A Message from Rep. Lori Trahan About the Coronavirus
I take the health and safety of each individual and family I represent seriously, and as such, I am fighting in Congress to make sure our heroes fighting on the front lines have the resources they need to mount a comprehensive response to COVID-19. To learn more about the latest on COVID-19 and the reopening plan for Massachusetts, please visit mass.gov/COVID19 for live updates.
My team and I are working around the clock to help coordinate our response to COVID-19 at the local, state, and federal levels, and to get information to you as quickly as possible. I will regularly update this page with both federal and Massachusetts-specific resources so you can stay informed and up-to-date.
I have asked my staff to telework until further notice, closing our offices to visitors for the time being. I want you to know that we remain committed to taking your calls (audio or video), answering your emails, and working hard on behalf of our community whenever and wherever we can. The health and safety of you and your loved ones is my top priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call my Lowell office at 978-459-0101.
Below you will find additional information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy for the duration of this outbreak. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for frequent updates.
Massachusetts has an active inter-agency working group working to ensure an equitable and speedy distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to Massachusetts communities. View the latest vaccine updates in MA below, including the vaccine prioritization plan, frequently asked questions, and information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).Click HERE to learn more.
If you are currently eligible to be vaccinated, visit vaxfinder.mass.gov.
COVID-19 TOWN HALLS
You can listen to all of our COVID-19 Tele-Town Halls HERE:
A family can go through soap, paper goods, feminine products, and diapers pretty quick. Check your supply.
If you take prescription medication, don’t forget your next refill.
Need new contact lenses? Is that hearing-aid battery running low? Think through over the counter medicines next time you are at the pharmacy.
Mental health matters. Break out your favorite books, games, and household activities from the attic.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please visit the CDC website for an updated list as we learn more about COVID-19.
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
IF YOU ARE SICK
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. If you are sick, here are some helpful tips to prevent spreading the illness.
Stay home except for medical care
Separate yourself from people and animals at home
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
Wear a facemask if you are sick
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Clean your hands often
Avoid sharing personal items
Clean and disinfect surfaces
Monitor your symptoms
The CDC is encouraging all Americans to take the following everyday preventive actions, much like you would during a standard severe flu season. Please visit the CDC website for more recommendations and information.
It is critical to remember that adherence to these simple practices could save lives:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Facemasks should be worn when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Supporting Clinicians, Patients and the Public
Phone Number: (617) 724-7000
Open 8:00 am - 8:00 pm, 7 days a week
If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider.
To find food resources in your community, call the FoodSource Hotline.
Phone Number: 1 (800) 645-8333
TTY 1 (800) 377-1292
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
The FDA Office of Legislation would like to bring to your attention the following Constituent Update regarding best practices for consumers shopping for food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact Matt Lockeed at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Thank you.
Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Consumers
As grocery shopping remains a necessity during this pandemic, many people have questions about how to shop safely. We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food.
Although your grocery store may be temporarily out of certain products, there are no nationwide shortages of food. Food production and manufacturing are spread throughout the United States. During this pandemic, consumers are getting most of their food from grocery stores, and many stores have modified their operating hours to allow for more time to restock shelves and clean. In addition, many stores are providing special hours for seniors or other high-risk individuals to shop and are offering pick-up and delivery services. Check the store’s website or call the store to learn more.
To help protect yourself, grocery store workers, and other shoppers, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
Prepare a shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks-worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.
Wear a face covering or mask while you are in the store. Some stores and localities may require it. Check your state, county or city guidelines for any other requirements.
Carry your own wipes, or use one provided by the store to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket. If you use reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned or washed before each use.
Practice social distancing while shopping – keeping at least 6 feet between you, other shoppers, and store employees.
Keep your hands away from your face.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you return home and again after you put away your groceries.
Again, there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution.
As always, it is important to follow these food safety practices to help prevent foodborne illness:
Before eating, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush. For canned goods, remember to clean lids before opening.
When unpacking groceries, refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables—like berries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms—within 2 hours of purchasing.
