COVID-19 Updates

How to prevent infection


How the virus spreads:
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person. This includes people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms and best practices:
High fever, cough, and shortness of breath are all signs of COVID-19, and these symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, it’s essential that you immediately self-quarantine. This means staying home from work and limiting your exposure to friends and family. If you need to seek medical care, avoid using public transportation and keep your distance from crowds.

How to prevent infection: (According to the latest CDC guidance)
- Wash your hands with hot water and soap for 20 seconds.
- Wear a mask or face covering when in public spaces. (Guidance on cloth face coverings.)
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and face.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with tissues.
- Practice social distancing for at least 15 days to slow the spread of the virus.
- Avoid groups of more than 10 people.
- Seniors and those with underlying health issues should stay at home and away from those who are sick. 

Actions to take:
Please visit the CDC’s latest guidance on stocking up on prescription medications, over the counter materials and other items you may need if you need to self-quarantine: CLICK HERE

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

To find the most up-to-date information on COVID vaccine distribution phases, vaccine locations and more, click here.


Clark County
Call center representatives can provide callers with resources for determining COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and options for scheduling vaccine appointments. Representatives can also help people fill out the COVID-19 vaccine request form on the Clark County Public Health website. This form is used to refer people who live or work in Clark County to a local facility with COVID-19 vaccines. 

CALL: 888-225-4625 from 8AM - 5PM, Monday through Friday. 

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and how to access vaccines is available on the Clark County Public Health COVID-19 vaccine webpage, HERE


Lewis County
Lewis County residents age 75 and over are encouraged to call the LCMVP hotline at 888-205-1321 and sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine waitlist. The hotline will open on Monday, February 22, 2021. It will be staffed Monday - Friday from 9:00AM to 3PM. 

According to Lewis County Public Health, the first clinics will be open to residents 75 and older, and will be expanded by 5-year age increments in the future. Residents who call into the hotline will be added to a waiting list and contacted to schedule an appointment as vaccines become available.

In addition, Lewis County Public Health has announced that mobile vaccination clinics will be held at locations throughout Lewis County, depending on community need. This will serve rural residents if they’re unable to travel to the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds for vaccinations. Due to limited vaccine availability, the county says that clinics will vary each week.



Cowlitz County 



Klickitat County



Pacific County

Pacific County Public Health Vaccine Information

Pacific County Public Health Website

Public Health Phone #:

North County:360-875-9343

South County:360-642-9349



Skamania County

Call 509-427-3861 and leave the requested information at the voicemail prompt. Upon eligibility and vaccine availability you will be contacted to schedule an appointment.



Thurston County

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services vaccine helpline: 360-867-2610



Wahkiakum County


Individuals in groups 1a or 1b must call 360-849-4041 to schedule an appointment.

Wahkiakum County Public Health Vaccine Information

Wahkiakum County Public Health Website

Public Health Phone #: 360-795-6207



Local & state resources

COVID-19 Testing Locations: Washington State Department of Health

To find the most up-to-date information on COVID vaccine distribution phases, vaccine locations and more, click here.

Washington State Resource Center
Frequently asked questions
WA DOH Blog "Public Connection"
Washington Department of Health Hotline (6:00am-10:00pm): Call 1-800-525-0127 and press # for COVID-19 questions.

Clark County Public Health  
564-397-8000
https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-vaccine

Lewis County Public Health
360-740-1223
https://lewiscountywa.gov/departments/public-health/

Klickitat County Public Health 
509-773-4565
http://klickitatcounty.org/1187/Klickitat-County-Coronavirus-Response

Pacific County Public Health
North County: 360-875-9343
South County: 360-642-9349
https://www.pacificcountycovid19.com/index.html

Cowlitz County Public Health
1-888-683-8676 or 360-636-9595 
https://www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/205/Health-Human-Services

Wahkiakum County Public Health
888-452-0326 or 360-795-6207

Skamania County Public Health
509-427-3850
https://www.skamaniacounty.org/departments-offices/community-health/public-health/covid-19

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services
360-867-2500
https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Coronavirus/Pages/coronavirus-vaccine-info.aspx

If you would like to donate resources, please contact the following:

Clark and Skamania Counties

covidsupplies@cresa911.org

Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties
Cowlitz County EOC - 360-577-3171

Pacific County
pceocOps@co.pacific.wa.us
Pacific County Emergency Management Agency information

Lewis County
chamberway.com/first-responders-donations/


Washington Connection:
Washington Connection is a great resource for families and individuals to apply for services like food and cash assistance. Visit their website to see if you qualify.

Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce Info

Small Business assistance



Small Business Administration disaster assistance:
Small businesses in all counties throughout Southwest Washington MAY NOW APPLY HERE for disaster assistance loans. You can also access Frequently Asked Questions and Resources.


Paycheck Protection Program:
As of January 15th, the Small Business Administration has re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders. More information HERE

Get matched with a lender, HERE.
Find PPP-eligible lenders, HERE.

For more information on PPP, how to apply, lender information, and more, CLICK HERE.


Small Business Administration local contact information:
SBA Portland District Office
(services Southwest Washington)
Phone: (503) 326-2682
www.sba.gov/or


Small Business Assistance Customer Service Center:
Open from 8am - 8 pm EDT, 7 days a week
Phone: (800) 659-2955
Email: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov


Columbia River Economic Development Council

Workforce Southwest Washington



U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist takes a small business step-by-step through the process of preparing to file for a loan. 


U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division information:
Published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, when it takes effect on April 1, 2020

Fact Sheet for Employees
Fact Sheet for Employers
Questions and Answers


Additional employment information:
The Washington State Employment Security Department emergency rules were enacted to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and quarantine for workers and businesses. Below are two ESD programs that can be helpful during this difficult time.

- SharedWork Program allows employers to cut hours rather than cut jobs. Employers can reduce the hours of full-time and part-time employees by as much as 50 percent; employees can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.

- Standby Program allows employers to place employees on a temporary standby status for up to eight weeks with an anticipated return to work date. While on standby, employees can collect unemployment benefits and are exempt from job search requirements. 

Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to promptly and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. (IRS announcement from March 20, 2020)


Social Security assistance


Social Security recently announced it will be closing its offices due to guidelines of ‘social distancing’ from the CDC. However, Social Security still has their secure, online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov. Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone.

If you need help from Social Security:*
  • First, please use our secure and convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. We also have a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions online, without having to speak with a Social Security representative in person or by phone. Please visit our online Frequently Asked Questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
  • If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. Your local office still will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.
  • If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.

If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Our National 800 Number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative. A list of automated telephone services is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.

*Courtesy of Social Security Administration


Social Security Benefit Suspension Scam: 
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security Benefits due to COVID-19 related office closures.

There are reports that Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter. Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.


Any communication you receive like this is a scam.

If you received a suspicious letter, text, call or email about a problem with your Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond. Everyone is encouraged to report Social Security scams using the dedicated online resource at https://oig.ssa.gov.

Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments. 

Employment scenarios & benefits


CLICK HERE for help with unemployment benefits.

Washington State’s Employment Security Department has offered the following resource for those who need unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Residents can also help their unemployment assistance application process by doing these four things:

  1. Start with the website first before calling. We are updating the information regularly on our website and making it much easier to understand.
  2. Apply online if you can and read the information on the website before you apply. It will help applicants from getting stuck.
  3. Sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts for the most up-to-date information and changes.

Unemployment eligibility check list


FAQ's for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.


Under the CARES Act that Congress passed and I supported, unemployment benefits will be expanded in the following ways:

- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - expands benefits to those directly impacted by COVID-19 who are not otherwise eligible for Unemployment Insurance in Washington State. This will be available until December 26, 2020 and is retroactive to February 2, 2020.

- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - increases the weekly benefit amount by $600 for unemployment assistance recipients (including those already on Unemployment Insurance or participating in SharedWork). It runs until July 25, 2020 and retroactive to March 29, 2020.

- Pandemic Emergency Compensation - adds 13 additional weeks of benefits on top of the standard 26 weeks (if needed). It runs until December 26, 2020 and is retroactive to March 29, 2020.

CARES Act: Unemployment Insurance Questions Answered

Employee Paid Leave Rights


Please refer to the Washington State Department of Employment Security’s infographic below which will help you in determining the scenarios and benefits available that pertain to paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, paid family & medical leave and industrial insurance.


Tax filing update

-The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.

-Even with the new deadline, IRS urges taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds.

-Individual taxpayers do not need to file any forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.

Economic Impact Payments

The IRS has issued Questions and Answers about the Third Economic Impact Payment which include several topics:

Information on second round of Economic Impact Payments:

Key Points:

A Frequently Asked Questions page on the second round of Economic Impact Payments is now available on IRS.gov.

Most constituents will receive these payments automatically and should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions. Constituents can check the status of their payment with Get My Payment. For more details see this press release.

The new FAQs are at Questions and Answers about the Second Economic Impact Payment and separated by topic. More FAQs will be added if/when the need arises. The current topics and questions answered are:

Eligible individuals who did not/do not receive an Economic Impact Payment - either the first or the second payment - will be able to claim it when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021. The IRS urges taxpayers who didn’t receive a payment this year to review the eligibility criteria when they file their 2020 taxes; many people, including recent college graduates, may be eligible to claim it. Constituents will see the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) referred to as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR since the EIPs are an advance payment of the RRC.

 

Rent, Utility Assistance


Up to 12 months of rent and electric utility assistance for low-income persons in Clark County who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be available starting Tuesday, March 30, 2021. The 12 months can include owed rent or electric utility arrears, and a maximum of up to three months of future rent.

To qualify for assistance, a person or household must rent a home in Clark County; have an annualized income at or below 50% of the current Area Median Income for Clark County; have experienced a negative financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and be at risk of experiencing homelessness or currently experiencing housing instability (such as being late on rent, owing rent or having past due utilities). Households do not need to have a Social Security number or documentation status to receive assistance.

How to apply:

  • Online: People who need rent assistance can apply online at tinyurl.com/TRA-tenant. Online applicants will receive a confirmation email once their application is submitted.
  • By phone: People who would prefer to call can apply via phone at (360) 695-9677 Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11 am to 5 pm. It is recommended phone applicants call in the afternoon and weekends during a slower call volume time.
  • In person: People who do not have phone or internet access are encouraged to apply. Tenants can apply between 10 am and noon at Share’s office located at 2306 NE Andresen Road. Applicants should ring the doorbell, and staff will assist them in completing the application.
  • Active-duty military and veteran households can choose to contact the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center at (564) 397-8478. This applies to households with at least one person who serves or served in the armed forces, regardless of discharge status.
  • Households who have moved to Clark County as a refugee or immigrant within the last three years can also choose to contact Partners In Careers at (360) 597-2057.
  • Households with at least one person who identifies as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color (BIPOC) can choose to contact Bridgeview at (360) 737-2950.

Landlords can also apply on behalf of their tenants by going online to tinyurl.com/TRA-landlord and filling out a form. The landlord will receive a confirmation email when the form is submitted. Tenant eligibility will be verified by the rental assistance provider.

People seeking electric utility assistance must contact Clark Public Utilities at (360) 992-3000.

Owed arrears for rent or electric utility assistance can be paid as far back as March 13, 2020, as long as 12 months assistance (past and future) is not exceeded.


Helping Americans abroad


For Southwest Washington residents who are traveling abroad or are trying to come back into the United States – we are here to help you. While we can’t guarantee an outcome, we will do what we can to make sure you are safe and back in the United States.

Travelers abroad:
Please register through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to alert local embassies of your location. This program allows the State Department to send out daily updates regarding those specific areas travel conditions in the country you are visiting, and help embassies inform you of travel accommodations back to the U.S. in the case of an emergency.

Additional Resources:
CDC Materials for Incoming Travelers from High-Risk Countries
State Department Capabilities in a Crisis
Country-Specific Information/Health Alerts
Embassy-Specific COVID-19 Information
Reducing Stigma
CDC’s Travel Website


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


Actions in Congress


While you play a central role in prevention, please know that I’m working to provide resources and hold officials accountable to make sure the government is working effectively to fight this disease on the front lines. From my position in Congress, I’ve taken several steps to help protect folks in Southwest Washington from the novel coronavirus:

Securing CDC funding directly to Washington:
The CDC is sending $11.48 million directly to Washington to fight the novel coronavirus, ensure access of test kits, set up of quarantine units & transportation of individuals to quarantine locations. I worked to secure this funding to support Southwest Washington communities already impacted by this outbreak. READ MORE HERE


Pushing for more PPE for Washington
In order for our front line health care workers to do their jobs effectively, they must be equipped with personal protection equipment. Our state and Southwest Washington desperately need these resources, which is why I've been pushing the federal government to bring more PPE to Washington now. READ MORE HERE 


Pressing for expanded economic assistance, medical personnel and more:
From my position in Congress, I’ve been pushing federal officials to expand economic assistance to small businesses, pressing FEMA to provide appropriate medical personnel and equipment, and more.

Pressing FEMA for medical personnel & equipment

Pushing to expand economic assistance for small businesses

Urging POTUS to declare a major disaster for WA

- Pushing administration for additional ventilators for WA

- Asking the FCC & DOJ to crack down on COVID-related scams

- Pressing Treasury and the SBA for improvement to PPP

- Urging FEMA & DHHS for additional COVID-19 testing kits




Legislation introduced in Congress:
I've also been working on legislative solutions in Congress to help curb the effects of the virus and support hard-working families and small businesses:

- A bill to encourage rapid innovation and approval of a treatment or cure to COVID-19

- A bill to expand critical nutrition assistance, unemployment assistance and more

- A bill to ensure workers impacted by COVID-19 can access unemployment benefits