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Coronavirus

As America continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to share the most comprehensive, up-to-date safety information for our community. ​

Symptoms

It is important to note that the virus may effect individuals differently and it is possible to exhibit no symptoms of the virus and still pass the virus onto others, particularly to populations such as older adults and individuals with underlying health problems.

People with COVID-19 have a wide range of reported symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Symptoms can include
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible COVID-19 symptoms. Children, adolescents, and adults with the virus that causes COVID-19 may experience any, all, or none of these symptoms.

 

Testing

Free COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in New Jersey and you do not need health insurance in order to get tested.

It is important to get a COVID-19 test if you are:

To find a testing site near you, go to: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites

Free COVID-19 testing and treatment is available at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), regardless of health insurance or immigration status. To find an FQHC, click here.

For more information on COVID-19 testing in New Jersey, you can go to: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing

 

Preventing the Spread

Healthy habits can go a long way in preventing novel coronavirus transmission:

  • Wash your hands: Regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of transmission. If soap and water is not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
  • Avoid close contact: Try to avoid close contact with others, limit the use of handshakes, and practice social distancing.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes: Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes with either the inside of your elbow or a tissue that is immediately thrown away.
  • Disinfect: Be sure to clean and sanitize surfaces frequently touched surfaces.
  • Self-Isolation: If you are feeling sick, stay home to recover unless you need medical care. Avoid public areas and public transportation. Stay in touch with your doctor and take care of yourself.
  • Facemasks:  According to CDC guidelines, it is recommended you wear a mask inside and in crowded settings or in close contact with others outside in areas of high or substantial risk of transmission. Cities and business may require masks indoors, so please be considerate of local requirements.  See if your county is an area of high or substantial transmission here and find further details on CDC mask guidance here.

 

Vaccination

Getting vaccinated is a very effective way of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and returning to activities you did before the pandemic. All available COVID-19 vaccines have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. Vaccines are widely available and there are many locations to get vaccinated within the 8th Congressional district.

Everyone in New Jersey who is 12 or older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available without an appointment at all mega-sites or by appointment at various locations across the state. To find a vaccine appointment near you go to Vaccines.gov.

You can also text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish to find a location for a vaccine appointment near you.

If you need assistance scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, have questions about the vaccine, or are homebound and unable to leave home to receive a vaccine, you can call New Jersey’s Vaccine Call Center for further assistance at: 1-855-568-0545.

There is also a Senior-Specific Hotline to assist those 65+ to schedule their vaccine appointment: 856-249-7007

NJ Transit now offers free rides to and from vaccine appointments. For more information go to: https://www.njtransit.com/vaxride

For more information on vaccines in New Jersey, you can go to: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine

 

Information on travel

As of May 17, travelers into and out of New Jersey do not need to quarantine. However, the CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

The CDC requires that all travelers arriving from a foreign country get tested for COVID-19 no more than 3 days before departure. Travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before the flight.

The State Department has listed many countries as Level 4, advising that US citizens avoid all travel to those countries. Country specific information can be found here.

The State Department has also set up hotlines for Americans abroad that have been impacted by the outbreak. If you are in the U.S. or Canada call 1-888-407-4747, if you are overseas call 1-202-501-4444. 

The CDC has a 24-hour hotline for COVID-19 related questions at 1-800-232-4636.

 

Constituent Resource Guide

My team has put together a list of federal and state resources available to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a voice message with my office at (202) 225-7919 using the automated system or using the contact form on my website.* We will be happy to assist you.

*If you are contacting me online, please be sure to check your spam or junk folder to make sure you don’t miss communications from my office.

Housing

Eviction Moratorium

A federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is in effect until October 3, 2021 in areas of high or substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. The temporary moratorium means that you cannot be evicted from your home for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic. For more information, click here.

Rental Assistance

New Jersey operates a State Rental Assistance program that can help you to make payments towards your rent. Click here.

Eviction Protection

During the public health emergency, individuals cannot be removed as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. If you are a renter facing hardship, you may be eligible for housing assistance or for housing counseling. Those who have applied for state or local rental assistance, and who have experienced an economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also protected from eviction for unpaid rent accrued through December 31, 2021. For more information, click here.

Mortgage Relief

If you are facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to request mortgage payment forbearance for up to 90 days. Click here.

Homelessness Services

New Jersey residents experiencing homelessness can get help with food, shelter, and finances. Click here.

 

Economic Assistance

Economic Impact Payments

If you didn’t get any Economic Impact Payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file. Click here for more information.

 

Utilities

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program. Click here.

 

Internet Services

Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that can lower your monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill. You can use Lifeline for either phone or internet, but not both. Click here to see if you are eligible and enroll.

 

Health Insurance

If you do not have health insurance, or lose coverage, you may be eligible for free or low-cost coverage through NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program. In addition, individuals may purchase health insurance on the State's new health exchange, GetCoveredNJ, and may be eligible for subsidy assistance and premium tax credits. Click here.

 

Food Assistance

If you need food assistance, you may be eligible for NJ SNAP, New Jersey's food assistance program. To learn more go to NJSNAP.gov or to apply go to NJHELPS.org. New Jersey WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is allowing remote access to benefits and additional food items. Click here.

Emergency Food Banks by County

Click here.

 

Employment

State of New Jersey COVID-19 Jobs and Hiring Portal

Click here to access jobs available with the State of New Jersey.

