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Debbie's Blog

Coronavirus resources and information

Washington, March 20, 2020
 Websites and hotlines:

State of Michigan coronavirus website: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus  

State of Michigan coronavirus hotline: 1-888-535-6136, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week

Centers for Disease control website: https://www.coronavirus.gov

Wayne County Health department website: Visit the website

Washtenhaw County Health Department website: www.Washtenaw.org/3095/COVID-19

If you think you might be sick:

STAY HOME except to get medical care

SEPARATE yourself from others, including family

CALL YOUR DOCTOR before seeking care

PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE by washing hands frequently, covering your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing

SEEK MEDICAL CARE if your symptoms worsen, such as difficulty breathing

If you aren’t sick:

STAY HOME as much as possible, and avoid crowds or close contact with others when you have to go out

WASH HANDS often and thoroughly

AVOID CONTACT such as handshakes and avoid sharing household items with others

DISINFECT REGULARLY the surfaces and objects you touch often

Tests:

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

Call your doctor:  
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath

Paying your taxes:

The IRS announced that deadline to file your taxes has been extended to July 15. Please share this important update with your family, friends, and colleagues.

The IRS recently went live with a website that provides tips for taxpayers and tax pros. You can find that site here

The IRS also recently pushed FAQs regarding this year’s tax filing deadline extension. You can find that site here

Social Security:

As you likely know, all SSA field offices are currently closed and as a result Americans should expect service delays. You can still reach the SSA by phone, however, so I’m including a link here to identify your local field office. 

The Social Security Administration also recently published a website providing Americans with information related to their services during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find that site here

Essential Business and Employees:

Many have reached out to me with questions about what’s considering an essential business, what can stay open, and what are my rights as a critical infrastructure employee. For example, a carwash is a non-essential business, but a pharmacy is essential. The Governor’s office and Attorney General’s Office put together a guidance that all businesses must follow, a resource on the rights for critical infrastructure employees, and FAQs that’s useful. Following this guidance will flatten the curve and help people.

Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave:


This law also creates an emergency paid leave program to directly respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This leave is available to employees who are adhering to quarantine requirements or medical advice, obtaining a medical diagnosis, and caring for an individual who is sick or in quarantine or for a child whose school or day care has closed due to coronavirus. During this time, workers will be compensated at two-thirds of their normal compensation (after the first two weeks). Employers will receive a tax credit to offset 100% of the costs associated with providing this paid family leave, up to $200 per day. This program will expire at the end of the year. For more information about paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, visit the IRS webpage.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave:


Under this new law, workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave for issues related to coronavirus, including adhering to quarantine requirements or medical advice, obtaining a medical diagnosis, and caring for an individual who is sick or in quarantine or for a child whose school or day care has closed due to coronavirus. During this time, workers are required to be paid at least their normal compensation if they themselves are sick or two-thirds of their compensation if they are providing care to another individual or child. Employers will receive a tax credit to offset 100% of the costs associated with providing this paid sick leave, up to $511 per day if the employee themselves are sick and up to $200 per day if the employee is caring for someone else.

For workers:

If you are sick, STAY HOME. You can help slow the spread of the virus.

The Department of Labor has released guidance of the new resources made available to help employers and employers impacted by the coronavirus. Please find them below. 

Employee Paid Leave Rights 
Employer Expanded Family and Medical Leave Requirements
Frequently asked questions and answers

To apply for unemployment benefits: See the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency

For Veterans:

ANN ARBOR VA: For Veterans in these affected areas who have questions about routine medical care, please contact 734-845-5290 press 2.  For those needing pharmacy refills, please call 866-316-9350 Ext. 1.  For those needing to speak to a medical provider, please call 734-769-7100.  

DETROIT - JOHN DINGELL VA: Veterans, if you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call us at 313-576-1500 before you visit your local medical center or clinic to get answers on medical questions/concerns or prescription inquiries.

For small businesses and employers:

The federal government has declared the state of Michigan as an economic disaster. This sounds scary, but this designation offers low-interest loans to small businesses. If you or someone you know runs a small business, please share this update with them. More information here.

The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce are hosting Webinars on best practices to help support your business during this unprecedented time. Find some webinars below.

March 27th 2:00 PM- COVID-19 Open Forum with SBDC Register Here   

March 30th 2:00 PM- COVID-19: MEDC Resources Register Here

For travelers:

Public health experts recommend that Americans avoid any unnecessary travel during the crisis. The CDC has detailed recommendations on international travel and travel inside the United States. The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.

For consumers:

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on March 15 to protect consumers against price gouging during the crisis. You can report potential price-gouging to the Michigan Attorney General online or by calling 877-765-8388.

Food Pantries and Kitchens:

Food Service Program Interactive Map

Food Banks and Kitchens in Michigan's 12th Congressional District  

For constituents and visitors:

Congresswoman Dingell’s offices in Washington, Dearborn and Ypsilanti are on enhanced telework policies to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, but they are still working full time to serve you.

Because of coronavirus, tours of the U.S. Capitol have been halted and access to some areas of the Capitol complex is restricted.
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