A Message from the President regarding COVID-19 (Updated)
The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has all of our attention. I wanted to let you know the OIC Network is doing everything possible to keep our employees, clients, and community members, safe while delivering essential services.
What We’re Doing
We’re monitoring and following all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including taking the steps necessary to reduce the threat of COVID-19 exposure to employees and clients. Our affiliates, in many cases, remain open to serve you. Each affiliate has an emergency management plan, in accordance with their state, on how to proceed in our current climate. Some locations have had their hours adjusted as a result of local conditions. For the latest updates on affiliate hours, you can visit the websites of your local affiliate.
COVID-19 Legislative Updates: Roundup of Federal, State, and Local Actions (The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia)
- A Phase 4 relief package being developed by House Democrats could provide $1 trillion in financial aid to state and local governments and safety-net programs.
- $175 billion of the $310 billion from the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding has been distributed. Replenishment of this program could be included in Phase 4
- The Department of the Treasury announced that the second quarter of 2020 will see a record-breaking $3 trillion in borrowing.
- Republican leadership indicated that they will not support a Phase 4 package that does not include liability protections for employers during the pandemic.
- Governor Wolf issued guidance that details procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in counties allowed to move to the yellow phase of reopening on May 8.
- PA’s tax revenues fell $2.2 billion in April, falling 50% below official estimates. The virus could cost PA a reported $4 billion in tax revenue.
- More than $5 billion in unemployment compensation benefits have been distributed to more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians since March 15.
- PA is seeking a federal loan to bolster the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Trust Fund.
- The PA House voted unanimously to require the Governor to present a statewide plan for COVID-19 testing and to give local health departments greater flexibility to implement testing.
- The PA House also passed bills to exempt cash payments from the CARES Act from state and local taxation and to require state agencies to answer questions from the public and the media during emergency declarations.
- Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia exceed 16,000 with over 700 deaths and nearly 1,000 individuals being treated for the novel coronavirus in Philadelphia hospitals.
- Mayor Jim Kenney delivered his revised budget address last week, with proposed changes to shore up a $649 million budget deficit.
- Changes include increases in property tax, parking tax, and the wage tax for suburban commuters and the freezing of planned reductions in business taxes and the wage tax rate for city residents.
- In addition, funding has been cut to the Commerce Department, the Quality Jobs grant and forgivable loan program has been repositioned as a small business relief and recovery program, and the Office of Workforce Development will cease to exist.
CDC Recommends (Updated)
- Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- On March 16, the White House announced a program called “15 Days to Slow the Spread,”pdf iconexternal icon which is a nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the implementation of social distancing at all levels of society.
- Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
- If you are a healthcare provider, use your judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Factors to consider in addition to clinical symptoms may include:
- Does the patient have recent travel from an affected area?
- Has the patient been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or with patients with pneumonia of unknown cause?
- Does the patient reside in an area where there has been community spread of COVID-19?
- If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
- People who get a fever or cough should consider whether they might have COVID-19, depending on where they live, their travel history or other exposures. More than half of the U.S. is seeing some level of community spread of COVID-19. Testing for COVID-19 may be accessed through medical providers or public health departments, but there is no treatment for this virus. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care.
- For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
- If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.
Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission
CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
This recommendation complements and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spreadexternal icon, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.
Click the link below to find the CDC’s video on how to make your own face covering.
OICA will update this site regularly with important information from the CDC. However, please visit this link for more information: CDC advice: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
Despite the threat posed by COVID-19, the OIC Network remains committed to serving you and your families. You are part of our family, and together we will get through this situation.