Weekly COVID-19 Updates - May 19, 2020
Keeping You Informed
Robert Hiett
Executive Director
In March, Governor Cooper established the state’s Task Force for Emergency Repurposing of Manufacturing (TFERM) to increase the amount of protective gear made here at home. This includes face shields, hand sanitizer, cloth masks, gowns and more. If you check the Key Metrics and PPE supply on the dashboard, you know that the number of “gowns” available has been zero for quite a while. Hopefully this development will get that up to a 30 day supply soon!

Register here
NC Growth hosting webinar on small business support needs during current crisis

NC Growth is hosting a free webinar entitled “Small Business Support and Success amidst CoVID-19". This webinar will feature Lowcountry Local First of Charleston, South Carolina, and will share information on the resources that providers can curate to best connect to and support small businesses during this time. The webinar will include a Q&A. The webinar will be held Wednesday, May 13, 2020 from 1-2pm EDT.  To join the webinar at the appointed time, please go to:

or join by teleconference at +1-301-715-8592, passcode 99911040000#.  
Provider Resilience: Assessing Compassion Fatigue and Cultivating Well-Being in Challenging Times (COVID-19)

**LIVESTREAM PROGRAM**
June 2, 2020 9:00 am–12:15 pm
Presenter: Amy Levine, MSW, LCSW Clinical Assistant Professor, UNC-CH
School of Social Work

Description: Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune, adversity or change. In this interactive workshop, we will explore the concept of burnout within human services careers and the ethical implications for our professional and personal lives. We will center our discussion around the current COVID-19 crisis and the increased stress felt by human service professionals in managing both personal and professional demands within a changing landscape.

Objectives:
  • Describe indicators of compassion satisfaction and fatigue; identify the ethical and practice issues that result from compassion fatigue in the workplace
  • Discuss the common barriers to wellness, both on individual and systemic levels, that contributes to compassion fatigue for human services professionals
  • Outline strategies and tools that can be used in individual,group, and organizational levels to reduce burnout and increase provider resilience
  • Complete an in-depth analysis of participants’ own compassion satisfaction and fatigue and define how indicators of compassion fatigue are present in their professional and personal lives.
  • Create a personalized self-care plan that identifies strategies to improve physical, psychological, emotional,spiritual and professional well-being

Who Should Attend:
County Employees, DSS, Health Department, other stakeholders, and Eastpointe staff and providers.

For additional information, contact Eastpointe Training Dept. at training@eastpointe.net or Brooke Mickelson, Director of Training at 252-407-2402 or bmickelson@eastpointe.net
Commerce Invites Requests from Pool of More Than $28 Million in Community Development Grant Funds

Community leaders are invited to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for 2020. The Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development team has posted new guidance and an application form on the agency's webs it e . A new category of funding for 2020 addresses the current COVID-19 situation.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce will administer nearly $28.52 million in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds awarded to the State by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support North Carolina’s COVID-19 response efforts. This allocation was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. The measure was signed by President Trump on March 27 to respond to the growing effects of this historic public health crisis.

The CARES Act made available $5 billion for HUD grants such as CDBG for special allocations to states and individual communities. As required, the North Carolina State CDBG-CV allocation will be allocated to non-entitlement areas across the state, which include incorporated municipalities under 50,000 and counties under 200,000 in population.

In addition to the CDBG-CV program, non-entitlement local units of government are encouraged to apply for the NC Neighborhood Revitalization Program (CDBG-NR) to assist with local needs identified by the community in collaboration with state and local health officials to prepare, prevent, and respond to the coronavirus. Projects could include, but are not limited to, stabilizing housing, rehabilitating homes for vulnerable populations, and repurposing buildings into patient treatment centers.

Information about grant-eligible activities or potential program waivers is avaiable. Contact Valerie D. Moore, Commerce's CDBG Section Chief by email at Valerie.Moore@nccommerce.com .
The NC Department of Justice has been alerted to reports of nursing homes and assisted living facilities attempting to require residents to sign over their $1,200 economic impact payments. The nursing homes claim that because the person is on Medicaid, the facility is entitled to the money. This is not true and unlawful, and  anyone who is asked to turn over their payment to someone else should not do so and call NCDOJ. 1-877-5-NO-SCAM

To learn more, please visit the links below.


