COVID-19

 

COVID-19 Information and Resources

 

The state is working in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the San Mateo County and Santa Clara County Departments of Public Health to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Difficult decisions are being implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable residents. My office continues to place our highest priority on the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones.

This is an evolving situation; the public health guidance and directives may continue to change. We strongly recommend that you refer to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Mateo County Health Department, California Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpages for the most up-to-date information from public health experts. In addition, Governor Newsom just launched a comprehensive COVID-19 website

For COVID-19 updates, you can also text “coronavirus” to 211211 or call 2-1-1. These text and call services are available 24/7 in 150 languages.

 

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Shelter-at-Home Order

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide stay at home order, effective March 20th, to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. For a list of frequently asked questions, please visit: www.covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/. For more information related to essential services, see the latest guidance from the Governor's office: www.covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf.  

Public health officers in as well as Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara San Francisco, San Mateo counties and the City of Berkeley had previously announced a legal order directing their respective residents to shelter at home for three weeks beginning March 17. The Shelter-at-Home Order limits activity, travel, and business functions to only the most essential activities and encourages all members of the public to shelter at home to the maximum extent possible to reduce community spread of COVID-19. These directives were carefully developed by our county health officials based on the best available information and science. They were also informed by best practices from around the world and substantial input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has stationed several staff on the ground in Santa Clara County.

Grocery stores, food banks, farmers' markets, pharmacies, hospitals, health clinics, hardware stores, and banks will remain open. 

Below are links to FAQs about the Shelter-in-Place Order:

Santa Clara County Frequently Asked Questions - English

Santa Clara County Frequently Asked Questions - Spanish

Santa Clara County Frequently Asked Questions - Chinese

San Mateo County Frequently Asked Questions - English 

You can also call the San Mateo County Legal Call Center with questions between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. – (650) 363-4588.


Everyone should practice increased hygiene measures that include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used in a pinch if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow.

 


COVID-19 Screening and Testing

You may have been exposed to COVID-19 if:

  • you have traveled to an affected country within the last 14 days; or
  • you have been in close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19.

​​​​​Some people are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, including:

  • people over 65 years old,
  • people with compromised immune systems, and
  • people with serious chronic medical conditions. 

Review additional guidance for high risk individuals prepared by the California Department of Public Health.

Coronavirus symptoms include:

  • feeling like you have a fever,
  • a new cough, or
  • shortness of breath.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or who recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first, prior to seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

California is working with Verily to launch a pilot program to expand access to COVID-19 screening and testing for high risk individuals, starting with the Bay Area. If you want to get tested for COVID-19 in Santa Clara or San Mateo County, you can complete the screener to see if you qualify for testing through this program. You will need internet access and a Google account.


Financial Assistance

The Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System is providing temporary financial assistance to help low-income residents who have lost income and are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-related impacts. Eligible households will receive direct financial assistance, based on documented loss of income as a result of COVID-19 impacts, up to a maximum of $4,000 of lost income per month. Assistance may be requested once per month for the duration of the public health emergency, as long as the household continues to experience an economic impact and funds are available. Basic information and referral to area services is also available. For more information, please visit: www.sacredheartcs.org/covid19/


Food Resources

Many schools in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are continuing to serve meals during school closures. Download the CA Meals for Kids app for free to find meals near you. 

A complete list of school meal sites is also available here

Second Harvest Food Bank offers a number of free food resources. For more information, text “GETFOOD” to 1-408-455-5181, call 1-800-984-3663, or visit: https://www.shfb.org/get-food/ 

San Mateo County’s Nutrition Programs for Older Adults provide nutritious meals through home delivery to people who are homebound. For more information regarding home-delivered meals, please call the 24-hour TIES Line at 1-800-675-8437 or visit: https://www.smchealth.org/general-information/where-seniors-can-go-nutritious-meals

The County of Santa Clara Senior Nutrition Program is providing pre-packaged meals for take-out/to go at many locations. For more information, please call (408) 975-4860 or visit: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/ssa/daas/snp/Pages/snp.aspx

Meals on Wheels continues to provide home-delivery of meals. To find the nearest Meals on Wheels provider, please visit: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals. Call (408) 350-3246 for more information.


