The Latest on COVID-19
While it has been a time of great uncertainty, this pandemic has proven the strength of our country, the power of our communities and the compassion of our people. Here in West Virginia, eligible small businesses may find relief in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Our small businesses are an important part of the foundation of our great state, and more resources for these business are listed below.
West Virginia has also answered the worldwide call for more hand sanitizer! Dow Chemical, a critical company producing medical, health and hygiene products in the COVID-19 fight, announced the opening of a manufacturing site in West Virginia to produce hand sanitizer to combat the pandemic around the world. Last week, they donated 110 gallons of hand sanitizer to the South Charleston Fire Department.
Volunteer efforts in West Virginia are helping our most vulnerable communities. Masks4WV, as one example, is helping gather needed face masks from communities across the state to help those on the frontlines of this fight.
Please contact our office with any questions or concerns you might have, and we will continue to help you and your family stay equipped with the latest facts and resources. We are here for you, and we salute our first responders and healthcare professionals as the spread of this virus intensifies.
WRNR Radio Interview on COVID-19
It was great to be on Talk Radio WRNR FM 106.5 / AM 740 last week for Eastern Panhandle Talk with Rob Mario and David Welch. On the program, we discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump and what this means for our country and our great state of West Virginia.
As I said during the program, I have faith in the American people. Our private industries and our medical community are working furiously on this. There is a lot of reason to be hopeful. Listen to my segment, when begins at 1:30:37 here.
West Virginia – We are in this together
Gov. Jim Justice’s Stay at Home Order
West Virginia 2020 Primary Elections
West Virginia COVID-19 Testing Centers
The Office of Health Services Research, in the WVU School of Public Health, has launched an online map that shows all COVID-19 testing sites in West Virginia. This image reflects a moment-in-time screen shot of the map on April 1, 2020. Click HERE for all testing center locations and updates.
Grants to address COVID-19
These grants are being dispersed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address the spread of the coronavirus in West Virginia. Allotted funds include Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). Last week, HUD received a $12.4 billion allocation of funds from the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and these grants are among the first to be awarded.
This first allocation of HUD grants will help equip our communities with additional resources needed to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Read more information about the grants HERE.
30 Days to Slow the Spread Guidelines
A Word from Dr. Anthony Fauci
“People who are sick should stay home. You don’t go to an emergency room. You don’t go to a clinic. You get on the phone, and you ask for advice and instructions from your physician. Then you use those instructions to determine what you’re going to do. But the first reflex should not be ‘I feel sick I’m going to go to an emergency room. I feel sick I’m going to just go to a doctor’s office.’ We need to physically separate. Ultimately, you may need, obviously, to see a physician or go to a hospital. The first reflex should be to make a call to your physician.”
Paycheck Protection Program
Click here for a compilation of COVID-19 relief options and additional resources.
Applications for the small business Paycheck Protection Program opened on Friday. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at www.sba.gov.
West Virginia small businesses and sole proprietorships should apply for the Paycheck Protection Program as soon as possible, as there is a funding cap.
Starting April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
Here is an overview of the Paycheck Protection Program, outlined by the Treasury Department. All of the latest small business resources are compiled and updated here – sba.gov/coronavirus.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office and the West Virginia Small Business Development Center will host trainings on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance, and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Due to the high volume of COVID-19 loan relief questions being received, the SBA’s WV District Office recommends that you attend any of the below sessions to learn more before calling.
- Friday, April 3, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Monday, April 6, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Friday, April 10, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Training log on information
- Meeting Link:(copy the link and paste into your browser)
- Meeting Phone: 646-876-9923
- Meeting ID: 498 988 675#
- Participant Number: #
Here is an overview of the Paycheck Protection Program, outlined by the Treasury Department. All of the latest small business resources are compiled and updated here – sba.gov/coronavirus
IRS to Offer Taxpayers Relief
The CARES Act authorized a refundable tax credit for 2020. The Economic Impact Payments are an advance on that credit. The advance is based on information from taxpayers’ 2019 return or their 2018 return if 2019 is not yet filed (extended due date is July 15).
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced last week that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.
- The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.
For more information on the latest on Coronavirus tax relief see – IRS.gov/Coronavirus.
Coronavirus Assistance for Veterans
The Veterans Administration (VA) has the latest information on the coronavirus here. The VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for Veterans, their families, health care providers, and staff in the face of this emerging health risk. We are working directly with the CDC and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus. On March 27, VA shared its COVID-19 response plan.
Among other measures, the VA is expanding virtual services and resources to help patients during this pandemic, including telephone/video appointments, prescription refills, secure messaging, and MyHealtheVet.
Nationally, as of April 2, 2020, VA is tracking the following Veteran patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This is a rapidly evolving situation and VA will provide updated information as it becomes available and verified.
Local Dow Chemical Plants to Join Fight
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact around the world and needed medical, health and hygiene products are in short supply. After assessing the Company’s capability to manufacture hand sanitizer at its facilities around the world, Dow Chemical announced that its manufacturing sites in the following locations:
- Auburn, Michigan
- South Charleston, West Virginia
- Seneffe, Belgium
- Hortolândia, Brazil
These locations possess the necessary raw material handling, mixing and packaging capabilities and will produce hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer will be donated to the following entities:
- State of Michigan
- THRIVE (Transforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy), a co-led initiative between the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, for distribution to area hospitals and first responders in the Great Lakes Bay Region
- State of West Virginia
- City of Charleston and South Charleston, West Virginia
- Federal Government of Belgium
- Public hospitals in the cities of Campinas, Hortolândia and Jundiaí, Brazil
Dow Chemical Company last week donated 110 gallons of hand sanitizer to the South Charleston Fire Department to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
New WVDNR Guidelines for Hunters
The requirement for West Virginia residents to possess a fishing license has been waived through April 24 to help anglers who have been affected by economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
DNR Law Enforcement officers will continue to patrol state waterways, so anglers taking advantage of this waiver should be prepared to provide proof of West Virginia residency while fishing at a public lake or stream.
See all updated guidelines here.
West Virginia Volunteer Opportunities
Are you looking for ways to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? Volunteer West Virginia is collecting safe, and creative ways to volunteer and posting them on their website here.
As an example, West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments is welcoming fabric masks from communities across the state.
Masks4WV is leading a statewide effort to help. Masks4WV is a collaborative effort of the West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments and West Virginia Local Health Inc. with support from The Benedum Foundation.
Click here to learn how to help make fabric masks for your local community.
West Virginia DHHR Hotline/Resources
The West Virginia DHHR 24/7 hotline for coronavirus is 1-800-887-4304.
Feel free to call that number with coronavirus-related concerns.
Additionally, to stay up to date on the latest developments with the coronavirus, I highly recommend frequently checking in with the CDC website.
Alex X. Mooney
Member of Congress