We are aware of the limited number of testing kits available in OC and are diligently working with our partners to make sure that our supplies are increased in a timely manner. In fact, I recently visited a local manufacturing company that is awaiting approval (approximately 3 days) and will have the ability to provide 10,000 testing kits immediately with results available within the hour. I am in touch with our OC Supervisors to demand immediate testing and the ability to provide drive-up testing facilities. This will be discussed at the Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday.
UPDATES FOR RESIDENTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
According to the CDC and the OC Health Care Agency, everyone is being asked to practice social distancing to avoid spreading the virus and to help flatten the curve. Right now, because we haven’t been able to test a larger population, we don’t have the ability to know how many people have contracted the virus. We will know more once we start aggressively testing, but in order to avoid a mass outbreak, social distancing will help us keep our numbers low. Here’s a link to more information about social distancing and flattening the curve. For information about COVID-19 in Orange County, please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency.
While you’re practicing social distancing, enjoy some of these offerings from the MET and various museums:
- The MET is offering a free series of live presentations starting the evening of March 16th. View them here.
- There are 12 museums that are offering virtual tours. View them here.
On March 14th, the California Grocers Association said they will remain open for business and will attempt to meet the demand of customers across the State. They asked that customers remain calm and that overbuying could prevent other patrons from preparing adequately. Please keep this in mind when purchasing goods for your family.
City Council Ordinance
Unless we receive direction from the state, I will be bringing forth an ordinance at our next City Council meeting on March 24th, to help our residents and small businesses get through this difficult time. This will include a temporary moratorium on evictions, rent increases, mortgage foreclosures, utility shut-offs, and late fees, for all Irvine residents affected by COVID-19. In addition, there would also be a temporary moratorium on evictions and late fees for small business owners under commercial leases in the city who cannot pay rent due to loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19. Thank you to SCE for leading this effort. See their statement below. Please let me know if you would like to support this effort by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRVINE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
As of March 16th, all IUSD school sites will be closed until April 6th. The district is working to provide remote learning during this period. In addition, the district is offering meals for all IUSD students at select school sites for pick up. The graphic below contains the details. For up to date information from IUSD, please visit iusd.org/covid-19. These times can be stressful for our children. If you need assistance, please visit iusd.org/department/mental-health-wellness.
If you are out of work, California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California:
Disability Insurance: “If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. How to file a disability claim.
Paid Family Leave: If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) or if you are caring for children because of school closure, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. How to file a PFL claim.
Unemployment Claim: “If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain able and available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week.” How to file an unemployment claim.
Federal Unemployment Assistance: The Department of Labor gave states leeway to amend their laws so people impacted by COVID-19 could get unemployment insurance: “Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: (1) An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; (2) An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and (3) An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.” More details on the Department of Labor’s website.
We have taken the necessary steps to take care of our vulnerable senior population. Please visit this link for more information.
Senior Services will continue to provide essential services such as a modified Congregate Meals Program with an outside lunch pick-up at Lakeview Senior Center, through Meals on Wheels, and through social services via phone.
Registered participants of the Congregate Meals Program will be able to pick up frozen lunches at Lakeview Senior Center on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To encourage social distancing, participants will be provided multiple meals for the week. The Meals on Wheels Program will continue to provide meals to our registered participants.