Coronavirus Information

Dear Friend and Neighbor,
 

I am closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it progresses and remain in close contact with federal, state, and local public health officials.  This website will be continuously updated with the most recent information and resources I have. The health and safety of you and your family are my top priorities.

 

The CDC provides the latest news and frequently asked questions and answers on the coronavirus. You can find the information by clicking HERE for English, AQUÍ en Español, 中文, or 한국어. Take some time to go over this with your loved ones so you are prepared. 

 

My team and I have been working around the clock to ensure every person, small businesses, organization, student, health care center and professional gets the information and resources they need. We are here to serve you, and we will continue to do so.  

 

Below, you will find a collection of questions and answers to questions we have received and links to resources that may be useful. Should you have specific questions or need further clarification on the below, please e-mail Cisneros.Coronavirus@mail.house.gov 24/7, or call my Fullerton District Office at 714-459-4575 or my Washington, D.C., office at 202-225-4111 during normal business hours.

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RESOURCES

FAQs
 

Getting Help
 

  • What is Congress doing to respond to the crisis?

  • I lost my job because everything got shut down. What do I do?

    • Congress is working to expand unemployment benefits that provide temporary financial assistance to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, including losing their jobs due to COVID-19. 

    • In the meantime, if you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 and if you have the necessary supporting medical documentation you are encouraged to file a California Disability Insurance (DI) claim. You can learn more here and submit a claim here.

    • If you’re unable to work because your hours are reduced due to the quarantine, you were separated from your employer during the quarantine, or you are subject to a quarantine required by a medical professional or state or local health officer, you are encouraged to apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI). If you are self-employed and unable to work or have had your hours reduced, you may still be eligible for UI. You can find more here and learn how to apply here.
       

  • I keep hearing Congress is providing paid leave, but how do I access this?

    • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act creates emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of coronavirus. The Labor Department must issue guidelines by April 2nd to assist employers in calculating how much paid leave their employees should get. After that, you should be able to simply notify your employer, take the leave and get paid the amount specified by the law.

    • In California, if you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, you are encouraged to file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. Find out more here and learn how to file a claim here
       

  • What do I do if I am uninsured?

    • Covered California recently announced it would extend its special enrollment period until June 30th in an effort to provide health insurance to more people. The extension is effective immediately and will allow anyone who is eligible for healthcare coverage through Covered California — which offers subsidized Affordable Care Act plans to individuals without employer-sponsored health insurance — to sign up until the end of June.

    • Eligibility is based on federal poverty levels. Individuals making up to $17,237 qualify for MediCal, while those making over $17,327 and up to $49,960 are eligible for a subsidy on a Covered California plan.

    • You should also check with your local community health center or hospital to see if fees for testing can be waived. You can see if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal here. You can see if you’re eligible for Covered California plans here.

 

  • If someone believes they are infected with the coronavirus, who do they call?  How can I get tested? 

    • You should immediately call your healthcare provider as they have materials to take a sample. Please note that there are limited supplies of testing kits (which are conducted at public and private labs). As such, doctors have been testing patients who both present symptoms AND are at high risk. State and government officials are working hard to expand capacity, and the Governor has announced new partnerships with private labs this week to expand testing. 

    • To learn more about testing and treatment, see the California Department of Public Health Coronavirus Updates.

    • Unfortunately, there is no timeline yet for drive-thru or mass testing for the public, but know that the lack of testing supplies is one of my highest concerns. We cannot fully tackle this problem if we do not fully understand where to direct resources.

    • Please visit the CDC testing info page here to learn more about when and how to get a test. However, please call your doctor or hospital before going to a clinic, urgent care, or emergency room.

 

  • Am I still expected to pay my taxes on time?

    • The Trump Administration recently announced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will extend the April 15, 2020 federal income tax filing deadline until July 15, 2020. While the payment deadline is extended, the filing deadline remains the same as it always is—April 15. Taxpayers should still be sure to file their income tax return by this deadline. The IRS has established a special webpage that will continue to update with additional tax relief resources as they become available. This webpage also offers advice to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by COVID-19.
       

  • If I am out of work, am I still expected to pay my utility bills or make mortgage payments?

    • President Donald Trump announced that he would suspend foreclosure and evictions for single family homeowners with federally backed mortgages until the end of April.

    • Los Angeles has enacted its own moratorium on evictions related to coronavirus. 

    • Governor Newsom has issued an executive order that waives a section of the state civil code, clearing the way for more localities to ban residential and commercial evictions related to coronavirus through May 31. The order also asks banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures.

    • The Governor also instructed the California Public Utility Commission to monitor how utilities are protecting customers from power, water, cell phone and internet shutoffs. Already the state’s largest power utilities, serving more than 21 million Californians, have voluntarily done so. Comcast is providing 60 days of free basic internet service to new customers.

  • What are we doing to make sure health professionals have the supplies needed to protect themselves?  

    • My office has the contact information providers need to reach out to if they are low or out of supplies to get access to emergency supplies that the state and federal government are making available. Additionally, I worked with my colleagues in Congress to ensure the Department of Defense contributed medical supplies to his effort. There is a coordinated effort at the federal, state, and local levels, so please reach out to my office if you need specific assistance. 

    • The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that the federal government had put in a guaranteed order for 500 million N95 masks over the next 12-18 months.

    • For diagnostic tests, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has provided information to healthcare providers on where test components, such as swabs, can be substituted with alternative products. This information can be found here. For individuals who have questions about shortages, or would like to report shortages of testing supplies, FDA has established a 24-hour toll-free line: 1-888-INFO-FDA, choose option *.

    • Through an executive order, the Administration has also invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), which confers broad presidential authorities to mobilize domestic industry in service of the national defense, including emergency preparedness activities.

