COVID-19 UPDATE: Resources, information, and helpful tips to protect you and your family!

Senator Boscola Holds a Telephone Town Hall to discuss the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Various Health Resources

LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health:
pacast.com/live/doh or www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook

 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal


A new web portal that will expedite the procurement of critical medical supplies for Pennsylvania’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic has been created and developed through a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health, the Department of General Services, and the Department of Community and Economic Development to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals.

The Portal is for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to inform the Commonwealth of supplies available for purchase and will allow us to more quickly and efficiently procure these supplies for hospitals and medical facilities across Pennsylvania.

Currently, the most needed personal professional equipment includes: surgical/procedure masks, N95/N99 Form Fitting Respirators, face masks with integrated shields, Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR), and alcohol-based hand rubs. Needed hospital supplies include: ventilators with PEEP functionality, ventilator circuits, endotracheal tubes, and hospital gowns. Needed lab supplies include: UVT 3 mL with flocked flex minitip and Nasopharyngeal (NP) flocked swabs and viral transport media tubes (1-3 mL). Needed diagnostic supplies include: Roche MagNA Pure 96 DNA and Viral NA small volume kits, Roche MagNA Pure 96 system fluid and tips, Roche MagNA Pure 96 external lysis buffer, and Biomerieux NuciSENS EasyMAG extraction system and supplies.

Questions on the portal can be directed to the Department of General Services at RA-procinternet@pa.gov.

Symptoms & Testing

Stop the Spread

Social Media Resources

FAQs

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Dept. of Health News

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Latest News

 

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Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today...

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What You Need to Know About COVID-19

The Coronavirus was first discovered during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms often do not appear in a person until 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family

The best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is by practicing vital social distancing procedures. It is recommended to work remotely and severely limit contact with others.

 

If you think you have come into contact with someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or are exhibiting them yourself, please follow the instructions on the graphic below:

 

PennDOT/Real ID Updtes

Federal REAL ID Enforcement Deadline Postponed to October 2021

The Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.

PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3. PennDOT also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the agency consider extending the October 1, 2020 REAL ID enforcement deadline.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must now be used on and after October 1, 2021, as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access.

REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs once issuance has resumed.

More information about document requirements, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Small Business Assistance

Small businesses are the backbone of our Commonwealth and this nation!

Do you have a business in the Lehigh Valley?  The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation(LVEDC) wants to hear from YOU! LVEDC is conducting a survey to assess the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on local business to determine how they can best assist – to participate, CLICK HERE. Furthermore, if you have any questions and do not know who to reach out to regarding your business send an email to: sierra.serfass@pasenate.com

Small Business Loan: The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) are working to provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses with funding opportunities up to $2 million. Learn more on how to apply here.

The Small Business Administration has just opened their applications for Disaster Loan Assistance. Small businesses can apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

SBA disaster loans offer an affordable way for individuals and businesses to recover from declared disasters. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.  As a small business, small agricultural cooperative, small business engaged in aquaculture, or private non-profit organization you may borrow up to $2 million for Economic Injury. 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.

For questions, please call SBA Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov (link sends e-mail).

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PACKAGE 

As a small business, are you eligible for the COVID-19 loan under the “Paycheck Protection Package”?

The “Paycheck Protection Program” was created to help small businesses weather the economic uncertainty resulting from the pandemic.  This $349 billion lending program provides loans that are 100 percent guaranteed by the U.S. government for small businesses.  The loans must be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage or lease payments or pay utilities. 

The borrower will have a portion of their loan forgiven in the amount equal to payroll costs (not including costs for compensation above $100,000 annually), interest payments on mortgages, rent payments and utility payments between Feb. 15 and June 30, 2020. 

The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has developed a FAQ document to help small businesses learn more about the program.  That document can be found here.

To apply for a loan:  Paycheck Protection Package


VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT FUNDING

A new federal stimulus program passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic allowing volunteer fire companies to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP).  At this time, I am strongly urging all volunteer fire departments to check out these programs and seek federal help during this very difficult time, if need be.

VFD assistance from the federal stimulus will allow qualifying volunteer fire companies to apply for EIDL and PPP loans with funds that will be made available very quickly.  Qualifying volunteer organizations that pay firefighters can also access federal funds through the PPP. Under this program, loans will be forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the funds are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

EIDL loans can provide up to $2 million in working capital with emergency grants immediately available. An advance of $10,000 for volunteer fire companies organized as IRC 501 (c) (3) of IRC 501 (c) 4 can be accessed within three days of application. Organizations applying for funding will not be required to repay the funds, even if a loan application is ultimately rejected.

Additional information can be found at  https://www.iafc.org/blogs/blog/iafc/2020/04/02/volunteer-departments-eligible-for-cares-act-loan-programs

 

Protect Yourself

Medical Costs

As of March 9, the Governor announced that all major health insurers in Pennsylvania have agreed to cover “medically appropriate” COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The 10 major insurers are:

For anyone with questions about their insurance policy, please contact your insurer or the Pennsylvania State Insurance Department with questions. They can also be reached at (877) 881-6388.

Remote Medical Attention and Care

Health officials are urging people who have symptoms to stay home and contact their doctor remotely rather than opting for an in-person visit. Nearly all major health systems offer some form of virtual visits and assistance. Some insurers do, too. People interested in a specific virtual visit should check to see what illnesses it can be used for. Be sure to reach out to your insurance provider to verify this service is covered with your plan.

Here’s an brief overview of virtual visit services offered to local residents:

Capital BlueCross – is offering free medical Virtual Care visits for members who currently have the Virtual Care benefit.  The waiving of fees will be effective March 13 through April 15, 2020.

Highmark – is providing many of their members with a virtual clinic visit service. Any fees related to COVID-19 will be waived.

UPMC Pinnacle – is welcoming Online Video Visits for those experience flu like symptoms or just in need of a follow-up appointment.  Video visits are available through the MyPinnacleHealth portal for $49.

WellSpan Health – WellSpan Online Urgent Care offers a video visits with Teladoc physicians for patients 3 months and older for their standard fee of $49.

CALLING ALL PSYCHOLOGIST! Things may be picking up for you at this time, so we want to make sure you are covered too. Here are some COVID-19 resources on how to best protect yourself and serve your patients from the Pennsylvania Psychologist Association.

 

Feeding Kids During COVID-19: Emergency Grants and Updated Resources 

No Kid Hungry is offering real-time emergency grant funding to schools and community organizations that are making sure kids have access to the meals they need as schools close due to coronavirus. The need is devastating; we received thousands of requests for grants in the first few days, and heard heart-breaking stories. To date, they have awarded more than $3.9 million in grants to 147 organizations across 40 states and DC. 

No Kid Hungry is providing millions of dollars in additional grants in the coming weeks for schools and local non-profits in our communities that could benefit from this program to continue providing critical nutrition assistance.  For additional information on the program and application process, please CLICK HERE.  

 

How to Stay Informed

Below is an extensive list of information, statistics, and resources to ensure you stay up-to-date with any changes happening due to COVID-19.

Boscola Bulletins

  • Make sure you are signed up to receive the Boscola Bulletin (you can sign up HERE)
  • To view all past issues of the Boscola Bulletin eNews, CLICK HERE

Pennsylvania Department of Health

A complete list of information and resources available to you by county:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

  • Learn what’s happening Worldwide with the WHO’s Daily report. The most recent report is located at the top of the page. It includes confirmed case and death tallies.
  • Additional COVID-19 information is provided on their website.
  • Stay informed on Twitter.
  • Follow their Facebook page.