Updates and Resources

Intent

The purpose of this page is to consolidate updates and resources from the Governor and the Administration. 


State and Local Updates
Current Guidelines 

  • Gov. Wolf announces that Chester and Berks County will move into "green phase" Read guidelines here. 

  • PA Governor Wolf calls for universal masking in public. Learn the most effective way to wear a face covering from the CDC here.  



County Updates


Health
COVID Alert PA
COVID Alert PA uses Exposure Notification System technology developed by Apple and Google. The app can detect if you have been in close contact with another user who later tested positive for COVID-19 and will send a notification to your phone called a “COVID-19 Exposure Alert”. If you tap on the notification, you will be given public health guidance on what to do next.

Getting Tested

Taking Care of Yourself

Health Coverage

General Coronavirus Information

  • Dr. Abella of Penn Medicine created this helpful info sheet to answer our community's most pressing questions, such as 'How is the virus spread?' 'What can I do to avoid catching COVID-19?' and more. He has served as our medical specialist on several telephone town halls, and we are grateful for his contributions.  

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health provides updates on the disease's spread within the state, as well as frequently asked questions available here

  • The Center for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals. For specific information on symptoms and prevention, click here

Become a Contract Tracer

  • The department will continue to accept and enroll individual volunteer applications through ServPA and coordinate volunteer groups; however, individuals may experience a delay as the department expands part- and full-time paid contact tracing positions and trains these large volunteer groups, such as students from colleges and universities.
  • You can find more information on the state’s contact tracing efforts and all available contact tracing positions at the Department of Health’s website here.

Have Concerns?

  • If you have serious concerns about a businesses’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts, click here.


Flu Shots

  • We need to be doing the best we can to keep ourselves and those around us healthy. While certain aspects of that might look different this year, one remains the same--getting your annual flu shot! Experts agree: we must take the necessary precautions ahead of flu season, including getting your flu shot. COVID-19 and flu symptoms overlap, so fewer flu cases means more resources for our front line medical professionals.

  • For information on the importance of getting your flu shot this year, read here.

  • The VA is offering Drive Thru Flu Shots for Veterans Monday-Friday, 0800-1600, but by appointment only.  To schedule, Veterans are encouraged to contact 610.383.0239.

  • Find a location offering flu shots near you here.


Unemployment

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is now accepting weekly filings. To make an initial or weekly claim, click here. Please note, there are credible reports that international organizations are fraudulently applying for PUA on behalf of Americans. If you receive an unemployment check in the mail, but did not file, let the PA Department of Labor & Industry know immediately. 

  • The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation created a site to share information for Pennsylvania employees impacted by COVID-19 here

  • To help you through this difficult time, our staff compiled FAQs below: 

    • I am a self-employed person/independent contractor, why won’t the website won’t allow me to submit an application for unemployment compensation?  

    • The CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of previously ineligible Pennsylvanians, including the self-employed, gig workers and independent contractors through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program which is now accepting weekly filings. To make an initial or weekly claim, follow this link with detailed instructions and frequently asked questions.  https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file/Pages/Filing-for-PUA.aspx 

    • Do I qualify for benefits if my hours are reduced? Apply for assistance if your hours or income have been reduced – including those who work based on commission. 

    • What is the best course of action for people with underlying conditions who work for essential businesses who have exhausted leave options with their employers? Can you receive unemployment while on unpaid leave?  Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to work with their employers to first exhaust any paid leave that is available.  Employees who do not have access to paid leave, or have exhausted their paid leave, may be eligible for UC. If they are receiving any form of income while receiving UC, they should report it when they file their bi-weekly claim.   

    • I have used all of my unemployment compensation benefits, but am still unemployed. What resources do I have? The CARES Act authorized a temporary program that allows workers who have exhausted their benefits to receive an additional 13 weeks of assistance under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. The PA Department of Labor and Industry launched this new program last weekend and is processing claims. You can find more information, including the application and frequently asked questions, click here. Please know that these benefits are available for backpay to the week ending on April 4th. All recipients of PEUC will be eligible for the additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. 