Community Tips and Resources: COVID-19


All Tips and Resources have transitioned over to our  COVID-19 WEBPAGE [ncmainstreetconference.com]  and it is continuing to grow with resources every day. 
Federal Funding Opportunity for Human Service Organizations (HSOs) that Provide Shelter and Food Related Services

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) National Board—chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with representatives from a wide range of organizations including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, USA, and United Way Worldwide—has awarded $320 million of CARES Act and annually appropriated funding to qualifying local jurisdictions (counties and cities) across the country to support COVID-19 impacted communities through the provision of food, shelter and supportive services. A Local Board in each jurisdiction will award funding to eligible HSOs based on submitted applications.


  • Application deadlines will vary, but likely occur in the next 1-2 weeks, as Local Boards must submit information about the applications they received to the National Board by 5/29/20.

  • Through this opportunity, organizations may receive funds to provide food, shelter and supportive services, including but not limited to:

  • Food services, such as congregate meals or groceries
  • Lodging in a mass shelter, or in a hotel/motel or other off-site shelter facility limited to 30-days assistance per individual or household
  • One month rent or mortgage assistance to prevent eviction or foreclosure
  • Utility assistance for one month of service for gas, electric, and water service
  • Supplies, including but not limited to cleaning supplies, and small equipment essential to feed or shelter people, not exceeding $300 per item
  • Administrative funding, if approved by the Local Board, to offset costs to administer the program. 
Impact of COVID-19 on Section 5310 Transportation Programs

On May 27 at 3:00 p.m. ET , the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center will host a webinar The Impact of COVID-19 on Transportation Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities . Speakers from Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging, The Senior Connection in Maryland, and Volunteer Transportation Network in Knoxville, Tennessee, will talk about policies, priorities, and response during the pandemic. Click here to register for the webinar
More Than $12 Million To Expand COVID-19 Testing At North Carolina Health Care Centers

WASHINGTON, D.C . – Senator Thom Tillis announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will award more than $12 million to 39 North Carolina HRSA funded health care centers to support expanded COVID-19 testing. This award is part of the Health Care Enhancement Act and Paycheck Protection Program. The funding will be used to expand the range of testing and testing-related activities including the expansion of walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities, as well as the purchase of additional protective resources, laboratory services, training for staff, and expanded outreach.

This funding will provide our health care facilities across the state with expanded testing capabilities, which is key in our efforts to protect the health of North Carolinians and begging the process of the safe reopening of our economy ,” said Senator Tillis.

Beneficiaries in our region include Carolina Family Health Centers, Inc. in Wilson, Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. in Rocky Mount and Rural Health Group, Inc. in Roanoke Rapids.
NCDOT Cuts Likely to Impact Municipal Budgets

Major funding shortfalls at the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will lead to cuts that will impact city and town budgets in the next fiscal year, according to information shared this week with the League by agency leaders. In a meeting with NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Bobby Lewis on Thursday, League staff received updates on the extent of the agency's fiscal constraints. Lewis said a preliminary estimate was that the agency would lose $670 million due to the COVID-19 crisis, a number that compounded the agency's preexisting financial woes.

As a result, Lewis said, the agency would likely propose across-the-board cuts to its budget ranging from 15 to 25 percent cuts to all areas of its operations, including Powell Bill funds. Further, the agency already stopped most road projects and all routine maintenance activities. City officials may want to consider the extent to which they would pick up the state's maintenance responsibilities in the coming fiscal year, including the following activities on NCDOT right-of-way in town limits:

  • Pavement patching
  • Traffic signal maintenance
  • Mowing and landscaping
  • Sign repairs
  • Storm repairs 
Dashboard of Data on Unemployment Insurance Claims Published

More information about the people applying for unemployment insurance benefits in North Carolina in March was published last Friday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The new data regarding claims for benefits include details about the applicants’ demographics, the industries impacted, and the number of claims received from each of the state’s 100 counties.
The Department is publishing an interactive data visualization dashboard with this information online .