Resources for Business Owners

The San Mateo County Economic Development Association is compiling business assistance programs and a variety of other resources: https://www.samceda.org/COVID-19-Resource-Links-Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal loans to small businesses & non-profits that have been severely impacted. Apply now: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For more information, please visit: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources  


Protections for Renters and Homeowners 

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-28-20 to authorize local governments to halt evictions for renters, slow foreclosures, and protect against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19. These protections are in effect through May 21, 2020. This order does not relieve a tenant from their obligation to pay rent or restrict a landlord's ability to recover rent that is due.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted a temporary urgency ordinance to prohibit evictions through May 31st. The order applies to residential and commercial properties, providing protections to renters and small businesses. Under the ordinance, the owner of residential real property or commercial real property cannot evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, if the tenant demonstrates that the failure to pay rent is directly related to a substantial loss of income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses associated with COVID-19. Upon expiration or termination of the ordinance, tenants must pay all past due rent within 120 days. Read the ordinance here

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has also approved a countywide eviction moratorium for residential renters that can demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The moratorium ends May 31st.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that it is suspending foreclosures for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for at least 60 days. For more information, please visit: www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Suspends-Foreclosures-and-Evictions-for-Enterprise-Backed-Mortgages.aspx

Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is halting foreclosures for homeowners with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration for at least 60 days. For more information, please visit: www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/20-04hsgml.pdf

Governor Newsom has announced mortgage relief for Californians affected by COVID-19. Eligible homeowners would be able to defer mortgage payments for at least three months. The relief package included Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citi Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, as well as 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions. For more info, please visit: www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/25/governor-gavin-newsom-announces-major-financial-relief-package-90-day-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis/


Resources for Workers

The State of California is taking proactive steps to ensure that workers affected by COVID-19 are protected from discrimination and understand all the benefits available to them.

If you are unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness, you may qualify for Disability Insurance.

If you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member, you may qualify for Paid Family Leave.

If you lost your job or have had your hours reduced, you may be able to partially recover your wages by filing an Unemployment Insurance claim.

If you or a family member is sick or for preventative care when civil authorities recommend quarantine, workers may use accrued paid sick leave in accordance with the law. If accrued sick leave is denied, you can file a Wage claim.

If you are unable to do you usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.

For more information, please visit: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.

 


Tax Relief

The deadline for filing California and federal tax returns has been extended. Taxpayers now have until July 15th to file and pay state and federal taxes. In addition, the California Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service will waive interest and any late filing and payment penalties that would otherwise apply. The California Franchise Tax Board asks that taxpayers claiming the special COVID-19 relief write the name of the state of emergency (for example, COVID-19) in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert the Franchise Tax Board of the special extension period. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.

Please visit the California Franchise Tax Board's website for more information about filing your state tax return and the Internal Revenue Service's website for more information about filing your federal tax return. 

Please note that county property tax deadlines have not changed. 


DMV Changes

On March 19th, the DMV announced that it would be canceling all behind-the-wheel drive tests for the next 30 days, suspend extend office hours and Saturday field office service, and require appointments for in-office visits. The DMV previously announced a 60-day grace period for expired licenses and registrations so that at-risk populations can avoid required visits. For more information and to learn what services are available online, please visit: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv


Covered California Extended Enrollment

Effective immediately, anyone uninsured and eligible to enroll in health care coverage through Covered California can sign up through June 30th. All medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 are free of charge, and all health plans available through Medi-Cal and Covered California offer telehealth options. For more information, please visit: www.coveredca.com/newsroom/news-releases/2020/03/20/california-responds-to-covid-19-emergency-by-providing-path-to-coverage-for-millions-of-californians/ 


Resources for Students

The U.S. Department of Education is temporarily waiving interest on all federally held student loans and has directed federal lenders to suspend student loan payments for 60 days. For more information, please visit: www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/delivering-president-trumps-promise-secretary-devos-suspends-federal-student-loan-payments-waives-interest-during-national-emergency

For guidance related to child care and K-12 education, please visit the California Department of Education's website: www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/guidance.asp


Insurance

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a notice on March 18, 2020 requesting that all insurance companies provide their policyholders with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums. Please call the Department of Insurance's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-927-4357 or visit: www.insurance.ca.gov/


How You Can Help 

Many local organizations that serve our most vulnerable community members are experiencing a shortage of volunteers. For more information about volunteering at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, our local food bank, please visit: www.shfb.org/give-help/volunteer/. For more information about volunteering with Meals on Wheels, please visit: www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/americaletsdolunch.

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find a blood drive near you: www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive 

The Valley Medical Center Foundation is currently accepting NEW supplies for use by hospital staff. These supplies include personal protective equipment (i.e. N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, gowns), disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and other items.  To see a complete list, click here. Donations can be delivered to their office (2400 Clove Drive, San Jose, CA 95128) on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on weekends between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please call 408-885-5299 or email vmcfoundation@hhs.sccgov.org if you have any questions. 

Sutter Health is also accepting medical supplies (new items in their original packaging). For more information, please visit: www.sutterhealth.org/for-patients/health-alerts/ppe-donations?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=donate-medical-supplies-covid&sf119591795=1