Chautauqua County Health and Human Services DAILY Updates

Updated 4-22-20 Businesses Requesting Reopening Plans
Chautauqua County Asks Businesses to Look to Future and Develop Reopening Plans

Small Business Owners Guide to The CARES Act
Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce - COVID-19 and the Workplace
Questions & Answers About COVID-19 (Fox News)
NYS Empire State Development Workforce Reduction Guidance
NYS Department of Agriculture COVID-19 Updates


Mayors and Supervisors:

 

Below please find a press release from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, which also serves as today’s COVID-19 Update.  

 

Thanks,

Amanda

 

                                   

COVID-19 Claims First Chautauqua County Resident

 

Resident dies in out of state hospital

 

MAYVILLE, N.Y.: – The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services was notified today of the death of a County resident due to complications of COVID-19.  The deceased was an elderly gentleman in his 80’s who underwent COVID-19 testing and treatment at a hospital in Erie, PA. 

 

As of today, Chautauqua County has a total of eight (8) confirmed cases of COVID-19; including one death. The other seven individuals are recovering at home. Today’s numbers:

 

  • 21 individuals in Mandatory Quarantine (individuals confirmed positive of COVID-19 or a household contact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case);
  • 32 individuals in Precautionary Quarantine (individuals with travel history to CDC level 3 country or proximal contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19);
  • 18 individuals in Mandatory Isolation (individuals who are symptomatic of COVID-19 and are pending COVID-19 lab test);
  • 98 negative test results to date; and
  • 1 Death.

Chautauqua County Public Health staff performs an intensive investigation to identify close contacts of all confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.  Following guidance from NYSDOH, contact tracing begins on the day the person with the positive test started having symptoms.  NYSDOH deems this the beginning of the infectious period.  Once identified, our department notifies the close contacts of their potential exposure to COVID-19 and they are placed under mandatory or precautionary quarantine to monitor for symptoms.  If you do not personally hear from a public health nurse, you are not a close contact of an individual who has been confirmed to have COVID-19.  Per NYSDOH, close contact refers to a person who cared for or lived with a person with COVID-19.  It does not include activities such as walking by a person or sitting across a waiting room or office for a brief time.

 

There continues to be a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns, collection swabs, and viral transport media supplies.  As such, it is critical that laboratory testing be prioritized for hospitalized patients and ill health care workers and nursing homes residents.  PPE must be appropriately utilized by the appropriate people. It is critical that we protect our healthcare workforce. 

 

Any resident experiencing a fever, with cough or shortness of breath should call your health care provider first for guidance.  (DO NOT show up at their office, Urgent Care, or ER before calling). If symptoms are severe and/or you require an ambulance for transport, call 911 and notify the operator of your severe respiratory symptoms.

 

If you are overwhelmed right now, the NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is staffed by specially trained volunteers who can help.  Reach Out 1-844-863-9314.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 around the world has led to the spread of fear and panic for individuals and communities. In addition to following physical precautions guidelines, individuals should be taking care of their psychological well-being.  The guide at this link includes tips for the general population, individuals receiving mental health services, parents, caregivers of older adults, and mental health providers: https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-managing-stress-anxiety.pdf

 

The Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team continues to meet daily during this pandemic to stay up-to-date on rapidly changing situations.  They ask that you do your part:

 

·                 Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and wash them more frequently throughout the day;

·                 Avoid touching your face;

·                 Cover your coughs or sneezes;

·                 Avoid close contact with others by keeping a distance of six feet;

·                 Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and

·                 Stay home and avoid contact with others if you are sick.

For additional information, you can call the NYS Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or Chautauqua County DHHS at 1-866-604-6789.

 

To follow the most current information on COVID-19, please visit the County, CDC or NYSDOH at:

https://www.chqgov.com;

https://www.facebook.com/myhealthycounty

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

####

 

 Amanda Gallagher

Administrative Aide

Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

Gerace Office Building

3 North Erie St.

Mayville, NY 14757

(716) 753-4211

Fax: (716) 753-4756



CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY OFFICIALS PROVIDE UPDATE ON COVID-19

 

Two New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in County

 

Residents Urged to Stay Home and Stay Safe

 

 

MAYVILLE, N.Y.: -- On March 27, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel and Department of Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler provided an update on the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) in Chautauqua County.

