CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON
As the coronavirus response develops day-by-day, the purpose of this page is to answer frequently asked questions and share resources to keep you and your family healthy.
FREQUENTLY USED RESOURCES:
Economic Impact Payment:
Do I need to File a Tax Return?
Non-Filer: Enter Payment Information:
Check My Payment Status or Update Information:
Small Business Assistance:
Small Business Administration COVID-19 Homepage:
Paycheck Protection Program Homepage:
Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Information:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application:
Department of Veterans Affairs:
Veteran Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the VA Doing?
HOW SERIOUS IS THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
I am keeping in close contact with our local health officials. All agree that we should be doing our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This includes following guidelines from the experts at the CDC to stay healthy.
Cases continue to be identified in the Eastern Washington. To combat the spread of the disease, Congress, President Trump, Governor Inslee, and state and local health officials have all jumped into action. The Governor and state officials have taken the following steps to halt widespread transmission of coronavirus.
On March 13th, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation that:
- Closed all K-12 public and private schools in Washington
- Prohibited college, university, or other similar educational institutions from hosting in-person classes
- Increased restrictions on visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities
On March 15th, Governor Inslee:
- Temporarily closed all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities. This ban does not apply to grocery stores or pharmacies.
- Prohibited gatherings of over 50 people, and required all gatherings less than 50 people meet
On March 23rd, Governor Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order:
- His order requires individuals to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity. Essential activities include obtaining food or supplies, seeking medical assistance, exercise like walking, biking, and hiking. A comprehensive list can be found by clicking here.
- Non-essential businesses were ordered to close or tele-work. A comprehensive list of essential businesses can found by clicking here. If you are the owner of a small business not currently not considered essential, you can apply for a waiver by clicking here.
On October 7th, Governor Inslee issued a “Safe Start Washington” detailing a 4 phased approach which:
- Requires all individuals to wear a face covering, or mask, over nose and mouth in any public setting.
- Guidelines for all individuals to social distance, stay home if sick, practice proper hygiene, disinfect surfaces and objects regularly.
- Social gatherings are only allowed outdoors with 5 or fewer people outside the household per week. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained.
On November 15th, Governor Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions which includes:
- Indoor social gatherings prohibited
- Outdoor social gatherings limited to 5 people from outside your household
- Restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dine-in service
- Gyms and fitness centers are closed
- All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited.
- Increased restrictions on visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- More restrictions are detailed HERE
IS THERE REASON TO PANIC?
No. We should be vigilant and practice good hygiene as outlined below.
It’s important to note that the CDC reports that most cases are mild but there are some people who are at a higher risk of getting sick from this illness. That includes older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions. We should all take precautionary measures to slow the spread and reduce the impact of the disease.
Again, the purpose of this page is to share information and direct you to resources to stay informed.
The CDC also has in-depth frequently asked questions. Read them by clicking here.
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF AND MY FAMILY?
Clean your hands often:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
HOW DO I PROTECT OTHERS?
Wear a mask
- Masks are a barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
- You should wear a mask, even if you do not feel sick. This is because several studies have found that people with COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still spread the virus to other people. The main function of wearing a mask is to protect those around you, in case you are infected but not showing symptoms.
Masks should not be worn by
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Anyone who has trouble breathing
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Wearing masks may be difficult for some people with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues. If they are unable to wear a mask properly or cannot tolerate a mask, they should not wear one, and adaptations and alternatives should be considered
The CDC made an educational video that details key times to wear a mask, watch HERE.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
IS IT SAFE TO GO OUTSIDE?
Yes! It’s safe. Thankfully the sun has been shining in Eastern Washington. The Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation limited reasons to leave your home, but included a specific exception for “Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running or biking, but only if appropriate social distancing practices are used.”
I have found that taking a walk and getting out of the house helps my mental health. My family has been playing basketball in the backyard, which is fun and a good break for everyone.
ARE THERE ANY CASES IN EASTERN WASHINGTON?
According to the Washington Department of Health, there are confirmed cases of coronavirus in Eastern Washington.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms for COVID-19 are a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
I’M AN OLDER ADULT. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The CDC has released the following video for older adults. Click below to watch.
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS?
The Washington State Department of Health has issued the following guidance if you think you may have COVID-19.
- What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (PDF)
- What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (PDF)
HOW DO I GET TESTED?
The Washington State Department of Health has issued the following guidance if you believe you need to be tested.
I’M WORRIED ABOUT MY SMALL BUSINESS, WHAT CAN I DO?
