Covid-19 info

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. COVID-19 was first detected in China and has spread to other countries, including the United States, and the first cases were reported in Michigan on March 10, 2020. President Trump declared a national emergency to combat COVID-19 on March 13, 2020. 

 

THE VIRUS SPREADS MOSTLY FROM PERSON TO PERSON, and the best way to protect your health is to avoid contact with people who might be infected. This page is designed to help you get answers to your questions and direct you to the resources you need to cope with this public health crisis.

 

COVID-19: Essential Information

 

Stay home, stay safe:

On March 23, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  

Effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances. You can read more about her executive order here

 

Websites and hotlines:

State of Michigan coronavirus website: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

State of Michigan coronavirus hotline: 1-888-535-6136, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week

Centers for Disease control website: https://www.coronavirus.gov

 

If you think you might be sick:

You can protect your health and others:

STAY HOME except to get medical care

SEPARATE yourself from others, including family

CALL YOUR DOCTOR before seeking care

PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE by washing hands frequently, covering your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing

SEEK MEDICAL CARE if your symptoms worsen, such as difficulty breathing

FOLLOW the CDC’s guidance for those who are sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

 

If you aren’t sick:

You can protect yourself and help slow spread of the virus:

STAY HOME as much as possible, and avoid crowds or close contact with others when you have to go out

WASH HANDS often and thoroughly

AVOID CONTACT such as handshakes and avoid sharing household items with others

DISINFECT REGULARLY the surfaces and objects you touch often

FOLLOW the CDC’s advice for protecting yourself from getting sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

 

Resources under the CARES Act:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is an expansive bill aimed at addressing the financial hardship and economic fallout that has resulted from the coronavirus outbreak that was signed into law on March 27. Included below is information on some of the most significant provisions of the bill:

 

Direct financial assistance:

The CARES Act will provide $1,200 in direct payments to taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 per year before starting to phase out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families will also receive an additional $500 per child. 

Everyone is eligible for this direct financial assistance as long as they have a Social Security Number and their household income is not above the cap. This includes Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. These payments do not count as income or resources for means-tested programs, which means that receiving the payments will not impact anyone’s eligibility for SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, ACA premium credits, TANF, housing assistance, or other income-related federal programs. These payments will also not impact an individual's state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. 

The exact distribution mechanism for this direct financial assistance is still being determined. Most people -- including everyone who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, as well as all Social Security beneficiaries -- will be paid automatically by the IRS. Others, including SSI recipients who often do not file taxes, may need to take additional action to receive their direct financial assistance. More details will be provided once they are available.

 

Unemployment assistance:
Through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. The FPUC will be paid in addition to and at the same time as regular state or federal UC benefits. 

The CARES Act will also allow states to expand unemployment compensation eligibility to workers who are not normally eligible for these benefits, so long as their unemployment was connected to the COVD-19 pandemic. Expanded eligibility would provide benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig economy” workers, and individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic. 

In addition to the supplemental federal unemployment compensation benefits and the expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation, the CARES act enables states to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to workers who need these benefits.

Finally, the CARES Act includes an expansion of “work sharing” programs to provide partial benefits to individuals with reduced hours. Under this bill, the federal government will temporarily provide full funding for states -- including Michigan -- who have Short-Time Compensation or “work sharing” programs in law. Under these programs, employers voluntarily make an agreement with the state unemployment office to prevent layoffs by reducing employee hours, and workers with reduced hours are eligible for partial state UC benefits. 

 

Small business assistance:

The CARES Act provides $349 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee loans to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These PPP loans can be up to $10 million and can be used to cover payroll costs, health care benefits, employee salaries, mortgage payments, rent, and more. The program allows complete deferment of loan payments for between 6-12 months and includes a loan forgiveness component for businesses that retain their workers or rehire ones that were laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Prospective borrowers can apply through banks, credit unions, and other lenders who have been approved to provide SBA guaranteed loans. Around 1,800 private lenders are currently approved, though Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said the department plans to vastly expand the number of approved lenders.

The stimulus package also includes $10 billion in funding for the SBA’s Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Michigan businesses now qualify for these Emergency Injury Disaster Loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can visit the SBA’s website for an overview of the SBA’s response to the coronavirus, along with a list of resources. To apply for an EIDL loan, visit the SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance website. 