 

COVID-19 is an infection associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness. If spread in the population, COVID-19 could have significant public health consequences. 

 

As of March 27, Chautauqua County has five confirmed cases of COVID-19, with two new positive tests reported today. These new cases include:

 

  • A man in his 60s, with recent travel to the New York City area; and
  •  A woman in her 30s, with no recent travel.

 

Based on the initial review of each case by Health Department epidemiology staff, these individuals appear to have had separate exposures to the novel coronavirus.  One of the individuals had been previously hospitalized.

 

Both of these individuals will continue to recover at home under mandatory isolation as ordered by the Local Health Official per NYS Public Health Law.

 

“Chautauqua County Public Health staff has begun an intensive investigation to identify close contacts of these two residents, who have now tested positive for COVID-19,” said Schuyler. “Once identified, our department will notify the close contacts of their potential exposure to COVID-19 and they will be placed under mandatory or precautionary quarantine to monitor for symptoms.”

 

In addition, there are several individuals who have received isolation and quarantine orders by the Public Health Director. This includes:

  • 16 individuals in Mandatory Quarantine (individuals confirmed positive of COVID-19 or a household contact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case);

 

  • 38 individuals in Precautionary Quarantine (individuals with travel history to CDC level 3 country or proximal contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19);

 

  • 49 individuals in Mandatory Isolation (individuals who are symptomatic of COVID-19 and are pending COVID-19 lab test); and

 

  • 66 negative test results to date.

 

 

“We urge residents to please stay home and stay safe,” said Wendel. “Please limit your trips to the grocery store to only once a week if possible, remember to use social distancing, and avoid gatherings. Not being able to see our loved ones can be hard on all of us, but there are still ways we can safely stay connected. We can still keep in touch with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members and others in our community through phone calls, texting, emails, video conferencing, and social media. I ask that all residents please be responsible citizens by doing their part to prevent the spread of this disease in our community, especially among the elderly and those who are at high risk for having complications with COVID-19.”

 

To help prevent the spread of disease, the public is reminded to:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and wash them more frequently throughout the day;
  • Avoid touching your face;
  • Cover your coughs or sneezes;
  • Avoid close contact with others by keeping a distance of six feet, especially around people who are sick;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • Work from home if you can;
  • If you are 60 years of age or older, have serious medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, or have a chronic medical condition (no matter what age), you are at high risk. Individuals who meet any of the above criteria should avoid groups of people including small family gatherings and stay in their homes as much as possible.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others. Talk to your health care provider if you want to be tested for COVID-19. Talk to your health care provider before you visit a clinic or hospital emergency department.
  • Only if your symptoms are severe or you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, call 911 and the 911 dispatcher will screen your call per established protocol.

 

Wendel also reported that the County’s COVID-19 Response Team continues to meet daily during this pandemic.

 

“As we work to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents, we have begun to look at the economic impact that COVID-19 will have on our local economy,” said Wendel. “As a result, we have engaged the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth and will focus on an economic recovery resiliency as well as move forward with our health and safety.”

 

Wendel also mentioned that Chautauqua County has extended the time period delinquent property owners will have to pay property taxes to avoid the County’s current real property tax foreclosure. The deadline has been moved from April 15, 2020 to June 18, 2020, which is consistent with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 20 executive order.

 

“Although these are taxes that have been owed for over two years, full and fair treatment of our citizens requires we recognize the current issues of economic uncertainty and the directive that we should be avoiding unnecessary in-person contact,” said Wendel.

 

Effective March 30, 2020, the Real Property Tax Department will also be closed for walk-in payments. For more information or to find out the amount owing, the public is encouraged to call the office at (716) 753-4221.

 

Residents are also encouraged to continue to check for daily updates on COVID-19 in our county by visiting the COVID-19 page of the Chautauqua County website at chqgov.com, Chautauqua County Health Department Facebook page at www.facebook.com/myhealthycounty/ , and Chautauqua County Government Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chautauquacountygovernment. Daily COVID-19 updates are also emailed directly to the “Monday Morning Memo” distribution list. Individuals can sign-up to receive these alerts by email, by going to chqgov.com and under the County Executive’s page signing up under the Monday Morning Memo Newsletter tab.  