If you are a small business owner, please check out my dedicate webpage for by by clicking below. https://mcmorris.house.gov/coronavirussmallbusiness/
To help with struggling small businesses, Congress approved up to $7 billion in low interest loans for small businesses through the Small Business Administration. You can find information on these low interest loans here.
If your business is not considered essential by Governor Inslee, you can apply for a waiver by clicking here.
I AM A VETERAN. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to help slow the spread of coronavirus in our nation’s veterans. Any veteran experiencing coronavirus symptoms should immediately contact their closest VA facility. Click here to find your closest facility.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a webpage specifically designed for veterans. You can find the VA’s coronavirus webpage by clicking here.
ARE TAXES STILL DUE APRIL 15TH?
The administration delayed the tax filing deadline. You now have until July 15.
If you are expecting a refund, it’s recommended you file now or soon to get your money.
IS TAKEOUT SAFE?
Yes. Many restaurants and businesses are taking extra precautions. The drive-thru and pick-up options keep you socially distant. One way you can help our community is to support a local business for an upcoming meal!
Looking for ideas? The Spokesman-Review has a list of online menus.
WHAT HAS CATHY DONE FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON TO RESPOND TO THE CORONAVIRUS?
On March 4th, I voted in favor of more than $8 billion in emergency funding. Signed into law by President Trump on March 6th, this package will get state and local health officials needed resources for COVID-19. This package included:
- More than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available and to support treatments and vaccine development.
- $2.2 billionfor the CDC for a robust response, including funds to support state and local response efforts.
- More details here on the funding breakdown.
On March 5th, I traveled to the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray with Vice President Mike Pence, CDC Director Robert Redfield, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, a bipartisan delegation of Washington state members of Congress, and state health officials. The purpose of this trip was to join the Vice President Pence to meet with Governor Jay Inslee and ensure everything is being done to protect people from coronavirus in Washington state.
On March 5th, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Washington state would receive approximately $2.75 million from the CDC for public health, testing, and prevention. You can read the details of that award by clicking here.
On March 6th, I held a conference call with local health officials from across Eastern Washington. I shared with them what I learned at Camp Murray during my visit. The coronavirus response requires strong coordination between health care providers, public health experts, and all local, state, and federal officials. We will continue to keep lines of communication open as we work together to combat and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community.
On March 11th, the CDC announced Washington would receive an additional $11.5 million in emergency funding. This brings the total funding for Washington to $14.2 million.
On March 13th, I voted in favor of a second round of emergency funding to assist our response to the coronavirus. This package will provide more accessible testing, necessary economic stability, and increased certainty for families. This package included:
- $1.2 billion to cover the costs of being tested for coronavirus.
- $1.25 billion in emergency nutritional assistance, including home-delivered meals for some seniors and emergency food assistance for the food insecure.
- Tax credits through the IRS to ease the financial strain on American families.
- Provisions for 14 days paid sick leave for all employees impacted by coronavirus, including care for a family member with the virus.
On Thursday, March 19th, I hosted two telephone townhalls to provide updates on the federal response to the coronavirus and answer questions. At 9:00 AM PT, I hosted a veteran and seniors focused call to discuss the unique challenges facing them. At 6:00 PM PT, I hosted a call open to everyone.
The week of March 23rd, I sent two bipartisan letters to the Administration. One asked for more ventilators to be sent to the Pacific Northwest. Hospitals across the region are worried they will be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as intensive care unit capacity is reached. The second letter asked for targeted assistance for Eastern Washington’s fruit and vegetable farmers. It asked that, to keep safe, healthy fruit and vegetables in our nation’s grocery stores, the USDA provide regulatory flexibility and direct support to our farmers.
You can read more about these requests below:
On March 24th, I announced new grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for Eastern Washington health organizations to aid in response to COVID-19. This grant funding is a result of the Phase 1 public health and emergency funding that I supported in the House:
- Community Health Association of Spokane, Spokane, WA – $122,209
- Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Inchelium, WA – $53,128
- The N.A.T.I.V.E. Project, Spokane, WA – $52,393
- New Health Programs Association, Chewelah, WA – $65,696
You can read more about these grants by clicking here.
On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act (H.R. 748) into law. This bill, which I supported, included needed resources for small business owners, support for distressed sectors of the economy, and expanded unemployment. You can find more information about Phase 3 by clicking below:
I NEED MORE INFORMATION. WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?
As I told local officials, this response will take strong coordination and open lines of communication between all levels of government—local, state, and federal. Here are more resources that you may find helpful.