Weekly COVID-19 Updates - May 26, 2020
Keeping You Informed
Robert Hiett
Executive Director
As Key Indicators Remain Stable, North Carolina Moves to Safer At Home Phase 2 

Phase 2, Safer At Home, begins Friday, May 22 at 5 pm

Bars, indoor entertainment venues, gyms, and public playgrounds remain closed; Restaurants, personal care businesses, and pools open with limitations & safety requirements

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?

Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible. 

Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches. 

Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys. 

Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings. 

Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level. 

Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26. 
Register here
News from the NC Pandemic Recovery Office (NCPRO)

We've been asked a lot of questions regarding allowable expenses. We welcome your questions but you may find many of your answers in this guidance from the U.S. Treasury as well as our newly published FAQs (link below). Our new NCPRO website is also up and running! You can find it at  https://ncpro.nc.gov . Please use  ncpro@osbm.nc.gov  to continue to contact us until we can get the office more fully staffed.
 
If you are looking for ideas on how other communities are providing funding assistance or marketing local businesses, the Community Idea Exchange is your resource page.

On the Small Business Recovery page , there are some fantastic NEW Social Media images that a graphic artist designed. You and your businesses can use them on social media sites. We only ask that you do not alter the images. There is also an image that you can have printed for a window cling and a poster for the door of your businesses. 
Free Masks for Employees of Water and Wastewater Systems

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.

This is likely a temporary offer, as FEMA and/or the EPA will request unused masks to be returned. Please submit your requests as soon as possible.

To submit your request, please click  here  and complete the official request form. 
Establishing a Recovery Team

As COVID-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted around the world, it's important to develop plans to reopen government-owned facilities to receive employees and the public. Creating a task force, or a recovery team, of local government employees can help guide and inform how best to reopen your town hall and other local government facilities.
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.


NC Unemployment Insurance Claims

Click below to view the Dashboard and Data Table by county:
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. 

On the National Main Street page there is a very comprehensive Roadmap for Recovery .
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
NCDHHS dashboard now includes COVID-19 cases that are presumed to be “recovered.” 

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.
An Update from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
Regarding CARES Act Appropriations
This month, the N.C. General Assembly appropriated $150 million from the federal CARES Act. However, it was appropriated to counties, not municipalities. That was followed by U.S. Treasury guidance that would allow municipalities to utilize those dollars for more needs, especially related to public safety salaries. 

It is crucial that cities have access to that funding, despite it being under county control. 

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, represented by President Kevin Austin and Executive Director Kevin Leonard, addressed this point in a letter last week. A passage from that letter is below:

Since passage of the bill, we understand there may be a perception among some of our municipal partners that counties will intentionally withhold funds from municipalities. That is not the position held by the NCACC and we know counties are working hard to determine how to best share these funds in an equitable manner. We are aware that an intent of the Assembly was to provide recovery funds to local governments and other authorized non-profit organizations for eligible COVID related expenses. 


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

Protecting nursing home residents : HHS is working to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Today, HHS began distributing nearly $5 billion to help nursing homes combat COVID-19 and this week CMS released new guidance for states and local officials to ensure safe reopening of nursing homes across the country. The guidance details critical steps nursing homes and communities should take prior to relaxing restrictions.

Navigating ACL’s Nutrition Program Guidance : With the number of FAQs and resources we've published to address this rapidly evolving situation, we know it can be difficult to determine which resource you should check to answer a particular question. So we've created a "survival guide" to help you find the resources that best address your questions. The guide is most relevant for OAA III-C programs, but also includes information to help OAA Title III-B and III-E grantees navigate nutrition-related matters.
Watch on demand: We've added two archived webinars that you can watch any time:

  • National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Special Report - Implications of COVID-19: This special nTIDE Lunch & Learn covers the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, its implications on disability employment, emerging bills and policies, and resources for the days ahead nTIDE is a NIDILRR-funded program of the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire.
  • Tools to Provide Counseling Remotely During COVID-19: This webinar covers tools and technology that may be used to provide counseling remotely, including both low-tech and high-tech solutions. The webinar was hosted by the SMP National Resource Center, the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center, the Center for Benefits Access, and ACL

Checking in : We're continuing to collect innovative promising practices from our networks. This week, we added stories of states and senior centers checking-in to help older adults stay safe and connected.

In case you missed it : ​The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is continuing their COVID-19 Rapid Response Network for Nursing Homes daily calls. The 20-minute "huddles" cover the most pressing issues identified by those providing care for nursing home residents.
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:

COVID-19 Resources
FAQs, Legal Guidance, Calendar of Events, and more
 
A s efforts build to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in U.S. communities, the N.C. League of Municipalities has assembled a resource page to aid or complement local governments’ response, along with helpful articles from the League's communications department. 
Please feel free to also email us with additional questions at  covid19@nclm.org .
COVID-19 Cleaning Grants

These grants are meant to help defray some of the costs ​​​​​​​related to professional cleaning/sanitizing of municipal office environments when a positive exposure of COVID-19 has occurred.

Members of the League's Workers' Compensation and Property & Casualty Trusts are eligible to apply for up to $2,500. Grants will be provided to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Cleaning products and PPE are not covered;  read the full 2020 Grant Guidelines

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  
Census 2020: North Carolina Moves Closer to National Average
N.C. Ranks 34th Among States

Across the country, 59.6 percent of people have self-reported as of May 17. In North Carolina, that number is only 55.8 percent .

Keep up to date on North Carolina's progress here , follow the rankings here , and continue your local efforts to increase the count. 
Even in the best of situations, taking care of our mental health is something we tend to push aside. Between work and family obligations, it can become easy to lose sight of centering yourself, but during times like these, self-care is incredibly important.
 
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month , we compiled 42 ideas to help you combat the quarantine blues, from picking up new hobbies and projects to creative ways to stay in touch with loved ones. Check out 42 Ideas to Maintain and Improve Your Mental Health During Quarantine for ways to address your well-being during COVID-19 and beyond.
Previous Weekly Newsletters

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