June 03, 2020

Coronavirus Information for Hoosiers


***Click HERE for the latest information from the CDC***

On April 16, Senator Young was selected by President Donald Trump to serve on the Opening Up America Again Congressional Group. The bipartisan Congressional Group will provide counsel to the President on the re-opening of America in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Trump has released Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. View the guidelines HERE.

Reopening Indiana

On Friday, May 1, Governor Eric Holcomb released a 5-stage plan for safely reopening the economy while protecting Hoosier health and safety. This plan is subject to change, but aims to have the state back on track by July 4. To view Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan, visit backontrack.in.gov.

Coronavirus Assistance Toolkit

To help navigate the CARES Act, Senator Young's office created a comprehensive toolkit to help individuals, small businesses, health care workers, and patients understand the relief measures that are available.

Resources in the toolkit are hyperlinked below: 


Hoosiers can email COVID_19@young.senate.gov for additional assistance. 

Indiana has also established a tollfree number for Hoosiers to call with questions about the coronavirus: (877) 826-0011. If you are calling with general questions about coronavirus, please press 1; if you are a healthcare provider, please press 2.


Federal Action:

On April 21 the Senate passed additional coronavirus relief funding, including renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, hospitals, and expanded testing. The agreement also clarifies that farmers with under 500 employees are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The agreement was signed into law by President Trump on April 24. 

The relief package includes:

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  • $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance grants
  • $75 billion for hospitals
  • $25 billion for testing
  • Clarification allowing farmers with under 500 employees to seek Economic Injury Disaster Loans

On April 27, the Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting loan applications after being replenished with $310 billion. To view the latest information from the U.S. Small Business Administration click HERE.


Additional Senate action: 

PHASE 1:

On March 5, the Senate took swift, decisive action to provide Americans with a 7.7 billion dollar emergency funding package to help prepare and respond to the health effects of the virus.

PHASE 2:

On March 18, the Senate voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is now law. This package provides relief to families, workers, and businesses affected by the coronavirus, including providing free testing, food aid, and unemployment assistance.

PHASE 3: 

On March 27, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, the Senate's phase 3 coronavirus emergency relief package.

Highlights of the CARES Act include:

  • 2020 Recovery Rebate payments of $1,200 for rank-and-file Hoosiers subject to income limitations plus an additional $500 for each child under the age of 17.
  • Indiana will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion to aid its response to the pandemic. Indianapolis will be eligible for additional direct funds as a result of its significant population size.
  • $11 billion in funding to advance the manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical needs of the American people.
  • $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for the strategic national stockpile.
  • $100 billion to support hospitals and health care providers.
  • Over $30 billion is allocated to help America’s agriculture industry continue to keep food in our stores and on our tables.
  • Relaxation of rules for withdrawals from retirement accounts without penalty.
  • Payroll tax credit for employers that retain their workers.
  • $14.4 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs to respond to the increased demand for healthcare services at the VA. $2.1 billion for veterans to receive care in the community. And $606 million to upgrade VA Medical Facilities to better respond to pandemics.
  • Rolls back regulations to allow veterans to use tele-health services to reduce the risk of leaving the house and being exposed to the virus.

Senator Young’s efforts helped to secure provisions that:

  • Expand Medicare telehealth authorities to allow seniors to access a broader range of physicians and other providers from safety of their homes.
  • Expand Medicare telehealth for home dialysis patients.
  • Encourage the use of telecommunications systems for patients in home health.
  • Allow Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics to furnish telehealth services.
  • Increase access to post-acute care facilities, like long-term acute care hospitals.
  • Address the high demand for qualified nurses in underserved areas by allowing nurses at health care facilities with critical nursing shortages to benefit from the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, regardless of the facility’s tax status. This provision was modeled off of Senator Young’s Nursing Where It’s Needed (WIN) Act.
  • Increase funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant that will keep child care providers in business and support access for working families – especially those in the health care workforce.
  • Provide funding for resource partners to provide education, training, and advising to small businesses and employees on available federal assistance.
  • Waive the affiliation rules for businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries, franchises that are approved on the SBA’s Franchise Directory, and small businesses that receive financing through the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program.

Click HERE for more details. 

Information for Veterans:

My office remains available to assist veterans. For help with casework from a member of my team, click here. For the latest public health updates from the VA, please click here.

Price Gouging and Scams: 

During the coronavirus pandemic, Hoosiers should be cautious of price gouging and charity scams. The Indiana Attorney General’s office advises Hoosiers to exercise caution when making charitable donations, and report any suspected price gouging or charity scams to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General here: https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/3523.htm. Consumers who need additional information regarding the Office’s Consumer Protection Division are encouraged to call 1-800-382-5516.

Supplies:

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is looking for companies with the capability to manufacture masks and gowns for COVID-19.The following link is an assessment so DLA & other Federal agencies are able to coordinate production & distribution of supplies: docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAI…

Additional Resources:


About the Coronavirus:

In December 2019, a newly discovered respiratory virus – the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – caused an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Similar to the common flu, the virus is thought to be transmitted from person-to-person via close contact or through droplets when a person sneezes or coughs. It may also be spread through contact with infected surfaces or objects. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and a general feeling of being unwell.   

U.S. public health agencies are closely monitoring the situation and are aggressively working on a response strategy, but it is important to take daily precautions to prevent the spread of germs. 

On January 29, Senators Young and Merkley urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the international coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). To read the letter, click here

On February 11, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, COVID-19. 

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This follows a bipartisan letter Senator Young wrote calling for the elevated designation of this international outbreak.

Presidential Proclamations on Novel Coronavirus

On March 13, President Trump issued a national emergency declaration to free up more federal aid for state and local governments to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

On January 31, President Trump signed a proclamation barring entry to the United States of most foreign nationals who traveled to China within the past 14 days. The proclamation is in effect as of February 2. This action follows the declaration of a public health emergency in the United States related to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. The full text of the presidential proclamation is available on the White House website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/.

On February 29, President Trump expanded this entry ban related to the COVID-19 outbreak to include any non-U.S. resident who had traveled to Iran in the prior 14 days. View the presidential proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-coronavirus/

On March 11, President Trump announced that the United States would suspend incoming travel from Europe for the next 30 days. The United Kingdom and its citizens are exempt from the travel restrictions. The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens, green card holders or the family of U.S. citizens. The travel ban goes into effect Friday, March 13 at midnight. View the presidential proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/ 

The following guidance is provided by the U.S. Department of State:

On March 19, the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory applying to all countries. The advisory instructs Americans not to travel internationally and urges U.S. citizens abroad to return home amid the coronavirus pandemic. More information here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

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, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  • Visit our 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
     

Information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division:

March 24, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance addresses critical questions such as:

  • How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
  • How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
  • How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
  • How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?

 The initial WHD guidance is available in three-parts:

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced special Federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to the ongoing Coronavirus in Notice 2020-18 (PDF). Additional information for taxpayers can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus