U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
COVID-19 Information Resource Guide
I have heard from many of you about the concerns you have regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In these difficult times, it is critical that everyone—federal and state officials, organizations, and communities—work together to get through it.
My priority is ensuring the well-being of Delawareans and the American people. As we continue to work in Congress to provide the appropriate resources to our state and local partners to fight the virus, I also want to provide my constituents with the resources they need to help stop the spread.
I will continue to provide regular updates on the COVID-19 response, but for the latest information, visit CDC.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index-sp for Spanish. You can also visit de.gov/coronavirus, or call the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services by dialing Delaware 2-1-1 (1-800-560-3372), 7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or text your ZIP code to 898-211 with social service or health questions.
In addition, the Division of Public Health asks any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential, or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns to email: DPH_PAC@delaware.gov.
Below, I have compiled some practical, and I hope useful, resources for Delawareans. My goal is to help you stay up to date with the latest information and provide you with answers for any questions you may have.
May you stay healthy and safe.
The State of Delaware has opened up the COVID-19 vaccine to all Delawareans 12years or older. Due to increased supply, many locations do not require appointments. You can visit the State of Delaware's Where can I get my vaccine? page for locations and to register for a vaccine if that is required at your chosen location. The Pfizer vaccine is now available to Delawareans 12-15 years old. You can read more information about this age group receiving the vaccine, including where they can get it and fast facts, here. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine please visit the State of Delaware’s vaccine webpage. You can also call the Division of Public Health Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715. If you need an accommodation because of a disability, contact the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 (select option 3), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The call center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The State of Delaware recently launched DE Wins!, a public education and incentive program aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Delaware. Delawareans 12+ vaccinated from May 25-June 29, and any Delawarean ages 12-17 vaccinated to date will have the opportunity to win prizes and raffles. Read more about the program here.
Mental Health Resources
In what is an incredibly stressful time for many Americans, it is important to maintain and manage mental health. The CDC has published guidelines to help you ensure your mental health—as well as your physical health—is a priority. For more mental health resources, please go here. Below, you will find a list of mental health resources to assist you during these times. If you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction or mental health emergency, call DHSS’ 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE.
We all have a responsibility to prevent COVID-19 from spreading as much as we can. Upon recommendations from the CDC and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Delawareans should take the commonsense measures listed below to protect themselves and their families:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Rely on trusted sources like the Delaware Division of Public Health, DHSS, and the CDC.
- Individuals who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider. If you or a loved one is sick, please call your health care provider, or DHSS at 2-1-1 if you do not have a health care provider, prior to going to the doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center.
- Practice social distancing, maintaining six feet of distance from other people, if it is necessary to leave your home.
- The State of Delaware relaxed the mask requirement and social distancing guidelines in Delaware on Friday, May 21, 2021. If you have not yet been vaccinated, the CDC still recommends social distancing and mask-wearing.
- The CDC recently issued new mask guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated. You can visit the CDC's website to read about choosing COVID safe activities.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/what-delawareans-can-do.
If you or a loved one is sick, please call your health care provider or DHSS at 2-1-1, if you do not have a health care provider, prior to going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center.
COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms, some similar to the common cold, such as a cough, fever, or shortness of breath. The CDC guidance on symptoms can be found here. If you develop emergency warning signs—they include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face –call 9-1-1 immediately.
Even as the vaccine reaches more and more people every day, it is still critical that we stay vigilant against COVID-19. Testing is widely available in Delaware. To find a testing location, please go here.
Assistance for Workers
In Congress, my colleagues and I have passed, and the President has signed into law, four bills to assist Americans dealing with the economic consequences of COVID-19. On December 21, 2020, Congress passed a third bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill to provide more direct payments to Americans and expand unemployment benefits. On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law to provide resources to defeat the virus, get vaccines in people’s arms, put money into families’ pockets, return children safely to the classroom, and put Americans back to work.
· Unemployment Benefits: The State of Delaware expanded the eligibility for Unemployment Benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to removing the waiting week to receive benefits. Delawareans can apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits here and find an FAQ sheet from the Delaware Department of Labor.
· Food Assistance: Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services can help those without the resources to purchase food. Click here to view locations for school children to receive free meals they would have received organizations have committed to helping Delawareans maintain access to food during this time. at school.
· Rent Assistance: If you have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, you can apply for rental assistance here.
· Paid Sick Leave: For information on COVID-19-related tax credits for paid sick leave, click here.
· Assistance for Non-Profits: For loans available to non-profits, please click here. Non-profits are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. Go here for more information.
· Funeral Assistance: The American Rescue Plan created a funeral assistance program for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Though no amount of money can bring back a loved one, I hope that this funding can ease some of the financial burden families are facing. You can read more about the program on FEMA’s website. To apply, you must call 844-684-6333 or TTY: 800-462-7585 Monday-Friday 9 AM-9 PM EDT.
