Opinion

Questions about COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

As the situation in Iowa rapidly changes in response to the spread of COVID-19, I am getting a lot of questions about what resources exist to help Iowans who have been affected.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has put together a number of resources for both businesses and employees affected by COVID-19. This includes a small business relief program, information on the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance program, Community Development Block Grant funds to support infectious disease response, and unemployment related to the pandemic. All of this information can be found by going to iowabusinessrecovery.com.

Additionally, Iowa Workforce Development has a lot of information and resources on unemployment insurance on their website, iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/COVID-19. If you contact them for questions or information, I encourage you to be patient. People all over our state are calling and they are receiving a very high volume of calls. I know they are trying to be helpful to every Iowan in their time of need.

If you are looking for other resources, and not sure where to go, the Iowa Senate Republicans have put together a web page with links to various state agencies and departments and their information on COVID-19. This site includes updates from the governor's office, tax information, and links to the above information. Please visit iowasenaterepublicans.com/covid-19-resources or contact me with questions you may have.

I have also gotten many questions on the availability of testing for coronavirus. The decision on whether or not to administer a test is made by a doctor following the guidance of the CDC. Since this virus is new, it took time to develop and replicate the tests and the quantity of tests is limited. As a result, only individuals who meet certain criteria are allowed to receive a test.

The volume of testing will continue to increase as more and more tests are produced. Another concern is the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health care workers from the contagion while working. The White House has called on private-sector companies to ramp up production of these safety items. The state of Iowa is engaged with federal partners, state agencies, and health care facilities to help meet the needs of health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic.

For more information on what is happening with COVID-19 in Iowa and across the country, here are additional resources you can use:

coronavirus.iowa.gov

cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index

idph.iowa.gov/emerging-health-issues/novel-coronavirus

dhs.iowa.gov/COVID19

A hotline has been set up for Iowans to call with COVID-19 related questions. It is available 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

The State of Iowa is doing whatever it can to help Iowans through this crisis. At the federal level, they are also working on a legislative package to help citizens and assist those who have been affected. Please stay home if you are feeling sick, wash your hands, check on your neighbors, and as always email me with your questions or concerns as we navigate this crisis together.