accepting applications for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant from small businesses impacted by COVID-19 from December 30, 2020, to January 8, 2021. $500 million in grants are available. For more information, click here or visit CAReliefGrant.com.
- SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- House Committee on Small Business Omnibus Fact Sheet
- Resources and services for small businesses collected by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
- Tax relief and extensions from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Earned Income Tax Credit & Child Tax Credit
The new COVID Relief package includes a strengthened earned income tax credit and child tax credit, which helps ensure that families who faced unemployment or reduced wages during the pandemic are able to receive a strong tax credit based on their 2019 income, preserving these vital income supports for vulnerable families.
- $82 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), including $54 billion for K-12 in part to support HVAC maintenance and replacement to mitigate virus transmission and $21 billion for higher education.
- $10 Billion for childcare relief to keep childcare providers open and help parents get back to work.
Loan repayments will begin after Jan. 31, 2021. For more information, please visit the Department of Education website.
- California Department of Education Coronavirus Response
- California Department of Education Early Learning COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
- COVID-19 School Guidance: Alameda County School Reopening Plans
Congress provided emergency funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the resources including setting up temporary care sites, mobile treatment centers and increasing telehealth visits to allow more veterans to get care at home.
- House Committee On Veterans' Affairs COVID-19 resources
- Department of Veterans Affairs Covid-19 resources
- VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has seen a spike in reported scams, from phishing to misinformation online. Types of COVID-19 scams include phishing, malware, misinformation, and fake applications.
To help keep you and your loved ones safe, please see the following information about common COVID-19 scams from the Federal Communications Commission.
Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you're being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. (Learn more about charity scams.)