Regularly clean and sanitize kitchen counters using a commercially available disinfectant product or a DIY sanitizing solution with 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. WARNING: Do not use this solution or other disinfecting products on food.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has activated their Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), which provides assistance to eligible businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. EIDLs provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2M to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses until normal operations resume.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses; non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon ability to repay. Any affected small businesses or non-profits, should download and submit the EIDL worksheet below (survey is NOT application).
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The CARES Act was enacted on March 27th, to provide immediate emergency relief to small businesses that are facing economic disruptions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Act created a forgivable loan program and an emergency grant program for small businesses and eligible nonprofits. To help navigate these new federal programs and access accurate information, please find below a compilation of resources.
Click here to access the Small Business Guide to the Coronavirus, which provides detailed information about each CARES program.
The CARES Act provided $275 million for SBA’s Resource Partners to provide vital guidance and expertise to small business owners and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. Small Business Development Centers,Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE counselors are available to help guide small businesses with their specific questions about their eligibility and the application process. To connect a small business with a local resource partner for COVID-19 advice please click here.
SBA COVID-19 Programs
Click here to learn more about SBA’s programs and how to apply.
Paycheck Protection Program
In order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will offer PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, February 24 through Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 5pm ET. President Biden has also announced additional program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides up to $10 million in federally guaranteed, low-interest loans, to small businesses and eligible non-profits. Importantly, the loans can be 100% forgiven if borrowers rehire and retain employees in the 8 weeks following receipt of the loans.
On April 2, the Small Business Administration issued an interim final rule on the Paycheck Protection Act. The interim final rule lays out additional guidelines and requirements for the PPP. The rule sets the interest rate on loans at 1%, establishes a two-year maturity, (notwithstanding the 10-year maturity allowed by the CARES Act) and institutes a new 75-25 forgiveness rule. The forgiveness rule states that 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll costs and not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be used for nonpayroll costs, such as, rent, utilities and other financial losses. Additional SBA guidance on the loan forgiveness provision is expected soon. Click here to access Treasury Department fact sheet on the frequently asked questions about the Paycheck Protection Program Loans.
For additional Treasury Department guidance, including the supplemental guidance on the affiliation rules for the Paycheck Protection Program, please click here. Under the CARES Act, the affiliation rules were waived for businesses that: fall under NAICS code 72; are franchisees; or are businesses that receive/d funding from a Small Business Investment Company.
The SBA also waived the affiliation rules for faith-based organizations. To learn more, about faith-based organizations’ eligibility to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, click here for SBA’s Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The SBA’s EIDL program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Small businesses and eligible nonprofits can request an emergency advance up to $10,000, which by law must be disbursed in three days and does not need to be paid back. To apply click here.
Federal Reserve and the Paycheck Protection Program
On April 6, the Federal Reserve issued a statement that it would establish a lending facility for banks providing Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses, incentivizing smaller banks to participate in the program. The Federal Reserve would purchase loans from banks and lenders, freeing up cash to issue new loans. Other actions can be found here.
On April 9, the Federal Reserve took additional steps to support the economy by injecting another $2.3 trillion in financing into businesses and state, county, and local governments. To ensure credit flows to mid-size businesses, the Federal Reserve will purchase up to $600 billion in loans through the Main Street Business Lending Program to help medium size businesses. Loans ranging between $1 million and $25 million will be offered to businesses with up to $10,000 employees and $2.5 billion in revenues. To learn more click here.
Our nation's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.
Additional Funding Notice: The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT.
With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queueon a first come, first-served basis.
We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible.
To learn more about the relief options available for your business, click here.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify for regular UC or EB under state or federal law or PEUC. These individuals will not be able to claim benefits directly through the UI Online System in Massachusetts, as of this time. The Department of Unemployment Assistance has engaged a vendor to build a new platform to disburse PUA benefits. The platform is expected to begin accepting PUA claims on or around April 30, 2020. Eligible claimants under PUA will be retroactively compensated with this benefit beginning February 2, 2020, or the first week a claimant was unable to work as a result of COVID-19, whichever date is later. The last week this benefit is payable is the week ending December 26, 2020.