We will continue to work on legislation that addresses the ever-evolving health and economic repercussions of this virus.
Assistance for Small Businesses
During this uncertain time, small businesses are some of the most impacted economically. Below are resources specifically for small businesses. We will continue to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on small businesses. For more information, please visit https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/.
· The Delaware Division of Small Business has compiled comprehensive resources for grants and loans available to Delaware businesses and non-profits, which can be found here.
· The Small Business Administration (SBA) loan resources and guidance specifically for COVID-19 can be found here. Visit Delaware’s SBA website at www.sba.gov/offices/district/de/wilmington.
· Apply here for a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration.
· The CARES Act created loans through a new SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can be forgiven when used for payroll costs (including paid leave, health care, and other costs) to retain workers, and other expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. Independent contractors, sole-proprietors, and other self-employed persons are eligible for these loans. The PPP closed for new applicants on May 31, 2021. Please check back often for the latest updates. Borrowers may still be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness, click here to learn more.
· For an FAQ for lenders and borrowers of the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.
· The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared a small business owner’s guide to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), click here to read more.
· Click here to visit my Small Business Resource page for further information.
· The Delaware Division of Small Business is offering funds to small businesses and non-profits in the hospitality industry affected by COVID-19. To learn more about and to apply for the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP), please click here.
· New Castle County and the State of Delaware have joined together to assist small businesses and nonprofits in Delaware to create the Delaware Relief Grants from CARES Act funding. You can learn more about these grants and apply here.
· The American Rescue Plan established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to assist eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses. You can visit the SBA’s website for more information or to apply.
· The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Apply and get further information here.
· The SBA has created a summary of the criteria to qualify for their various assistance programs, which can be viewer here.
Economic Impact Payments
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created the first round of direct payments for the American people as they deal with the economic effects of COVID-19. A third round was issued on March 11, 2021, in the American Rescue Plan. If you did not receive your first or second check, you will need to file the Recovery Rebate Credit to claim it on your 2020 tax return. You may contact my office for any questions you have regarding your EIP.
- The United States Treasury and the IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries who typically do not file a tax return will not be required to file one to receive their Economic Impact Payment. For more information from the IRS, please click here.
- Individuals who typically do not file taxes, can go here for more information and to register to receive their payment.
- The American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, issued the third round of Economic Impact Payments. You can find questions and answers on the third payments here.
- The IRS and Treasury recently launched a new tool to track your Economic Impact Payment, which you can access here: irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
- For an FAQ on the Economic Impact Payments, including information on the ‘Get My Payment’ page, click here.
- Your payment may be sent via prepaid debit cards in unmarked envelopes from the IRS. For information on these prepaid debit cards, you can go here: www.eipcard.com.
- If you were eligible and did not receive either of the first two full Economic Impact Payment amounts, you needed to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return to receive it.
Education and Childcare
The most up-to-date State of Delaware guidance on childcare, schools, and universities can be found here.
The State of Delaware has permitted schools to be open in a hybrid scenario. The decision on whether to operate in a hybrid scenario or virtually has been left up to the individual school districts. Please consult your school district’s website to find more information your child’s school. You can also visit the Delaware Department of Education’s website for more information.
The Delaware Department of Education has provided several resources to deal with the extended period of time students will not be attending school.
· Child Nutrition Sites: Click here to view locations for school children to receive free meals they would have received at school. For Spanish, click here. For Haitian Creole, click here.
· Free Learning Activities: Free learning activities for students can be accessed here.
All Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices are closed to the public for in-person visits but will remain open for phone and online service. This may lead to delays in service, but benefits will not be affected. While SSA offices are closed to the public, you can still call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Please go to www.ssa.gov/coronavirus or www.socialsecurity.gov/ask for more information.
The CDC has issued guidance recommending you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Don’t travel if you are sick or someone in your travel party is sick. You can read more about CDC domestic travel guidelines here.
If you have been vaccinated, you can review the CDC’s travel guidelines here.
For international travel, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid international travel, if possible, due to the global impact of COVID-19. To access the latest travel advisories from the State Department, go to the State Department's Website. Read about the CDC’s international travel guidelines here.
In Delaware, price gouging during a State of Emergency is illegal. Please report any incidents of price gouging, scams, or fraud by filling out a consumer complaint form, along with sending supporting documentation to email@example.com. Please call the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection hotline, 1-800-220-5424, with any further questions. Click here to read more about what you can do to avoid scams.
Information on Delaware Correctional Facilities
Delaware Department of Corrections is taking precautions to protect their staff, individuals in their custody, and officers. To learn more about the actions being taken by the Delaware Department of Corrections you can visit their website here. To contact the Department directly with questions or if you need assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important that we all stay informed about COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has compiled a list of COVID-19 related myths here. You can access myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccine from the CDC here.
Updates from State of Delaware
Please go to news.delaware.gov for the most recent COVID-19 updates from the State of Delaware.