In this update:
How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown
While we are still not having in-person office visits or taking in-person meetings, our offices are handling constituent-related issues during this time.
Here are the various ways you can contact me:
District Office – 717-741-4648 (leave a voicemail)
Capitol Office – 717-787-7085 (leave a voicemail)
Email – SenatorKristin@pasen.gov
Contact Form – SenatorKristin.com/contact-me.
Please note: Due to the high volume of inquiries our office has received over the last two weeks, please only contact our office one way as this will ensure we handle your matter and can assist others in a timely manner. I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania crosses 4,000; York County has 54 cases
Earlier today, the Department of Health released their latest data that show York County has 54 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Pennsylvania currently has 4,087 confirmed cases.
Over the weekend, WellSpan announced that a patient who had the coronavirus died at their facility. While many of us may not know someone right now who has the coronavirus, this should be another reminder to do everything in our power to do our part to “flatten the curve.”
The term “flatten the curve” has been widely used to explain for mitigation efforts across the country – here is a quick video to show what it means and why it is important.
It is also important to note that 79 percent of the positive cases in Pennsylvania are with adults between the ages of 19 and 64.
More information from the Department of Health can be found here.
PennDOT extends deadlines for driver licenses, registrations and more
Since all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers remain closed due to COVID-19, PennDOT recently extended the expiration date for many driver licenses, vehicle registrations and other products that are typically renewed at these locations.
Any of the following that are set to expire from March 16 through April 30 will be extended to May 31:
Although all of PennDOT’s physical locations are closed, driver and vehicle services are still available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.dmv.pa.gov.
More information about PennDOT’s response to the coronavirus, including a list of frequently asked questions and answers, is available here.
Schools to be closed until further notice
The Department of Education announced today that all schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed indefinitely in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
All schools in the state have been closed since March 13. The closure order was originally in effect through April 6, but this deadline has been extended until further notice.
The state’s 29 intermediate units will continue to be available to provide technical assistance to help develop continuity of education plans for all students.
More information can be found here. Please check the websites of your local school district for more updates. The Superintendents at all of our school districts have been responsive to the needs of students and parents during this pandemic.
Federal action could offer relief for self-employed Pennsylvanians affected by COVID-19 mitigation
Governor Wolf’s order for all non-life-sustaining businesses to close has created unprecedented financial hardships for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania workers who were suddenly left without a paycheck.
Although the state has eased eligibility criteria and waived certain requirements to help many affected workers through a new law I supported last week, contractors and other self-employed individuals who are not typically eligible for unemployment compensation still faced a great deal of uncertainty.
However, a new program just approved by our counterparts in Congress could offer relief to these individuals and families. The newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is designed to provide payments to individuals who are not usually eligible for unemployment benefits and are unable to work due to the coronavirus public health emergency.
The program requires an agreement between the state and the federal government, and a separate application may be necessary for these workers to collect benefits. Work is ongoing between the state and federal government to get this program up and running, and it is expected that an application process will be created very soon. I will share additional updates as soon as information becomes available.
More information for businesses and employees affected by coronavirus mitigation is available here.
Additional guidance for businesses during governor’s mandatory closure
The Department of Community and Economic Development published a list of some of the most common questions they received from our office, along with questions fielded from many businesses across the county and state.
You can view the FAQs here.
USDA approves COVID-19 disaster food distribution
The federal government has approved Pennsylvania’s request to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program to provide critical food supplies to individuals and families adversely affected by statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Now through April 26, Pennsylvania is authorized to serve up to 772,500 individuals using available foods from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The disaster distribution food packages will be provided through a network of food banks, as well as mobile and pop-up sites.
Foods approved for distribution include: frozen meats, canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned soups, dried and canned beans, rice, nuts, cereal, juice, shelf stable milk, fresh apples, fresh oranges, fresh potatoes, boxed pastas, canned tomato sauce, and eggs.
More information on this announcement is available here.
Efforts underway to bolster healthcare system
Healthcare professionals are on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, and the virus is already placing new demands on hospitals and workers. A number of steps have been taken over the past week to bolster our healthcare system and support the men and women who are working day and night to support patients in need.
I supported passage of a bill that was signed into law on Friday to provide an additional $50 million for medical supplies and equipment to protect healthcare professionals and aid in their life-saving efforts. More details about this bill and other COVID-19 mitigation measures I supported last week are available here.
The Department of State has also taken a number of steps to support the healthcare community, including:
Thank a doctor on National Doctors Day
Every day we are grateful for the guidance and help our physicians provide us, whether it be a primary care physician for a routine physical or a specialist. However, today, these men and women are on the front lines of this unprecedented pandemic. We are truly grateful for these individuals who are battling COVID-19.
Stay safe – follow these tips