Next Steps For Claimants: Eligible claimants should continue to check for updates at mass.gov/unemployment/covid-19 on the new platform, which will be ready this month. Once the system is up and running, eligible claimants will receive this benefit backdated to February 2, 2020, or the first week a claimant was unable to work as a result of COVID-19.
The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits. The first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last payable week is the week ending December 26, 2020. The Department of Unemployment Assistance is awaiting additional federal guidance on how to implement and administer this program and the extended weeks of PEUC benefits are not yet available.
Next Steps For Claimants: No action at this time. Eligible claimants should continue to check for updates, which will be made available as soon as the state receives information from the federal government.
Veterans can use the VA's “Keep Me Informed” tool to learn more about the specifics of the VA vaccine plan here, and sign up for email updates from the VA here. If you are already receiving care through a local VA clinic, you will be contacted when you are eligible to receive the vaccine.
As vaccines become available for more groups of veterans, VA care teams will reach out to VA-enrolled Veterans to schedule vaccinations. There is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up.
If you are not enrolled in VA Health Care but are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the VA’s Eligibility page to determine eligibility for VA Health Care and start the enrollment process.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many veterans have been asking questions about what the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its medical facilities are doing to protect and care for veterans during the outbreak.
Since this situation is evolving rapidly, we encourage veterans and their families to consult VA’s Website for the most current information. Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s Facility Locator Tool.
The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs is in daily communication with VA leadership and has put together a resource page for veterans.
For mental health resources, click the image below!
Student Discovery Sets are free on iBooks – Put primary sources in your children’s hands. The Library of Congress Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics from history, to science, to literature.
Be a virtual volunteer – Anyone can contribute. Improve access to history by transcribing, reviewing, and tagging Library of Congress documents through our crowdsourcing initiative, By the People.
Read classic children's books online – Turn the pages to explore bygone eras, time-honored tales and historical narratives. Adventure awaits in these classic books online.
For even more virtual arts & culture, check out Google's Arts & Culture website
A Nursing Home Family Resource Line has been established by the State of Massachusetts at 617-660-5399. The line establishes one central contact for family members of nursing home and rest home residents and will help answer questions about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Call any time 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week.
Carlisle Council on Aging: 978-371-2895. Staff are available to answer questions and provide certain non-essential forms of assistance.
Concord Council on Aging: (978) 318-3020. While the COA is closed, COA staff are able to discuss a variety of topics including social service needs, assistance in gathering supplies, potential grocery delivery desires and any other personal or family needs one may have.
Acton Senior Center: 978-929-6652. While the COA is closed, staff are available to answer questions and provide assistance. Additionally, the Senior Center is providing pre-packaged lunches to Acton seniors in lieu of their usual congregate meals. Call 781-221-7085 to learn more.
Chelmsford Senior Center: 978-251-0533. Staff are available to answer questions and provide certain non-essential forms of assistance.
A number of grocery stores are reserving shopping periods for individuals 60 and over, immunocompromised, and individuals with disabilities. The list is as follows:
Stop&Shop: 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m daily
Roche Brothers: 7am to 8am daily
Market Basket: 6am to 7am daily
Shaws and Star Market: 7am to 9am Tuesday & Thursday
Lawrence General Hospital: Lawrence General Hospital now has two new COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) community screening resources where patients, families, and providers in the community can obtain an assessment of their COVID-19 risk, possible need for testing, and recommendations for next steps: BY PHONE: The Lawrence General Hospital COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) Community Screening line is staffed by one of our nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by calling us at 978-946-8409. In an effort to reduce transmission, we ask that individuals call the screening line prior to seeking COVID-19 screening at the hospital; unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. ONLINE: The community can also use Lawrence General’s new online screening tool, where you’ll be prompted to answer several questions and will be contacted by a nurse for follow-up guidance. Access at: https://bit.ly/38HqJsz.
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation has established a fund to help communities in Greater Lowell seeking to cover unexpected costs, like portable sinks, antibacterial supplies, lunch bags and supplies, and prepackaged food.