In March, the Commerce Department’s Division of Employment Security received 339,885 initial claims for unemployment benefits, with 282,947 of these claims citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the job loss. Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency on March 10 due to the COVID-19 situation, and the state has seen an unprecedented uptick in initial claims since that time.

While the COVID-19 situation continues to impact the state, the Department of Commerce is publishing state-level unemployment insurance claims data daily on its homepage, nccommerce.com. Since March 15, more than 494,000 people have been paid unemployment insurance benefits, and a total of $1.79 billion has been issued for those payments. Commerce will publish county-level and demographic data for April claims as soon as it becomes available.

About NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans

Loan Details

Loans are available for up to $50,000, based on the business’s current revenue. Loan agreements are structured as follows:

·     Loan sizes capped at approximately two months of current revenue.
·     Six months of no payments, followed by 48 months of principal and interest payments at 5.5% interest.
·     There are no prepayment penalties.
·     Defaulted loans are subject to collections.
Requirements
·     Any individual with greater than 20% ownership in the applying business must personally guarantee the loan.
·     Proceeds from the loan may only be used for maintaining or restarting a business.
·     The use of loan funds to pay off debts already incurred for qualifying business maintenance or restart purposes may be authorized on a case-by-case basis.
·     Borrowers are required to assign the proceeds of future assistance programs, including SBA loans, to the repayment of their Rapid Recovery Loan.

Who is eligible?

·     Applicants must be a North Carolina small business affected by COVID-19 (all 100 NC counties are eligible).
·     Applicants must have at least one (1) employee, who could be the self-employed owner.
·     Start-up businesses that began operations before March 23, 2020 are eligible.

Logistics & Timeline

·     Businesses interested in applying should be prepared to complete an online application and provide tax returns, profit and loss statements, and bank statements.
·     The partners in this program are committed to moving as fast as possible to assist businesses and they will be in touch with applicants as soon as possible.
·     Loans subject to availability of funds.

Visit www.ncrapidrecovery.org to apply or to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact: Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443.
NCDHHS dashboard now includes COVID-19 cases that are presumed to be “recovered.” 

North Carolina Working with Local Manufacturers to Make Critical Supplies

The state’s Task Force for Emergency Repurposing of Manufacturing has partnered with the  N.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership Carolina Textile District  and the  Economic Development Partnership of N.C.   to identify and collaborate with manufacturers statewide who are able to pivot their operations to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) including face shields, hand sanitizer, cloth masks, gowns and more. The Task Force has worked with over 300 North Carolina companies. 

Funding and Financing Strategies Webinar

The Environmental Finance Center Network and the Smart Management for Small Water Systems Program is hosting a webinar that will focus on funding and financing strategies for integrated hazard mitigation and water resource plans. The webinar is set for May 27 from 2pm until 3pm .

In light of increasing development, ever-changing conditions, increasingly stressed infrastructure, and growing financial pressures, integrating hazard mitigation and water quality-focused resource management is becoming more and more important to the success of water systems and other public-serving entities. This webinar will provide strategies for incorporating funding and financial strategies into integrated plans and explore various solutions for how local communities can pay for water resource projects.

Click here to learn more and to register.
Join this two-part discussion on data privacy as we examine the integration and privacy concerns presented by contact tracing. The conversation will explore how current data protection laws address the issue, and will cover potential regulatory changes we might see in response to the current crisis.
 
(click above to register)
 
  Wednesday, May 20 | 2PM ET
 
  Associate Professor, UNC Department of Epidemiology
 
  VP of Offering Management, IBM Watson IoT
 
  CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, IBM Watson IoT
 
  Director
  The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Technology Policy
 
(click above to register)
 
  Thursday, May 28 | 4PM ET
 
  Information Technology Foundation Vice President
  Director of ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation
 
  Head of the Unit ‘Technology and Privacy
  European Data Protection Supervisor’s Office

Questions to be posed include:
 
Will the pandemic shift the
  way we think about data
  privacy?
 