 

###

 

 Amanda Gallagher

Administrative Aide

Office of the Chautauqua County Executive

Gerace Office Building

3 North Erie St.

Mayville, NY 14757

(716) 753-4211

Fax: (716) 753-4756



Thank you to all who able to join us during our call today. We appreciate the continued communication and feedback with regards to what you are all facing on the ground. As a follow-up to the call, I wanted to provide additional information about the "Phase 3" Coronavirus package that passed the Senate last night. We are also working on compiling answers to the questions that were asked today and will send that information around tomorrow. If you have additional questions, please feel free to send them our way.

 

Small Business Provisions

  • Paycheck Protection: Forgiveness For Small Business Loans for Keeping Employees: Through the SBA’s existing 7(a) loan program, the bill creates a “paycheck protection program” for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Paycheck Protection Program” would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.
  • Flexibility with Disaster Loans: Businesses that have already taken advantage of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans will have the opportunity to “re-finance” those loans into the “paycheck protection program”. 
  • Debt Relief: For six months, SBA is required to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for six months.

 

Tax Provisions

  • Money for American families. A one-time check of $1,200 per individual and $500 per child for those with a valid SSN. There are no earned income or tax liability requirements to receive these rebate checks. The full rebate amount is available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for married couples. The rebate amount phases out after those income levels. 
  • Loosens Rules on Retirement Accounts. A temporary pause for 2020 on the mandatory minimum distributions from retirement accounts allowing capital to stay invested instead of being forced to cash out. The bill also waives the 10% penalty on coronavirus-related early distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs, which applies to distributions up to $100,000 made at any time during 2020.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit: Employers that face closure orders or suffer economic hardship due to the coronavirus crisis that continue to pay employees that are furloughed may be eligible for a 50% credit on up to $10,000 of wages paid to those employees. 
  • Delays Payroll Tax Payments for Employers: Employers would be able to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, leading to approximately $300 billion of extra cash flow for businesses.
  • Restores Supports for Businesses Suffering Losses: The bill also allows businesses to carry back losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 to the previous 5 years, which will allow businesses access to immediate tax refunds.
  • Encourages Businesses to Invest in Improvements: The bill would fix cost recovery for investments in Qualified Improvement Properties, which will allow businesses that made these investments in 2018 and 2019 and receive tax refunds now.

 

Unemployment Provisions

  • Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Temporarily expands unemployment benefits to cover the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, etc. during the public health emergency. The bill also includes support to state and local governments and nonprofits so they can pay unemployment to their employees.
  • More Money for a Longer Period for More Workers: Adds a $600/week across-the-board payment increase through the end of July. In addition, for those who need it, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow.

 

Coronavirus Relief Fund

  • Additional State Emergency Funding: $150 billion to States, Territories, and Tribal governments to use for expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 in the face of revenue declines, allocated by population proportions.

 

Additional Emergency Relief

  • $425 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments in support of lending facilities established by the Federal Reserve for the purpose of providing liquidity to businesses, states, or municipalities through purchasing obligations or other interests directly from issuers of such obligations or other interests.
  • The bill cuts red tape to ensure that banks have room to provide the resources businesses need.

 

Additional Funding of Existing Programs

  • The Rural Business Cooperative Service is receiving an additional $20.5 million to facilitate making $1 billion in lending authority available for the Business and Industry loan guarantee program, which provides financing to business owners that might not be able to qualify for a loan on their own.
  • The Reconnect Pilot is receiving $100 million to provides grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
  • The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) receives $5 billion to provide communities and states with funding to provide a wide range of resources to address COVID-19, such as services for senior citizens, the homeless, and public health services. Funding will be distributed using the CDBG formula.
  • The Dislocated Worker National Reserve is receiving $345 million to help states and communities to respond to the workforce impacts and layoffs resulting from the coronavirus.
  • State and Local Preparedness Grants receive $1.5 billion in designated funding for state and local preparedness and response activities. When combined with the first supplemental, Congress has provided $2.5 billion for state and local needs.
  • The Child Care and Development Block Grant receives $3.5 billion in grants to states for immediate assistance to child care providers to prevent them from going out of business and to otherwise support child care for families, including for healthcare workers, first responders, and others playing critical roles during this crisis.
  • The Community Services Block Grant program receives $1 billion in direct funding to local community-based organizations to provide a wide-range of social services and emergency assistance for those who need it most.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receives $15.51 billion to provide additional funding for SNAP to cover waiver authorities granted in H.R. 6201 and anticipated increases in participation as a result of coronavirus. 
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program receives $450 million to provide additional funding for commodities and distribution of emergency food assistance through community partners, including food banks.
  • Veteran Affairs receives $14.4 billion to support increased demand for healthcare services at VA facilities and through telehealth, including the purchase of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits, and personal protective equipment. Also enables VA to provide additional support for vulnerable veterans, including through programs to assist homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless veterans, as well as within VA-run nursing homes and community living centers.