    • I received an unemployment check, but I never filed. Has my identity been compromised? Sadly, there are some out there who are trying to take advantage of our fellow Pennsylvanians during this vulnerable time. If you receive notice of an UC claim, but didn't file, your personally identifiable information may be compromised. Please report UC fraud here. To address this and other concerns, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry held a town hall last week. The conversations covered the new federal programs and guidance for those returning to work after COVID-related shutdowns. A recording of the town hall can be found here



Taxes & Rebates

  • Some constituents are receiving their Economic Impact Payments via debit card. This is not a scam, but we always recommend ensuring you have the correct card. More information here

  • The Ways & Means Committee has learned that the IRS plans to create a new, online portal--Where's My Economic Impact Payment--for people to obtain information about their economic impact payment and provide their banking information. Not sure how to provide your direct deposit information to the IRS before a paper check is mailed? Check out this info sheet to see your options.  

  • Earlier this year, the IRS established a portal—Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info—for non-filers to register for an EIP.  We believe a proactive outreach strategy is necessary to ensure that your constituents are aware of this portal and are aware that they must register by October 15.  Additionally, for tax-filers who have not yet received their EIPs, we believe outreach can also be critical.  These individuals likely need assistance finding and navigating the IRS’s online resources, which include an additional portal and various FAQ pages, as well as the IRS’s EIP telephone assistance line (1-800-919-9835). 

  • To help you through this difficult time, our staff compiled FAQs. If you find yourself wondering the following, please reach out to our team!  

    • If I receive social security, disability and/or veterans benefits, am I eligible for the rebate? As long as your adjusted gross income (AGI) is not greater than $99,000 if your filing status was single or greater than $198,000 if your status was married filing jointly, then yes, SSA, SSI, SSDI and VA beneficiaries are eligible. Whether you filed taxes or not, you will receive these economic impact payments automatically from the IRS. If you are in this group and have not received your stimulus payment yet, the Treasury Department has indicated that it should be arriving soon. For more information, please visit IRS.gov. 

    • I received a MetaBank debit card in the mail, and the letter says my Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is loaded to the card. Is this a scam? This is not a scam. Some people will be receiving their EIP in the form of a card instead of a check. If you accidentally lost or discarded your card, you are eligible for a replacement. For more information, check out some frequently asked questions here

    • I haven't received my Economic Impact Payment (EIP) yet, what should I do? While over 150 million Americans have already received their EIP, we are happy to help those who are still waiting. If you haven't received your EIP, please fill out this form


Veterans

  • Not enrolled in VA Health Care? Unfamiliar with VA, the VA Health Care benefit or Lebanon VA Medical Center? Our Virtual Enrollment Fair will provide Veterans unfamiliar with VA an overview of VA and the services and benefits provided with a focus on the VA Health Care benefit and exactly how to apply through Lebanon VAMC and what will happen once you are enrolled. Veterans interested in enrolling can request an enrollment packet be mailed to them prior to the event or at any time by calling 717-228-6000. Enrollment specialists will also be available to assist Veterans by phone following the virtual event with any enrollment questions.

    To join this virtual event, you must use a computer, tablet or smart phone and access this link up to 10 minutes prior to the 2 p.m. start time on Sept. 22:
    https://veteransaffairs.webex.com/veteransaffairs/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec670f6fedca50cd2d83310dd5f552d95

    For audio only call 1(404) 397-1596, access code: 199 494 7943

  • For the latest news, follow the PA Department of Labor and Industry on Twitter and Facebook

  • The Department of Veterans' Affairs created this site regarding the novel coronavirus.  

  • The Department of Veterans' Affairs offers urgent care services to eligible veterans. 

  • To learn more about Veterans benefits, you can view an abbreviated (50 minutes) VA benefits presentation for veterans and their dependents online from the safety and comfort of your own home. 

  • If you believe you have COVID-19, you are encouraged to call your medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). You may also contact your health provider through MyhealtheVet

  • If you have questions about routine appointments, previously scheduled procedures, or need to reach out to your health provider with any other non-urgent concerns, you may contact them at MyhealtheVet

  • As of March 10th, visitors have not been allowed into VA Community Living Centers except in extraordinary circumstances. The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to release information as Community Living Center policies evolve. 

  • If you are a veteran in need of help with a Federal Agency, please complete our casework form here. To leave a message with our staff, please call (202) 225-4315. Due to telework arrangements, you will be instructed to leave a voicemail. Rest assured our staff will return your call promptly. 

