Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
For the latest local information, resources, and health guidance related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Washington State Department of Health website.
Need a phone number to call with questions about the virus? DOH operates a hotline, with multiple language assistance, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 1-800-525-0127. Please note that the call center cannot access COVID-19 testing results.
Latest Information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
HEALTH INSURANCE RESOURCES:
For Washingtonians without health insurance - or those that have lost insurance because of COVID-19: the Washington Health Benefits Exchange opened a limited-time special enrollment period through April 8, 2020. Click here to Enroll for health insurance
SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES:
The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program to businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury in an eligible disaster area. A measure I led was approved by Congress to enable up to $7 billion in low-interest disaster loans specifically to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. These loans can help small businesses meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses. Visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
For additional information on financial assistance (including SBA loans); export assistance; employer and worker assistance; insurance assistance check here: Get resources for impacted businesses and workers
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was supported by Rep. Kilmer and passed by the House on March 27, are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers. The Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction within the guide here. Do you need:
- Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
- A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
- To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
- Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet.
Access the Small Business Owner's Guides to the CARES Act here.
Checking in with our Small Businesses
On March 18, I joined the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Adminstration, the Washington State Department of Commerce, and over 600 small business leaders on a conference call/webinar to talk about the ongoing effort to provide resources at the federal and state level - and to answer questions. You can listen to that conversation here.
On March 19, the Department of State advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel at this time 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.
For the latest infromation on travel information, guidance on U.S. citizens traveling home, and students abroad, please visit the State Department's COVID-19 page.
Stay informed, stay connected, and stay safe - enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) - a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and receive important information to make informed decisions about travel plans.
Additional Travel Resources:
STATE DEPARTMENT CONSULAR AFFAIRS 24/7 EMERGENCY HOTLINE
- Callers located in U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747
- Callers located overseas: 1-202-501-4444
In response to COVID-19, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS will allow most tax payments to be delayed until July 15. However, you still need to file a return or request a filing extension by April 15. No other filing is necessary for payment extensions. See free options at: http://irs.gov/coronavirus
VETERANS RESOURCES / FAQ:
What should veterans do if they think they have COVID-19?
Before visiting local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.
What about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?
VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care—even previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments. VA providers may arrange to convert appointments to video visits, where possible and veterans should feel free to request telehealth appointments from their VA providers.
Can visitors still access VA medical facilities?
Many VA medical facilities have cancelled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Facilities have also been directed to limit the number of entrances through which visitors can enter. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.
What about VA nursing homes and spinal cord injury units?
On March 10, 2020, VA announced that its 134 nursing homes (also called VA community living centers) and 24 spinal cord injury and disorder centers would be closed to all outside visitors. All clinical staff will be screened for COVID-19 daily before entering the nursing home or spinal cord injury units, and staff will work only within those units to limit possible transmission of the virus. Exceptions to the visitor policy will only be made for cases when veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units or inpatient spinal cord injury units.
How you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19
The CDC released guidelines individuals can follow to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19. These precautions include washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and practicing social distancing so the virus does not unitentionally spread to other people.
Since many veterans care for family members at high risk of contracting COVID-19, it is important to contact state and local health authorities for next steps and treatment.
The significant impact COVID-19 has on daily routines may cause unanticipated stress on some veterans in crisis. Help is available for veterans in crisis by calling the Veteran Crisis Line at 1 (800) 273-8255 and pressing 1, at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or by texting 838255.
WORKING FOR YOU
Telephone Town Hall
On Monday, March 16, I held a telephone town hall regarding the federal government’s response to COVID-19. In addition to discussing the recently passed $8.3B emergency funding supplemental and legislation passed by Congress to support workers and families, Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant director of the University of Washington Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory and Dr. Nathan Schlicher, president-elect of the Washington State Medical Association, joined the call to answer your questions regarding best practices and ongoing medical efforts to address the COVID-19 public health emergency.
You can listen to the full town hall here: Kilmer Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19
Securing Emergency Funding
On March 4, I voted to support H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides $8.3 billion in new funding to establish a robust response to this public health emergency.
This bill includes $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, including $950 million to support state and local health agencies like ours. It also includes:
- Nearly $1 billion for medical supplies, health care preparedness, and medical surge capacity;
- More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics; and importantly, once those vaccines are developed, we’ve provided more than $300 million to ensure that access to vaccines is affordable;
- And, over $1 billion to secure Americans’ health by addressing the coronavirus overseas.
The legislation also includes a provision I led that allows up to $7 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses by the Small Business Administration, including shellfish growers, trade-dependent manufacturers, and others that have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The legislation was passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President.
Supporting Workers & Families
On March 14, I voted to support the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, comprehensive legislation aimed at bolstering the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and addressing the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ personal safety and financial security.
In addition to including a bipartisan measure I led to provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak, the legislation provides paid leave, establishes free coronavirus testing, expands food assistance for vulnerable children and families, protects frontline health workers, and provides additional funding to states for the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic, among other provisions.
The legislation was passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President.
Advocating for Washingtonians in the Next Economic Support Package
On March 18, I led a bipartisan letter from the Washington congressional delegation urging Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, and five House Committee Chairs to address some of Washington state’s growing economic challenges in the next coronavirus-related stimulus bill.
We called on House leaders to support workers and businesses to mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak by expanding access to economic assistance, increasing investments to prevent housing displacement, creating parity for Tribes, and providing direct assistance to individuals. These policies reflect the needs of state, local, and tribal officials as communities across the state are adapting to prolonged social distancing measures.