    • This executive order delegated this authority to HHS Secretary Azar to order production and distribution of healthcare supplies if necessary and as needed. Secretary Azar, however, has yet to order production.
       

  • What is being done to protect the homeless population?

    • This is a critical issue that we need to address to ensure public health. The state has taken emergency steps to address the unsheltered populations, such as procuring hotels and motels to keep people off the streets and sending 450 trailers to critical points to provide emergency housing. The federal government needs to do its part to provide resources to address this issue, and I will be pushing for that in the next package I already sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee urging strong funding levels for homelessness programs at HUD to ensure we support state and local efforts
       

  • Is there assistance for seniors who are advised to self-isolate and get food, supplies, and medication even though they are afraid to go outside?

    • You should do your best to self-isolate, especially if you are over 65. The state and county are working on services to deliver food to those in need.

    • Contact my office or call 2-1-1. The 211 line is consolidating all food information to ensure you are directed to a food bank or delivery service that has supplies.

      • You can find information on food banks for seniors 65 and older in Los Angeles County here.

      • LAUSD is also opening 40 Family Resource Centers to provide childcare and warm meals. The families call line is 213-443-1300

      • You can find information on food banks in Orange County here.
         

  • What help is available for small businesses?

    • The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to small business and private non-profits, up to $2 million at 3.75% APR for small businesses and 2.75% APR for private non-profits.

    • SBA has coordinated with resource partners including small business development centers (SBDCs) who can assist with the application process. The list of SBDCs available are found here

    • Once a borrower submits an application, SBA has indicated that the typical timeline for approval is 2-3 weeks and disbursement can take up to 5 days.

    • Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. 
       

  • I’m a vet, what is going on with the VA?

    • As this situation is evolving rapidly, please visit VA’s website www.va.gov/coronavirus for the most current information.

    • If you are a veteran who thinks they have COVID-19:

      • Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

    • The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19. Regional offices will remain open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services.

      • Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting www.va.gov. Veterans with claims specific or other questions may request information at 800-827-1000 or via VA’s Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) link

      • According to the VA, VBA benefits and services provided to Veterans, families, and survivors will continue to be delivered throughout the duration of COVID-19 impacts.

    • Many VA medical facilities have cancelled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Facilities have also been directed to limit the number of entrances through which visitors can enter. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.

      • Please note, as VA Long Beach Healthcare System has notified the public of its first positive COVID-19 case, all visitations are currently on hold until further notice. More information may be found at this link. 

 

Official Recommendations to Protect you and your Family
 

  • How do I keep myself and my family safe from contracting the virus? Is it necessary to wear a mask in public places?

    • There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are steps, recommended by the CDC, that you can take to keep you and your family safe and healthy:

      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

      • Stay home when you are sick.

      • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

      • Please note that CDC does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including the coronavirus. 
         

SCAM WARNING: Please be mindful of potential scams when seeking products claiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have issued warning letters to several companies selling fraudulent products that may be dangerous. You can view images of these products HERE.
 

  • There is so much misinformation out there. Where do we go for official information?

    • For information on the COVID-19 virus, symptoms, and guidance on how to protect yourself and your families, please visit the CDC website.

    • California specific information can be found courtesy of the California Department of Public Health, here.

    • LA County residents can find more information on local resources, including details on food services for children and seniors as well as support for businesses, here.
       

  • We hear people calling it the Chinese virus.  How can we increase support for the Asian American community?

    • In the recent weeks, we’ve seen a spike in anti-Asian violence and prejudice from coast to coast. Chinese restaurants are experiencing 30-80 percent drops in business, with rampant misinformation being spread on social media, as a result of some of the rhetoric from public officials. 

    • I and my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus sent a letter to our fellow Members of Congress urging them to stop this spread of xenophobia and misinformation pertaining to COVID-19.

    • In times like these, acts of kindness and empathy go a long way. We are all in this together. 

      • Speak up if you hear racist rhetoric

      • Report discrimination

      • Continue to work with communities to address public misconceptions to ensure there is a spotlight on discrimination 

    • As COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States, there has unfortunately been a lack of in-language resources available to the AAPI community. To address this concern, AAPI groups – lead by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) – have started a crowdsourcing effort to identify and share in-language AAPI resources on COVID-19 that you can access here: http://bit.ly/AANHPI-COVID19-Resources
       

Coronavirus Background
 

  • What are the symptoms of Coronavirus? 

    • According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms (which may appear within 2-14 days) include: 

      • Fever

      • Cough

      • Shortness of breath

    • Emergency Warning Signs That Require Immediate Medical Attention*

      • Difficulty breathing

      • Persistent pain and/or pressure in the chest

      • Confusion; difficulty to arouse

      • Bluish lips or face

      • [*Not an exhaustive list]
         

  • If someone has coronavirus, are they contagious before symptoms?  

    • Per the CDC, it may be possible for an individual with the coronavirus to be contagious before they show symptoms.  An individual is most contagious when they do exhibit symptoms, however.
       

  • What are the current treatments for coronavirus?

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, current available treatments are focused on addressing the symptoms.  Treatments for symptoms can include pain medication, cough syrup, drinking plenty of fluids, and rest.  Severe cases require hospitalization.

 

  • How many cases have been confirmed in our region?

  • What is the mortality rate of COVID 19? 

    • Earlier in March, the World Health Organization announced that the global mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4% (by comparison, seasonal flu is 0.1%).  That number is likely to change as more data becomes available.

 

Additional Resources
 

Governor Newsom has announced a number of state policies to help Californians respond to the crisis:

 

There are a number of state and local resources that may be helpful to you and your family as you seek information:

There are a number of resources available in other languages and I have members of my team able to assist you if English is not your first language.  See below or call my District Office at 714-459-4575.