As the situation in Iowa rapidly changes in response to the spread of COVID-19, we are getting 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 www.iowabusinessrecovery.com.
Iowa Workforce Development has a lot of information and resources on unemployment insurance on its website, www.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 www.iowasenaterepublicans.com/covid-19-resources/.
There has been quite a lot of discussion on testing. 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 number 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 dwindling supply 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.
For more information on what is happening with COVID-19 in Iowa and across the country, here are additional resources:
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, that hopefully will have passed by the time you read this, to help citizens and assist those who have been affected. Please stay home if you are feeling sick, wash your hands, check on your loved ones.