Will individuals be more
  willing to give up their
  privacy if it benefits the
  public good?
 
What are the long-term
  societal implications in any
  shift in how individuals’
  personal information
  is used?


Here's what's new on  our COVID-19 resource page :  

Coronavirus Commission on Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes - Call for nominations : CMS is launching an independent commission to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This assessment will inform efforts to safeguard the health and quality of life of vulnerable Americans as CMS continues to battle COVID-19, as well as prepare for future threats to resident safety and public health. Nominations for the commission can be submitted through Friday, May 22, 2020. CMS also has produced a new toolkit covering actions states can take to address the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes.

An update on FEMA's Public Assistance Program : Last month, FEMA authorized the purchase and distribution of food as an emergency protective measure for its Public Assistance Program. Under that policy, applicants (including state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities and certain private non-profit organizations) could receive funding for an initial 30-day period and could request one 30-day extension. FEMA is clarifying that extensions beyond the initial 60 days (in increments of 30 days or fewer per extension) are allowable when necessary through the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

For Older Americans Act programs : This week, ACL provided new guidance addressing common questions about providing groceries and updated guidance on reporting requirements for Title III and Title VI programs.
Promising practices: There isn't enough space to list all of the outstanding examples of how the aging and disability networks are adapting and innovating to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities, but we're sharing a small sampling from around the country in a new "promising practices" section.

Staying connected and engaged during the pandemic : Staying at home and social distancing are critical to avoiding exposure to the coronavirus, but social isolation and loneliness can be a devastating result. In fact, a recent study showed that they can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. There are many ways to stay engaged, active, and connected -- both with and without technology. We've created a new section with resources to help you get started.

Reopening resources : We're continuing to add resources to help states and programs plan for a safe reopening, including guidance from the CDC and a FEMA planning fact sheet for organizations.

Community-based testing options : HHS is partnered with pharmacy and retail companies to provide COVID-19 testing in community settings. We've added a link to a website where you can find up-to-date information on each company's efforts and how to schedule an appointment for testing.

Avoiding discrimination during medical rapid response : The University of Miami’s Mailman Center for Child Development has created a training on avoiding discrimination against people with disabilities. The training is designed for triage team members tasked with making resource allocation decisions during shortages.
Free Face Masks are Still Available

NCWaterWARN and North Carolina Rural Water Association, in coordination with EPA and FEMA, have received a supply of washable cloth face masks for employees of water and wastewater systems. A limited number of masks are still available. FEMA/EPA may request the return of any unused masks so make your request ASAP! To submit your request, please click  HERE  and complete the official request form. 

Be prepared to enter the following data:
  1. Utility Name
  2. County in NC your utility is located
  3. Contact Information (Name, Address, Phone, Email)
  4. Number of Full-Time water/wastewater employees only (including administration, ie. managers, billing clerks)
  5. Population Served by your utility
  6. PWSID and/or NPDES permit number
  7. Type of System (Community, Non-Public, NTNC)
 
Only one request per entity (please combine for water and wastewater systems). 
EPA releases grant funding to address COVID-19 Impacts faced by vulnerable communities

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The State Environmental Justice Environmental Justice (SEJCA) Cooperative Agreement Program will provide funds to eligible states, local governments, tribes and territories. EPA anticipates issuing 5 grants of approximately $200,000 each for a two-year funding period. Applications are due by Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 11:59PM Eastern Time. To learn more, please go to:

Reducing the Spread of COVID Misinformation

This curated collection of tools and materials can guide and provide examples on how to understand, track, address rumors and misinformation around COVID-19 that can ensure the public is receiving appropriate information and facts about the pandemic. .

Read  
Previous Weekly Newsletters

Previous Newsletters are being added to our website after each publication. You can access them at www.ucpcog.org .