  • If you did not receive your $500 benefit per child in your Economic Impact Payment earlier this year, you may now file to receive it. For more information, click here.

  • Remember, help is available for veterans in crisis by:


Education
 
  Schools

For Parents

  • Worried about your child's mental health? Find resources from the National Alliance on Mental Health here

  • Want a new, creative way to engage with your toddlers? Explore Sesame Street's online toolkit of videos and activities here

  • Looking for ways to engage your kids with STEM at home? Check out NASA's STEM Engagement for all ages here.  

  • Looking for ways to keep your child engaged over the summer? Visit PBS’ Summer Learning website here

  • The Army Game Studio has four applications that are amazing tools for educators and coaches.  They are easily accessible, incredibly useful, very easy to use and free!  

    • Easy to use lesson plans and teacher guides are available at http://usarmystars.com/lessons to help integrate elements into the classroom. 

    • What Applications: 

    •U.S. Army STARS Elements.  The U.S. Army STARS Elements is a fun and exciting way to learn Chemistry.  Build your own atom, play a game to help you learn about chemical bonds, explore the periodic table and test your chemistry knowledge.  Elements is great for students, teachers, and anyone interested in chemistry.  No matter your level of experience with chemistry, U.S Army STARS Elements makes learning fun. 

    •U.S. Army STARS Anatomy.  U.S. ARMY STARS Anatomy is a fun and exciting way to learn about the bones in the body.  Explore the human skeleton with an interactive 3D model on your screen, or using augmented reality place it in your world!  Quiz yourself in challenge to test your knowledge and reinforce your memory.  Play the game to have some fun discovering the bones in the human body.  Anatomy is great for students, teachers and anyone interested in the skeleton. 


Help Resources

Mental Health
 

  • The Mental Health Support Line can be reached toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-249

  • Gov. Wolf recently released an update Mental Health Resources Guide for anyone seeking help.

Food Banks

Child Welfare

  • ChildLine is available 24/7 to anyone wishing to report child abuse and general child well-being concerns at 1-800-932-0313 and at KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov

  • Parents: Helping Children Cope with Emergencies 

Housing

Through funding from the CARES Act –  which I helped pass in March – and approved by the PA General Assembly in late May, $175 million was provided to the PA Housing Finance Agency (PFHA) to help struggling renters and homeowners during these unprecedented times. The vast majority of this funding has been set aside to provide rental assistance. If you have been affected financially by COVID-19 and are struggling to pay rent, please go to the PHFA’s website to learn how to apply. Chester and Berks County residents will use different County agencies, so please use this contact resource to determine where to submit your application

Disabilities

Veterans

Substance Abuse 

  • Get Help Now for substance use disorder and alcohol treatment. 

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

  • Domestic violence programs and sexual assault crisis services continue to provide services to survivors across the Commonwealth.  

    • For domestic violence services, please visit pcadv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are unable to speak safely, you can also log onto thehotline.org or text LOVES to 22522.  

    • If you need sexual assault crisis services, please call 1-888-772-7227 or visit pcar.org to be connected with you local crisis center. 

Seniors

  • In the May 2020 report, Pennsylvania Department of Health nursing home surveyors conducted 292 inspections of nursing homes, including 210 complaint investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, nine sanctions were finalized against nursing care facilities, which included the issuance of one provisional one license, and civil penalties totaling $83,000. “We know that congregate care settings, like nursing homes, have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Levine said. “That is why we remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians by continuing to hold nursing home operators accountable, as necessary, to ensure they are providing safe care. If you see something at a nursing home that doesn’t seem right, we encourage you to speak up." Individuals with complaints about a nursing home can file that complaint with the department in several ways. Complaints can be made anonymously by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out the online complaint form, emailing c-ncomplai@pa.gov or sending the complaint in the mail to the department. The department recently announced an order directing testing at skilled nursing facilities. Facilities in need of assistance are encouraged to contact the department, which can provide assistance from a number of available resources on infection control, personal protective equipment, etc. 

More Information about Services


Ways to Help

Our health care workers are on the front lines protecting our community. Check out our local hospitals to see how you can help: