We don't know. Cases of COVID-19 are still high throughout the U.S., Bay Area included.
In summer 2020 California issued a statewide plan (Blueprint for Safer Economy) listing what businesses and activities are allowed in its counties, depending on a standard set of metrics. Counties will be allowed to move to a new stage of operations when those indicators are doing well, but if those metrics go up, that county will need to close down the higher level for at least 3 weeks, and until its indicators improve,
PlaneTree Health Library's webpages will be updated regularly (in some cases, daily) with the latest accurate, verifiable, news you can use during this pandemic.
If you feel sick and do not have health insurance at present, call your local county public health department or your usual source of health care for additional instructions for any screening or testing.
If you are going to lose health insurance because you lost a job, you can sign up for it through Covered California (via the Affordable Care Act).
Recent California state orders and national legislation have declared that testing for the coronavirus should be at no cost to the patient (and all testing at sites sponsored by Santa Clara County is free). Likewise, there should be no cost to get vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2.
The people in our communities who are immigrants to the U.S. may be reluctant to seek medical care if they are ill. The California Department of Public Health's has stated that "For families that are concerned about the "public charge" rule, immigration officials have confirmed that they will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, "even if provided or paid for by one or more public benefits considered under the rule including Medi-Cal." Please seek care and help when needed!
Undocumented workers may qualify for Paid Family Leave in some circumstances, or for other relief funds. Legal Aid at Work has compiled a resource list for undocumented people during this pandemic. For more information and assistance, you can call (415) 864-8208 or (866)864-8208 (toll-free).
An order from the California Governor's Office in 2020 stated that "workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers" shall receive paid sick leave for COVID-19 (either their own illness or leave to care for a family member).
That requirement was extended for 2021 that to staff in any business with more than 25 employees, who are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid COVID-related sick leave, including caring for a sick family members. That is in effect until Sept. 30, 2021. (Paid COVID-related sick leave was also required in 2020, and may be applied retroactively.)
Isolating at home makes it hard to shop for food; so does being out of work. Here are some resources for individuals, families, seniors, kids - and even pets.
Meals on Wheels service to homebound seniors is expanding. A senior, their family member, or a caregiver can apply by calling 1-800-505-3367. More information and online applications in multiple languages on their website. They are not the only senior meal resource during this crisis - the interactive map links to other county resources for seniors, too.
Many local grocery stores chains (and some independents) have set up special shopping hours for seniors and/or other vulnerable people, to make it easier for them to access what they need.
Some organizations help out with food for our pets, too. Elders who qualify for the Senior Nutrition Program or Meals on Wheels can also receive food for their furry companions; and some animal rescue organizations offer pet food support as well.
There are several measures being proposed and enacted to help people who are hit hard by this pandemic. The following are currently approved for people in California and/or in communities in Santa Clara County.
California offers financial assistance to people with confirmed COVID-19 and to those who care for them, through the state Employment Development Department (EDD). From the California Department of Public Health website:
Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.
Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.
Unemployment: CA EDD will waive the usual waiting period for those who lose their jobs (or have their hours significantly cut back) due to this crisis. During the pandemic, "self-employed, independent contractors, part-time workers and those with a limited work history who are unable to work as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency" are now eligible for unemployment benefits too.
Legal Aid at Work has compiled a resource list for undocumented people during this pandemic. For more information and assistance, you can call (415) 864-8208 or (866)864-8208 (toll-free).
Santa Clara County families in need of emergency housing services can contact the Health Trust's network of Family Resource Centers; people who are unhoused, or in danger of being homeless, may wish to contact Destination Home for temporary housing and homeless support services. Housing support is also one of the services for immigrants provided by Amigos de Guadalupe.
If you are at risk of losing your housing or missing a rent payment, you can place your name on an interest list for the Rental Assistance Fund. The fund provides temporary financial assistance and supportive services to low-income families or individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless. And the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley offers legal assistance with civil problems - housing, health (including mental health), children's issues.
California has a statewide moratorium on evictions when the reason renters can't pay is due to the pandemic (that is, loss of work due to layoff, furlough, needing to care for a child or someone else in the home, coronavirus illness or quarantine). This also applies to commercial rents on business properties. Back rent will need to be paid, but it's not due all at once when the moratorium ends, however. The CA state moratorium runs through June 30, 2021.
On Jan. 20, 2021 President Biden and the CDC set a nation-wide rent moratorium for renters directly impacted by the pandemic, which has been extended through Sept. 30, 2021. Homeowners - including landlords - also qualify for mortgage relief through the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
If facing eviction and you believe that you should qualify for a rent moratorium, the processes are different to apply for the state and for the federal programs.
These tenant legal aid resources may help.
Governor Newsom's executive order on April 2, 2020 protects water services in homes and businesses from being shut off for nonpayment, during emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PG&E stated on March 13 that "PG&E will not disconnect any customer's power for nonpayment during this health crisis." Their CARE program to reduce bills for customers facing economic hardships may also apply (check their website to see if qualify).
Support for unhoused / homeless :
The CARES Act deferred some payments on student loans and / or interest on student loans, and loan forbearance is now extended through September 30, 2021.
Feeling frustrated? Do you have extra time on your hands, during the shelter in place? Here are some ways we can take care of each other on a volunteer basis while staying safe ourselves.
If you're not sure where to volunteer, Silicon Valley Strong has an online form to help connect you to local (Santa Clara County) organizations or agencies that need volunteers to help with this pandemic.
Santa Clara County has a program that offers guaranteed vaccine appointments to qualified people who volunteer to help with vaccination sites, and CA state has a similar program.
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