Coronavirus Update 03.31.2020

Dear Friend,

We are all deeply concerned about the Coronavirus health crisis. It is a fast-moving situation and I want to keep you informed about our ongoing efforts to help keep people safe and provide economic relief.


Protecting health and safety of Valley residents

I've been working constantly with state and local leaders to ensure we're able to respond effectively to this health crisis. Here are some examples: 

  • Helped get COVID-19 testing kits through customs.
  • Worked with County health officials to secure rapid testing kits for the Central Valley.
  • Reached out to USDA to get regulations waived so school districts are reimbursed for the school breakfast and lunch program while schools are shutdown.
  • We sent a letter to Gov. Newsom seeking resources for our Valley, and coordinated efforts with state and federal Valley legislators.

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Supporting Families, Workers, and Small Businesses

For the third time in the last month, Congress has come together on a bipartisan agreement to focus on solutions for this horrific health care crisis facing America.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act gives additional resources to combat this virus and provide relief to small business, workers, schools, students and farmers, among others. We will continue to find solutions to take care of American’s health and safety, and to get our economy back on track.

The bill includes crucial funding and relief:

  • For fighting the coronavirus - $150 billion for health equipment, infrastructure, and medical research to give our healthcare professionals the resources they desperately need during this emergency.  
    • $100 billion for a new program to provide grants to hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover health care related expenses resulting from the coronavirus.
    • $27 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
    • $1.3 billion for Community Health Centers for COVID testing and treatment and an increase of over $2 billion for Community Health Centers for general services in 2020.
    • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies. 
  • For our workers - $260 billion in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers, caused by the Coronavirus. 
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed workers and contractors who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
    • For our small businesses - $377 billion in grants and loan payment relief, including making rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness. 
    • Relief for small business owners, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors through the Paycheck Protection Program. 
  • For our students - $30.75 billion in emergency education funding and eliminated employer income tax on student loan repayment assistance programs, ensuring continuation of these programs.
  • For our rural communities - $100 million for the construction and equipment necessary to increase rural  broadband access and telehealth opportunities, as well as $250 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. 
  • For our farmers - $40 billion in emergency food and farm aid to support our vulnerable communities and our essential agricultural workers who feed America.
    • $450 million for food banks (Emergency Food Assistance Program). 

The CARES Act is the third bipartisan effort to respond to the Coronavirus health and economic crisis. Since the outbreak, Congress has passed, and the President has signed, 2 additional bipartisan bills, H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act and H.R.6074 - Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided:

  • Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured.  
  • Paid emergency leave, with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. 
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.  
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks. 
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs.  
  • $3.2 billion to bolster prevention, preparedness, and response efforts.
  • $950 million to support state and local health agencies.
  • Nearly $1 billion to procure medicine and supplies for Community Health Centers.
  • $3 billion for vaccine and treatment development.

Key Updates: 

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Local Governments

We are working with healthcare providers: our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and others that put their lives at risk everyday, attempting to protect us from this deadly virus. We want to make sure that they have masks, gowns, gloves, and other critical safety equipment to protect themselves and the people of our Valley. We're also working to make sure they receive enough respirators and testing kits so we can continue to work to address this health crisis. 

Our Community Health Clinics, including Camarena, Livingston, and Golden Valley health centers received over $320,000 in federal grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to bolster their response capacity. 

Track recent COVID-19 developments in: 


Safety and Social Distancing Guidlines

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We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. I encourage everyone to follow the CDC and California Department of Health recommendations on how to stay safe and healthy.

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect

Social distancing, washing our hands

Social distancing guidelines are still in effect, urging people to refrain from gathering in groups of 10 or more, and stay away from bars, restaurants, and other crowded locations. 


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The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak. I ask you if you're healthy to join me in giving blood to our local blood banks. It is a national emergency and a way we can all help out. Find out more on how to help


Resources:

If you need specific help from our district office, please submit a request and a member of our staff will contact you. 



Rest assured, I will continue to monitor this crisis as it evolves and will do everything I can to ensure the health and safety of the residents of the San Joaquin Valley, California, and the United States. 

Sincerely,

 


Jim Costa
Member of Congress

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