 

Resources for workers:

If you are sick, STAY HOME. You can help slow the spread of the virus.

Congress has passed legislation designed to support workers who are affected by COVID-19 disruptions, including expanding paid sick leave at small businesses, improved family and medical leave and enhanced unemployment insurance benefits.

To apply for unemployment benefits: See the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. You will need to provide some basic information, like your Social Security number, driver's license number, names and addresses of employers over the last 18 months, quarterly earnings, last day of employment at each place, employer's federal ID number and alien registration number if you aren't a U.S. citizen. 

For full, step-by-step information, visit this link

 

Among the changes to state unemployment rules instituted by the Governor:

  • Rule that you must register for work through Michigan Works! Was suspended by Gov. Whitmer.

  • Benefits will be expanded to those workers who are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised and have an unanticipated family care responsibility, and first responders who become ill or must self-quarantine.  

  • Benefits go from 20 to 26 weeks.

  • The application period has been extended from 14 days to 28.

  • Individuals who haven’t been laid off but have to be in quarantine are eligible to apply.

 

Where should people go to apply for unemployment benefits? Who qualifies?

  • To apply for unemployment, visit www.michigan.gov/UIA. The process hasn’t changed as a result of COVID. The entire process can be completed online. 

  • Under Gov. Whitmer’s order, if your business has been mandated to shut down, employees filing for unemployment won’t affect the amount of unemployment tax you pay.

  • Workers who just don’t feel safe going to work but who don’t have the option to telework and who aren’t in a mandated shutdown business don’t qualify.  

 

Michigan Works!

1-800-285-WORK (9675)

 

 

Resources for businesses:

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The MEDC’s Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. The funding is divided between $10 million in small business grants and $10 million in small business loans to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce. Funds for the program are expected to be available no later than April 1, 2020.  

Visit www.michiganbusiness.org or call the MEDC hotline for small businesses at 888-522-0103.

 

U.S. Small Business Administration

Michigan businesses are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other financial obligations that could have been paid prior to the coronavirus outbreak.   

EIDL loan application processing and approval takes on average 2-3 weeks, with an additional 5 days for the closing and first payment. Once approved, EIDL recipients can defer payment on the loan for 12 months. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. (Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.)  

To apply for a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration, visit www.sba.gov/disaster or call 1-800-659-2955. 

 

Michigan’s Small Business Development Center 

Michigan’s Small Business Development Center has information to help small businesses navigate the SBA application process, along with webinars on navigating the COVID crisis and finding additional resources. Visit www.sbdcmichigan.org

 

Resources for veterans:

The VA is recommending that veterans call the closest VA medical facility if they have symptoms or request a tele-health appointment through the VA’s website.

 

Lansing South VA Clinic: 1 (517) 267-3925

Ann Arbor VA Medical Center: 1 (734) 769-7100

 

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: 1-800-642-4838

 

County Veteran Affairs Agencies

Ingham County Veterans Affairs: (517) 887-4331

Livingston County Veterans Services: (517) 546-6338

Oakland County Veterans Services: (248) 858-0785

 

Volunteers of America - Supportive Services for Veterans and Families

John Eynon: 1 (517) 899-6002 - jeynon@voami.org

 

Resources for seniors:

A number of resources are dedicated to serving seniors in our district. If you live in Livingston or Oakland County, you can contact the Area Agency on Aging at 800-852-7795 or by visiting them online here.

If you are a senior living in Ingham County, you can contact the Tri-County Office on Aging at 517-887-11440 or by visiting them online here.

Both agencies can connect seniors with Meals on Wheels, among other services.

