COVID-19

What Is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 is a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China that can spread from person to person. It can be spread between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets from when a person sneezes or coughs. It is also possible that someone can contract the virus by touching a surface where the virus is present and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

The virus can cause a mild to severe respiratory issues. Symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC later added six other symptoms including: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions—like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at higher risk of severe illness.

The coronavirus outbreak was declared an outbreak on March 11 by the World Health Organization. A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease and happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.

Testing
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has expanded its testing ability across the state including drive-thru testing locations and partnering with OptumServe to assist in expanding testing capacity for the state. You can find testing locations here. Please note: drive-thru testing sites change frequently so please confirm their location before going. There is a one test per vehicle and individual must be an Indiana resident (proof of residency required).

With its partnership with OptumServe, ISDH has opened 50 testing locations across the state. Registration for testing is required and can be completed at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at 888-634-1116. Hoosiers will not be charged for testing, and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you. These testing sites will be open 8 hours a day, Monday-Friday. Hoosiers will receive results within 48 hours on average. Results will be provided to the patient via a phone call if the test is positive or via an email or text if the test is negative.

Healthcare providers may order a test for any patient who needs one based on their clinical evaluation. ISDH will continue to focus on testing close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 positive patients when it is imperative that the contact continues to work and/or have close contact with at-risk populations and our highest-risk Hoosiers even if they don’t have symptoms. Those individuals include:
  • Anyone who is admitted to the hospital whose physician is concerned that their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.
  • Symptomatic healthcare workers (inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and other long-term service facilities) and first responders who provide direct care to at-risk patients. 
  • Symptomatic long-term care facility residents or staff who have direct contact with patients.
  • Persons experiencing homelessness.
  • Patients who expire with suspected COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Patients and staff at correctional facilities
  • Patients age 65 and older with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Patients with underlying health conditions with symptoms of COVID-19, including lung or heart disease, or who are immunocompromised, obese or pregnant women.
Questions about COVID-19 may be directed to the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number 877-826-0011 (available 8 a.m. to midnight).

Federal Government Response
Phase One – Emergency Response Package
The $8.3 billion emergency response package was signed on March 6. Funds provided:

  • Additional equipment and supplies to health care providers
  • Expedite the development of a vaccine
  • Indiana state and local health departments received $10 million

Phase Two – Families First Act
This legislation was signed on March 19, and it expanded testing and made it free to all Americans regardless of insurance status. It also provided temporarily sick leave to workers impacted by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. In addition, the legislation provided $1.25 billion in food assistance for vulnerable Americans.  

Phase Three – CARES Act
For phase three for the COVID-19 response, Congress enacted the CARES Act on March 24. While American families worried about keeping their loved ones safe and healthy from COVID-19, many are also asked how they will be able to pay their bills and put food on their table. People were suffering by no fault of their own. They were unable to go to work and were unsure when they will return. This legislation gave some certainty to families, workers, and small business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19. 

How the CARES Act helps Hoosiers:

  • Assistance for health care providers
    • Provides an additional $100 billion for hospitals
    • Provides $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical needs
    • Provides $1.5 billion in support for local, state, and federal public health agencies
    • Purchases additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment
    • Opens up telehealth access for home-based services, community health centers, and rural health centers and provides an additional $1.3 billion for community health centers to treat COVID-19 patients
  • Direct and immediate financial relief to Hoosiers
    • Allots $1,200 checks to individuals making less than $75,000 annually ($2,400 for a couple making less than $150,000 annually), plus $500 per child
    • Allows individuals to access their retirement plans for coronavirus-related expenses without an early withdrawal penalty
    • Allows individuals to defer student loan payments for 6 months with no penalty or interest
    • Incentivizes charitable giving by temporarily increasing the amount individuals can deduct from their taxes for charitable contributions, and allows
  • Expands unemployment insurance for workers
    • Temporarily provides an extra $600 weekly federal UI benefit in addition to their the state unemployment benefit
    • Funds an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment eligibility for individuals after they’ve exhausted state UI benefits through the end of the year
    • Temporarily expands UI eligibility to include the self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, railroad workers, and those who worked at non-profit entities
  • Relief for Indiana businesses
    • The emergency funding program focuses on small businesses with fewer than 500 employees
    • Provides $500 billion in secured loans to affected businesses and establishes an Inspector General and Oversight Board to provide accountability for the loan program
    • Provides $350 billion for SBA interruption loans
    • These SBA loans will be made available and administered through local banks and credit unions.
    • Provides bankruptcy relief for small businesses by raising the maximum debt threshold for eligibility, so that more small- and medium-sized businesses can get through bankruptcy faster and more easily
    • Delays the employer payroll tax
    • Increases the amount of deductible business interest allowed
    • Allows small businesses to participate in a Payroll Protection Program that will allow for loan forgiveness
Phase Four - PPP Increase Act
Due to the immense demand for the Paycheck Protection Program, Congress appropriated an additional 
$300 billion to the program. The bill also included $75 billion for reimbursements to hospitals and healthcare providers for COVID-19 related expenses.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. There is $16 billion set aside for direct payments to farmers and an additional $3 billion for the USDA to procure agricultural goods for their Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The CARES Act provided USDA $9.5 billion to establish a direct producer payment program to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Because Secretary Perdue determined that this was insufficient to compensate producers for costs related to on-going market disruptions and costs related to the transition to a more orderly marketing system as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, he decided to use funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to assist producers, bringing the total to $16 billion. At this time, the amount of CCC funds available for these purposes is limited to $6.5 billion.

Eligible commodities include:

  • Non-specialty Crops: malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and hard red spring wheat
  • Wool
  • Livestock: cattle, hogs, and sheep (lambs and yearlings only)
  • Dairy
  • Specialty Crops
    • Fruits: apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelons
    • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dry onions, green onions, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, taro
    • Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
    • Other: beans, mushrooms

Who is eligible for CFAP
Eligible producers (person or legal entity) of specified agricultural commodities outlined above who have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19.

To be eligible for payments, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018. However, if 75 percent of their adjusted gross income comes from farming, ranching, or forestry, the AGI limit of $900,000 does not apply.

Persons and legal entities also must:

  • comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations, often called the conservation compliance provisions;
  • if a foreign person, provides land, capital, and a substantial amount of active personal labor to the farming operation; and
  • not have a controlled substance violation.

CFAP Payment Structure
Upon approval of the application, producers will receive 80% of their maximum total payment. The remaining portion will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.  This is to ensure funds are distributed to as many producers as possible in case funds run out.

How to apply for CFAP
The Farm Service Agency will begin to accept applications on May 26 through August 28, 2020. The application and payment calculator will be available online once signup begins.

Step One – Gather Information
You will need the following information:

  • Name and address
  • Personal information, including your Tax Identification Number
  • Farm operating structure
  • Adjusted Gross Income compliance certification to ensure eligibility 
  • Direct deposit to enable payment processing 

Step Two – Book an Appointment with Local FSA Office
Once signup begins, producers should call their FSA county office to schedule an appointment. The FSA office will work with producers to file applications. All applications will be submitted electronically either by scanning, emailing, or faxing.

***The USDA requests that applicants call their FSA office before submitting their applications.***

Producers will need sales, inventory and other records. However, since CFAP is a self-certification program, this documentation will not need to be submitted with the application. Because applicants are subject to spot check and will be required to provide documentation, producers should retain the documentation used to complete the application.

Step Three – Complete Application
Application will be released when signup begins. A preview of the CFAP Payment Calculator can be found here. Go to https://www.farmers.gov/cfap on May 26 to get an application.

Step Four – Ensure the Following Forms Are Completed
In addition to the application form, staff will work with individuals to complete portions of the CCC-902 – Farm Operating Plan – if necessary. Additionally, the following forms will be needed for CFAP; if you are an existing customer, this information is likely on file at your local Service Center.


Precautions to Take

As the state beings to reopen and get back on track, Hoosiers need to remain cautious. People should continue to wash their hands, maintain social distancing when possible, and listen to state and local health officials.


Numbers for Indiana
Here are some statistics about how much funds and resources Indiana had received so far: 

PPP Indiana funding (As of 5/16/2020)
72,543 loans approved
$9,442,058,522 received

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for Indiana (As of 5/18/2020)
3,044 loans Approved
$301,638,600 received

PPE Received from the administration and congress (As of 5/8/2020)
575,000 N95 Masks
9,438,900 Surgical and Procedural Masks
126,100 Eye and Face Shields
3,990,100 Isolation and Surgical Gowns
308,388,900 Surgical and Exam Gloves

Indiana Received Funds from CARES Act
$2,610,489,556 

Department of Health and Human Services
79 Indiana rural health clinics received $3,907,452

Resources
My office serves as a resource to the people of the district. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call the Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-5037 or the Danville district office at (317) 563-5567.

State Agencies/Departments
Indiana Department of Education: (317) 232-6610
Indiana State Department of Health: (317) 233-1325
Center for Disease Control (CDC): (800) 232-4636
Family and Social Service Administration:
    - Division of Family Resources: (800) 403-0864
    - Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning: (877) 511-1144
    - Family and Social Services Administration: (317) 233-4454

Childcare
Families who need help finding or paying for care can contact Brighter Futures Indiana staff at 1-800-299-1627 and a referral specialist can support them in their search.

Every community has a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) who can connect parents with local childcare options and provide referrals for support. To find your local CCR&R you can call 1-800-299-1627 or go to https://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/5712.htm

When locating care, it is important to ensure that families are choosing licensed and regulated care for their children. To check if the environment is licensed or regulated you can go to childcarefinder.in.gov or call 1-800-299-1627.

Filing for Unemployment
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is reminding Hoosiers that applying for unemployment insurance benefits is completed electronically. Hoosiers can apply on a computer or smart phone.

For more information on unemployment insurance, visit unemployment.in.gov. There, Hoosiers can find the Claimant Handbook, Frequently Asked Questions, a link to online filing and more information.

Remote STEM Learning Resources
As kids continue to learn from home, here is a helpful resource to continue their STEM education. Check out these great resources from NASA, the EPA, the Smithsonian and more!

Food Banks
To find food banks and pantries near you, visit https://www.foodpantries.org/st/indiana.

America Makes
In conjunction with the NIH, VA, FDA, and National Labs, America Makes is leveraging their network of American additive manufacturing partners to produce PPE for frontline coronavirus responders.

This is yet another innovative response to COVID-19 by the American research enterprise, as well as the next-gen tech being put to work in American manufacturing. For more information visit: https://www.americamakes.us/statement-on-covid-19/


County Health Information
Hendricks County
317-745-9222.
https://www.co.hendricks.in.us/egov/apps/document/center.egov?view=item;id=6804

Morgan County
765-342-6621
https://www.morgancountyhealth.com/coronavirus-disease

Putnam County
765-653-5115
https://putnamhealthindiana.org/

Montgomery County
https://www.montgomerycounty.in.gov/department/division.php?structureid=1914

Howard County
765-456-2403
http://www.howardcountyin.gov/government-services/health-department/corona-virus-information

Boone County
765-482-3942 (for emergencies)
https://boonecounty.in.gov/

Fountain & Warren Counties
877-339-9567
765-762-3035
https://boonecounty.in.gov/

Tippecanoe County
765-423-9222
https://www.tippecanoe.in.gov/270/Health-Department

Newton County
219-285-5103
https://www.newtoncounty.in.gov/egov/documents/1583848666_07744.pdf

Benton County
765-884-1728
https://www.bentoncounty.in.gov/healthdepartment

Jasper County
219-866-4917
https://www.bentoncounty.in.gov/healthdepartment

Cass County
574-753-7760 
https://www.co.cass.in.us/departments/e-i/health-department

White County
574-583-8254
https://wchd.whitecounty-in.us/

Carroll County
765-564-3420
https://www.carrollcountygovernment.org/carroll-county-health-department.html