Friends, 

I hope you are all healthy and adhering to the social distancing recommendation. I wanted to send you the newsletter earlier this week to update you, as it contains useful and timely information. The severity of COVID-19 has warranted concern, but there is no reason to panic. Panicking is unnecessary and has lead to disinformation. Federal, state, and local governments are all working together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and the economic effects caused by the virus. 

Social distancing plays such an important role in flattening the curve. We must consider those at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and practice good personal hygiene and social distancing. If you begin to feel ill, self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider or visit MUSC.care.

I have attached information and resources to combat the disinformation being spread about the coronavirus. Links for small business owners, tax relief, and social security resources are also linked below.

I hope you find this information helpful. Stay calm in these uncertain times and do not hesitate to reach out to one of my offices if you need assistance. And remember to leave some toilet paper for your neighbor! 
Website: Rice.House.Gov
DC: (202) 225-9895
Grand Strand: (843) 445- 6459

What is novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Do I have the flu or COVID-19?
To learn how symptoms differentiate, visit: Intermountain Healthcare.

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?

MUSC Health Care Center for Telehealth is offering a free urgent, virtual care platform for people in South Carolina experiencing mild to moderate flu like symptoms.  To log on, visit: https://campaigns.muschealth.org/virtual-care/index.html Enter the code COVID19. Experienced providers will assist you. If you exhibit systems of coronavirus, they will advise you on accessing the drive-through screening.
Several other South Carolina health systems are offering telehealth options to the public. For telehealth options and the latest information about DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit scdhec.gov/COVID19. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC website here.
The Trump Administration announced that telehealth coverage would be expanded for Medicare beneficiaries that will enable them to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. For more details on the Centers for 
Medicare & Medicaid Services expanding telehealth options, see their press release with news of the announcement. CMS also shared a fact sheet about the expansion of telemedicine and has a FAQ document to provide clarity about how the expansion of this program to Medicare beneficiaries will help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Testing and Supplies

More than $4 billion has been put towards efforts to make diagnostic tests more broadly available; to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus; and to invest in vaccine development and to procure vaccines when they are available. Coronavirus testing is free, ensuring there are no cost barriers to these tests.

Mandatory Employer Paid Sick and Family and Medical Leave 

The new law grants two weeks of paid sick leave at 100 percent of the person’s normal salary, up to $511 per day. It would also provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave at 67 percent of the person’s normal pay, up to $200 per day.

Employees are required to provide notice of eligibility to employees. The Department of Labor is required to create model notification within 7 days after March 18, 2020.

Unemployment Insurance

Where can I find out information about how my state’s unemployment office is responding to COVID? 
The National Association of Workforce Agencies has been collecting COVID-19 FAQ’s and other resources from state unemployment agencies and can be found here. The site is updated frequently with new state information.

With the announcement by Gov. McMaster this afternoon, Executive Order No. 2020-11 allows the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to waive the one-week waiting period for individuals who file for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits between March 15, 2020 and April 18, 2020.
You must first file a claim for state unemployment benefits by visiting www.dew.sc.gov and clicking on the “MyBenefits Login” located at the top right corner of the home page. 
-If you have previously filed for unemployment benefits and remember your credentials, login with your username and password. 
 -If you have previously filed for unemployment benefits and do not remember your credentials, click “forgot username/password” link. 
-If this is your first time filing for unemployment benefits, click the “I am new here. I need to register now” link. 
For general information about Unemployment Insurance benefits related to COVID-19, go to: https://dew.sc.gov/covid-hub.

Child Care

Guidance, FAQ’s and resources from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) on state flexibility to assist child care providers and families in response to COVID-19: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/occ-covid-19-resources

Child Welfare

ACF State and National Resources for child welfare professionals responding to COVID-19: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/covid-19-resources

The Elderly Population

Coronavirus funding provided $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide approximately 25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the Senior Nutrition programs in their communities.
This funding will provide meals to low-income seniors:
who are home-bound; 
who have disabilities;
who have multiple chronic illnesses;
as well as caregivers for seniors who are home-bound.

School Lunch 

Free meals will be provided to all students regardless of reduced lunch eligibility. All school lunch information and locations can be found here.\

Social Security Administration 

You can find the contact number via the SSA website  - https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
Or you can always call SSA’s 800 number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
While SSA field offices are prioritizing dire need and benefits related actions at this time, the SSA’s online portal, mySocialSecurity, can be used to obtain a benefit verification and in most states, a replacement Social Security card.  Access the portal here: www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount
SSA Resources

Small Business Administration

SBA Resources
Since approval of our state-certification by the SBA, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and South Carolina Emergency Management Division websites have explicit instructions on how to fill out the actual SBA loan application.  
If you hear or learn of a small business in your district that has suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 and may be interested in obtaining an SBA loan, please direct them to Chuck Bundy at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He can be reached at cbundy@sccommerce.com or 803-737-0440.

South Carolina’s businesses can apply online at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.