 

Meals on Wheels:

Livingston County Senior Nutrition Program: (888) 886-8971 or (810) 632-2155

 

Older Persons’ Commission: (248) 608-0264

Serves: Northeast Oakland County, including: Addison Township, Auburn Hills, Brandon Township, Clarkston, Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Leonard, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills

 

Western Oakland County Meal On Wheels: (888) 886-8971 or (810) 632-2155

Serves: Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Commerce Twp., Groveland, Highland, Holly, Keego Harbor, Lyon Township, Village of Milford, Milford Township, Northville, Novi, Orchard Lake, Rose Township, South Lyon, Springfield Township, Sylvan Lake, White Lake, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield, and Wixom

 

Greater Lansing Area Meals on Wheels: 517-887-1460

Service Area:  Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett & Okemos

 

Rural Ingham Meals on Wheels: 517-676-2775

Service Area: Holt, Mason, Williamston, Webberville, Stockbridge, Leslie, Dansville and Onondaga

 

Grocery Delivery

The North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) is offering free pick-up service of groceries/essentials that have been paid for using store pick-up services at the Meijer in Oxford, at Kroger stores on Lapeer Rd. (M-24), and at Waldon and Baldwin roads in Orion Twp. Please note: Must be a resident of Oxford, Addison, or Orion townships, or Villages of Oxford, Leonard, or Lake Orion. NOTA will not be shopping for, or paying for, any items, only picking up and delivering. Call (248) 693-7100

 
 
 

Tax filing and payment information:

The Treasury Secretary announced that the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes has been delayed until July 15. 

The IRS has also created a page dedicated to outlining their efforts to help taxpayers, businesses, and others affected by the coronavirus. You can visit this page, which will be updated as new information becomes available, here.

 

 

Resources for individuals and families:

Food

Michigan residents may apply for a range of state benefits, including SNAP (government-funded food assistance) online here. Or call 1-855-ASK-MICH or contact the office closest to your home.

 

Livingston: (517) 548-0200

Pontiac: (248) 262-6400

Southfield: (248) 975-5200

Lansing: (517) 887-9400

 

Housing

The Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency has a HUD-certified counselor on staff and is continuing to provide housing counseling services for resident of Oakland and Livingston counties via phone and internet. If you would like assistance understanding your mortgage options during this crisis, please contact OLHSA’s Housing Counseling department by email at housingcounseling@olhsa.org, or by leaving a message on our intake phone at 517-546-8500 x4104. Please keep in mind that all calls will be returned, as staff is not in the office to answer directly.

 

Utilities

DTE is extending shut-off protections and offering billing assistance. Call 1-800-477-4747. 

Consumers Energy has suspended shutoffs for non-pay for low-income and senior customers beginning through April 5, 2020. (That time frame could be adjusted depending on the spread and severity of the virus.) Senior citizens and qualified low-income customers already enrolled in CE’s Winter Protection Program have already had their end dates extended through May 3, 2020, without any additional actions required on their part. All customers who need help paying their energy bill should call 1-800-477-5050 to discuss their options.

Lansing Board of Water Light (BWL) has suspended ALL electric and water shutoffs until further notice. The Customer service number is 517-702-6006

 

 

Events and gatherings:

Under Governor Whitmer's Executive Order, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. 

 

Travel:

Public health experts recommend that Americans avoid any unnecessary travel during the crisis. The CDC has detailed recommendations on international travel and travel inside the United States. The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.

 

Consumer information:

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on March 15 to protect consumers against price gouging during the crisis. You can report potential price-gouging to the Michigan Attorney General online or by calling 877-765-8388

 

For constituents and visitors:

Congresswoman Slotkin’s offices in Washington, Rochester and Lansing are on enhanced telework policies to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, but they are still working full time to serve you. See how to contact Congresswoman Slotkin at https://slotkin.house.gov/contact

 

Because of coronavirus, tours of the U.S. Capitol have been halted and access to some areas of the Capitol complex is restricted.

 

Newsletters and tele-town halls:

We have been holding tele-townhalls to provide updates on the coronavirus and answer your questions. We will continue to hold tele-town halls in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for opportunities to join our next call. If you would like to be first to know about our next town hall, sign up here. If you weren’t able to join for our latest call, you can listen to a recording of it here. If you want to sign up for our email updates with resources, click here
 

 

News releases:

Slotkin Releases Statement on Confirmed Michigan Coronavirus Cases, Internal Coronavirus Policy

 

Following President’s National Emergency Declaration, Slotkin Convenes Coronavirus Needs Assessment Call with Local Leaders​

 

Rep. Slotkin Statement on Passage of Families First Coronavirus Response Act​

 

Rep. Slotkin outlines steps small businesses can take to apply for SBA coronavirus relief loans​