 

Specific Health Appropriations:

  • $100 billion to hospitals and other health care providers through a new program. The bill provides wide latitude to the Administration to determine program parameters. We believe HHS will hire a third-party claims processor, similar to a Medicare Administrative Contractor. This processor will use criteria, outlined by HHS, to determine (1) eligibility of provider, (2) justifiability of amount, (3) amount of claim, (4) payment, and any other information determined by HHS. We also assume there will be an administrative appeals process. We do not know specifics yet as this is a new program. 
  • $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts
  • $11 billion to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus. 
  • $4.3 billion to the CDC to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus
  • $185 million through HRSA to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs 
  • $200 million for CMS for priorities like assisting nursing homes with infection control and support states’ efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes
  • $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to community health centers on the front lines of testing and treating patients for COVID-19.
  • $340 million for rural broadband and telehealth infrastructure, as well as telemedicine initiatives.

 

Thank you.

 

Alison M. Hunt

District Director

Congressman Tom Reed

89 West Market Street

Corning, NY 14830

607-654-7566



Thank you to those who were able to join our calls last Friday. We wanted to send you information on some of the questions that were asked during the calls. While the Senate legislation isn’t finalized, once we know more we will share that information with you as well.

 

Unemployment Insurance

  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s guidance on unemployment insurance provides significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: 
    • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; 
    • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and 
    • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Extension of benefits:
    • Laid-off workers are allowed to receive regular unemployment benefits for as long as 26 weeks in New York.
    • After exhausting those benefits, individuals in states with rising unemployment can qualify for an additional 13 weeks of benefits through the Extended Benefits program. New York state has not yet qualified for these Extended Benefits, but will post the information online once it is available.
  • Eligible employees: Currently, the self-employed and independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, discussions are currently happening in Congress to temporarily expand benefits to these individuals.
  • Resources:

 

Paid Sick and Family Leave

  • Both the federal government and New York state are requiring certain employers to provide paid sick and family leave to their employees.
  • The question was raised regarding how the federal tax credit will interact with the state requirements
    • Answer: to the extent that the two requirements overlap, the federal tax credit will cover the costs imposed by the state requirements. However, where the state requirements go beyond the federal requirements (whether in time of leave of wage amount covered), the federal tax credit will not cover those expenses.

 

Essential Businesses

  • Governor Cuomo announced an executive order implanting a policy that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22.
  • Guidance from New York state regarding “essential businesses” can be found here.

 

“Phase 3” Update

  • The White House, House of Representatives, and the Senate are currently in discussions to finalize a third piece of legislation to provide additional relief and resources to individuals, businesses, and state and local governments. These discussions are very fluid, and we will be sure to provide additional information as soon as we can.

 

 

Thank you for all you are doing in our communities.



Chautauqua County Department of Human Resources
 

Dear Agencies,

 

In a continuing effort to support all of your agencies during this unprecedented time, the Chautauqua County Department of Human Resources will be closed for public access and working with limited staff. We have also postponed our Chautauqua County Civil Service Exams scheduled to be held in Mayville, NY on March 21, 2020 and March 28, 2020. At this time we are unable to provide an alternate test date but will keep you updated with any new information.

 

Please contact Francine Emley via email or phone at Emleyf@co.chautauqua.ny.us or 753-4684 for any needs at this time. We will make every effort to address those needs in a timely manner.

 

Thank you,

 

Jessica Wisniewski, Director

Department of Human Resources

Chautauqua County



Congressman Tom Reed

Good afternoon friends,

We wanted to reach out and provide you all with the most current information regarding assistance for small businesses and individuals that you can be shared with all of your contacts. As additional resources are determined or availalbe, we will send follow-ups. We are all in this together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

Thank you.

 

Alison M. Hunt

District Director

Congressman Tom Reed

89 West Market Street

Corning, NY 14830

607-654-7566

www.Reed.house.gov