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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

Apr 16, 2020

UPDATE: The Treasury has begun disbursing individual economic impact payments. The payments will be automatically deposited into your account if the IRS has your banking information on file. Please check your accounts. Paper checks will begin later. To check the status of your payment or provide your bank account information, visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment?mod=article_inline

Apr 14, 2020

NEWARK, N.J. – Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-8), U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-.N.J.), along with Congressmen Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10) and Tom Malinowski (N.J.-11), members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today announced that New Jersey airports, hard hit by the public health and economic crisis, will receive a total of more than $160 million in federal funding from the COVID-19 stimulus package. 

Apr 13, 2020

Many people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could also mean a loss of health insurance coverage. As the coronavirus continues to spread in New Jersey and throughout the country, it is absolutely essential that individuals have access to the coverage they need to protect themselves and their family. The good news is that if you have lost your job, there are options. The type of coverage you are eligible for is based not on your employment status, but your household size and income.

Apr 10, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our nation, but my colleagues and I continue to work towards solutions. I wanted to share updates on the policies I am fighting for as Congress responds to this public health emergency.
Apr 9, 2020

(Washington, D.C.)-  Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) announced additional community health centers serving the 8th District of New Jersey also received critical CARES Act funding to combat the coronavirus from the CARES Act.

Apr 7, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced that New Jersey will be receiving an additional $5.6 million in funding to bolster its COVID-19 response efforts. This funding will supplement an existing cooperative agreement and is third round of funding awarded to the state, whose total CDC funding amounts to $21.2 million dollars. This recent award was provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on March 6, 2020.

Apr 7, 2020

Bergen County

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center – Drive Thru – BERGEN CO. FIRST RESPONDERS ONLY

230 East Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652

By appointment only, this testing center is for first responders and hospital employees in Bergen County. Complete the self-assessment here: https://www.newbridgehealth.org/bergen-covid19-screening/ and if you meet the qualifications, you will be scheduled for a test.

 

Apr 7, 2020

(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) announced that HHS has awarded two Community Health Centers (CHCs) that serve North Jersey residents with much needed funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Newark Community Health Centers, Inc. was awarded $1,608,965 and North Hudson Community Action Corporation received $2,547,890. This funding was provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

Apr 3, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires, Co-Chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, released the following statement thanking President Tsai Ing-wen for pledging to send two million surgical masks to the United States, including 100,000 for New Jersey:

Apr 2, 2020

Recently a number of towns in the 8th District received grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), funds locally developed projects with the goal of creating more affordable housing and enhancing our community’s resources. The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), supports homeless individuals and families, provides rapid re-housing, and ensures they do not become homeless again. ESG funds also go towards providing essential services in homeless shelters.

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