Rep. Bergman updates on Covid-19 efforts

We are in trying times in America and around the globe. It’s important for all of us to stay informed of the situation and to remain calm and prepared. I’m committed to ensuring everyone has the most up to date and accurate information available as we navigate these times together. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our offices.

Below you will find some information and resources regarding the Coronavirus response on the state and federal level that I hope you will find helpful.

Respectfully,

Jack Bergman
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CDC Awards Funds to State and Local Governments

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $14.5 million to Michigan to support the COVID-19 response. This is in addition to the $750,000 Michigan received previously for the response. Through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, CDC will award over $560 million in initial funding to states, localities, and territories this week.

“Our state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The action we are taking today will continue to support their efforts to increase public health capacity where it’s needed most,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “These funds will allow public health leaders to implement critical steps necessary to contain and mitigate spread of the virus in communities across the country.”

On Friday, March 6, the President signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. The supplemental contains $8.3 billion government-wide, with resources directed for grants or cooperative agreements to states, localities, and territories to accelerate planning and operational readiness for COVID-19 preparedness and response, as well as develop tools and strategies, provide technical assistance and program support, as well as ensure ongoing communication and coordination among public health agencies and partners throughout the response.

More information about these funds can be found in a letter CDC sent to State Health Officers.
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State Department Travel Information

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of US personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad:

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Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.

Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. 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%.

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, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

• Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.
———————————————————————————————————————————Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Temporarily Closing Bars, Theaters, Casinos, and Other Public Spaces; Limiting Restaurants to Delivery and Carry-Out Orders 

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-9, which temporarily closes theaters, bars, and casinos, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders.

Under Executive Order 2020-9, effective Monday, March 16 at 3:00 pm, the following places of public accommodation will be closed; restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos.

This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Places of public accommodation are encouraged to do so and use precautions to mitigate potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other.

These restrictions do not apply to the following locations: office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, and providers of medical equipment and supplies, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, and industrial and manufacturing facilities.

Order restrictions will remain in place until Monday, March 30 at 11:59 pm.

Read more here.
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Governor Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits for Michigan Workers 

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-10 to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits. This executive order is effective immediately and until Tuesday, April 14 at 11:59pm.

Under the governor’s order, unemployment benefits would be extended to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

Read more here.
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Iron Mountain VA Restricts Visitors

IRON MOUNTAIN – For the safety of patients, visitors and staff, the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center is changing its visitation policy for all its health care facilities in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin to help to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.  Effective at noon CST today, March 16, the VA medical center and its seven community-based VA clinics are not allowing visitors for most patients and staff until further notice.

Visitors will be prohibited from entering the medical center unless it is necessary for providing medical care, supporting patient care activities, or visiting under exigent circumstances, such as grave illness or imminent death of a family member under care in the facility.

All patients and visitors that do need to come into the medical center or its community-based VA clinics will continue to be screened for signs of respiratory illness and exposure to COVID-19 prior to entry.  If screened positive, an individual will be treated appropriately.

Enrolled Veterans who have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, should call the nurse triage line at 906-774-3300 (toll free 800-215-8262), extension 17066, before visiting their provider at the VA medical center or local VA clinic.

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