 

Job Assistance

If you've lost your job and are seeking help, you are not alone. Connect with benefits and resources you need while you are trying to safely get back to work. Click here.

 

Unemployment Benefits 

If your work has been affected by COVID-19, you likely qualify for unemployment benefits. Click here.

 

Family Leave Benefits

If you must care for children or family members due to the coronavirus outbreak, you may be eligible for federal emergency Childcare FMLA or New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (FLI). It's against the law for an employer to retaliate against you for taking FLI, and your job may be protected under the Family Leave Act. Click here.

 

Temporary Disability Benefits

If you're unable to work due to illness, self-quarantine, or pregnancy, you may be able to apply for Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI). It's against the law for an employer to retaliate against you for taking TDI, and your job may be protected under the Family Leave Act. Click here.

 

Sick Leave

If you are sick, need time to care for others, or are unable to work due to the public health emergency, you may eligible for New Jersey Earned Sick Leave, or emergency federal paid sick leave, paid by your employer. Click here.

 

Resources for Businesses

For information on loans, programs, or resources to support businesses impacted by COVID-19, visit the State of New Jersey's COVID-19 Business Information Hub. Click here.

 

Resources for Freelancers, Contractors, and Gig Workers

The American Rescue Plan extends unemployment benefits to freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors, who typically are not eligible. Click here.

 

Legal Aid

If you are in need of legal assistance or advice, there are many legal services available for free to low-income New Jerseyans on a range of issues including debt, domestic violence, eviction, applying for public benefits, immigration, and more. Click here.

 

Job Protection

A new law prohibits employers from firing, demoting or otherwise punishing workers if they take time off because they have or are likely to have COVID-19. Click here.

 

Job Search

Business across New Jersey are looking to hire thousands of workers, including those who lost their jobs or have had hours reduced as a result of COVID-19. Click here.

 

Child Care

Child Care Resources

If you are an essential employee, you can get support for child care costs. Click here.

For additional resources, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/.

New Jersey has partnered with 211 to provide information to the public:

County and Municipality Resources

  • In Bergen County you can call the BCDHS Health and Safety Hotline at 201-225-7000 (201-785-8505 after hours and weekends) or visit their COVID-19 information page here.
  • Essex County's COVID-19 update page can be found here.
  • Hudson County has set up a COVID-19 information page with updates here.
  • Union County has an information page with FAQs, updates on county operations, information for local health departments, and more here.
  • Hoboken has set up a hotline for general inquiries related to COVID-19 at 201-420-5620 and for senior specific inquiries at 201-420-5625.

Please feel free to reach out to my office in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-7919 if you have further questions or need assistance.

More on Coronavirus

Jan 15, 2021

This week, we continue to work through the fallout from the January 6th attack on the Capitol and determine how policy can best address the many failures we witnessed. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting violence and insurrection against the Government of the United States. In addition to cosponsoring the legislation bringing impeachment articles against the President, I cosponsored a resolution condemning and censuring Rep.

Jan 8, 2021

This week, the nation watched in horror as a crowd of rioters stormed the Capitol building while Congress was convened to certify the results of the November 2020 election. This despicable act will go down as one of the darkest days in American history and is a stark warning to our nation that we must not focus on our divisions, but rather what unites us as Americans. I sincerely appreciate all those who reached out to me and expressed their well wishes during this distressing time, my staff and I are safe and unharmed following these tragic events.

Dec 23, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) –On December 23, 2020, the Federal Government reached an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to receive an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech have already agreed to supply the U.S. with 100 million vaccine doses by March 31, 2021. This new order will increase the total number of vaccine doses to 200 million by July 31, 2021.

Dec 22, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which contains funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2021 as well as COVID-19 relief:

Dec 15, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ron Kind (D-WI), John Joyce (R-PA), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Neal Dunn (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation, authorizing a public advocacy campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccine participation and provide science-backed information.

Dec 14, 2020

Last week, the House voted on the Conference Report to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) funding bill and a crucial stopgap funding bill to help avert a government shutdown while a larger package is negotiated. On Wednesday, I was honored to receive the In Defense of Christian’s 2020 Congressional Champion Award. I cosponsored legislation to protect providers from Medicare cuts in the midst of the pandemic, help those people facing eviction, support children with disabilities, and supporting human rights across the globe.

Dec 5, 2020

This week, the House voted on legislation to protect big cats from hostile internment, establish community advantage loan programs to help small businesses, and federally decriminalize marijuana. I also led a letter to House leadership highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the affordable housing crisis in New Jersey and asking them to include relief measures in the next relief package.

Nov 27, 2020

This week, I signed onto legislation to allow tax credits to rollover for childcare costs and signed onto a bill to keep students safe in schools. I also signed onto to letters to urge the President to have the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) set up drive through COVID-19 testing in New Jersey, include pro-worker and pro-labor provisions in the Fiscal Year 2021(FY21) appropriations package, and demand answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the detention of unaccompanied minors.

Nov 23, 2020

Last week, I joined the Congressional Labor Caucus, and cosponsored legislation to raise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) monthly benefits, help ensure children do not go hungry during the pandemic, raise the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021, help students refinance their student loans, and ensure humane treatment of animals in any research and testing.

Nov 9, 2020

Last week, I signed onto legislation to help save public education jobs, protect polar bears and their natural habitat, and develop and protect outdoor parks. I also cosponsored legislation to expand access to high quality apprenticeship programs across the country. I signed onto letters opposing the expansion of the global gag rule and urging the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reverse their guidance on eviction moratoriums.

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