During the COVID-19 pandemic it is important for everyone to be vigilant and follow CDC guidelines. I am coordinating with local, state, and national officials to ensure that our district has aid during this pandemic. Please see the below resources to ensure you and your family are prepared. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact my office here.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC is updating resources daily and providing important information about COVID-19:
General COVID-19 information tab: here
How to prevent illness: here
Symptoms of COVID-19: here
What to do if you are sick: here
Frequently asked questions: here
The CDC Coronavirus Call Center is available 24/7 at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) for urgent issues related to coronavirus.
Vaccine Registration Information
If you are 65 years or older, a health care professional, a long-term care facility resident or staff member, or an individual who has been deemed extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, you can preregister for a COVID-19 vaccine at myvaccine.fl.gov.
Supply may be limited in some counties. However, Florida is scheduled to receive more vaccine deliveries in the coming weeks.
To find a vaccine location near you, visit here.
County Vaccine Registration
Not all counties in Florida are currently opted-in to the statewide online registration system. If you are in one of these counties, please see the below links for available county-specific vaccination registration information:
If your county is not listed above, visit here to find a vaccine location near you.
Veteran Vaccine Registration
The VA received a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines and is starting to distribute vaccines to VA healthcare personnel and some veterans in high-risk categories who receive care at the VA. Vaccines will be offered at VA health care facilities. When more become available, the VA will coordinate with their community provider network for accessible distribution. To schedule an appointment, Veterans may call the COVID Vaccine Appointment Line at 561-422-8262 ext. 5220. Please be aware that some people are experiencing extended wait times when calling this number due to increased demand.
For answers to frequently asked questions and to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at the VA please visit here.
If you are not currently receiving health care through VA, you can apply here.
Statewide Vaccine Updates
Governor DeSantis made the following announcements about new allotments of the vaccine for our District:
- A new testing site to vaccinate 3,000 in-need Sarasota County seniors at the Venice Community Center,
- An 85% increase in vaccine allocation for Sarasota County,
- Other allocation increases in Manatee and Charlotte counties,
- New vaccination sites through Walmart and Sam's Club,
- An extension of Publix's vaccination program in Hillsborough, Sarasota, Manatee and Polk counties.
Additionally, statewide, we are expected to receive another 325,000 doses.
Florida Department of Health
The Florida Department of Health issued a COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. For up-to-date numbers of positive cases in your area visit the map here.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Resources
If you have recently lost your job due to COVID-19 and need reemployment assistance, please visit the following link: https://www.floridajobsresources.com/
Federal Lost Wages (LWA) Assistance Program
Governor DeSantis has recently announced that Florida is now eligible to participate in the Federal Lost Wages (LWA) Assistance Program. Individuals currently receiving unemployment benefits may be eligible to receive an additional $300 per week. Those who may be eligible for these benefits include individuals who:
-Are eligible, beginning on or after August 1, for State or federal Reemployment Assistance benefits
-Have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program
-Can certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19
State officials are currently working on the implementation process and more information on ways to receive this additional assistance will be made available soon.
To learn more, please visit here.
For information specific to your county, please visit your local Department of Health website or visit the links below:
Small Business Administration
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened for eligible small businesses and entities interested in receiving a first, or second, PPP loan. The Paycheck Protection Program will reopen to all lenders, no matter their size, on Tuesday, January 19th.
Visit here for application information and eligibility criteria.
U.S. Department of State
For up-to-date travel advisories, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website here.
FEMA Disaster Relief
President Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Florida, freeing up FEMA funds to help our state recover from COVID-19. To see if you qualify for the Public Assistance grant program, please visit FEMA’s website.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
COVID-19 USDA Funding
The CARES Act included almost $35 billion to help our farmers, ranchers and food suppliers. The USDA is still finalizing their plans to distribute this funding. I sent a letter to the USDA asking that Florida farmers be a top priority for this fund distribution to alleviate their losses from milk they have been forced to dump, and other requests.
Additional USDA COVID-19 Relief Funding Breakdown:
- $9.5 billion to the USDA Office of the Secretary for emergency response funding to support agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers.
- $145.5 million for rural development to provide much-needed financing to business owners that might not be able to qualify for loans on their own, ReConnect Pilot grant programs, and additional funding for distance learning, telemedicine, and the USDA’s broadband program.
- $25.06 billion for the Food and Nutrition Service to help ensure that food from your farms is getting to the tables of everybody who needs it.
- This legislation also replenished the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority by $14 billion.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The Department of Agriculture announced that they are taking applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program will provide over $16 billion in direct relief for eligible farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses as a result of COVID-19.
The USDA will also partner with regional and local distributors to purchase over $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat at a rate of $300 million per month. The purchased food will go directly to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits.
Eligible producers of non-specialty crops, wool, livestock, dairy, or specialty crops must have suffered a five percent or more price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information and the application, please visit here.
The administration has been working to limit the disruption in the H-2A workforce caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Secretary Pompeo and the State Department have authorized consular officers to expand the categories of H-2 visa applicants whose applications can be processed without an in-person interview. With this, we anticipate the vast majority of otherwise qualified H-2 applicants will now be processed without an in-person interview.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS has started distributing a second round of stimulus check payments to millions of eligible Americans. Payment can be distributed as either a check, debit card, or direct deposit.
Generally, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return are eligible for this second payment. Eligible individuals will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child. Most people who have an adjusted gross income for 2019 of up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, will receive the full amount of the second payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced.
To determine eligibility and check the status of your payment, visit the IRS’ website.
Coronavirus Relief Package
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 27, 2020. This bill provides over $2 trillion in economic relief for American businesses and families, and response assistance funding to help our nation combat the Coronavirus. For more information on the CARES Act, click here.
Through the CARES Act, Florida received $8,328,221,072.10 in relief funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
To learn more about how states are receiving aid at this time, visit here.
Social Security benefits will continue to be mailed out during this crisis. You can subscribe to the Social Security Administration’s update here for timely updates on how they are responding to the crisis.
Seniors should know that required minimum distributions for 2020 have been suspended through the end of the year as a result of the crisis.