Coronavirus Resource Guide
We closed our Senate office on Wednesday, March 11. The office remains closed until further notice to assure that my staff, our constituents and service personnel wouldn’t be exposed to COVID-19, or the coronavirus. In the meantime, if you call our office, your call will be re-routed to me or my staff, and we are available to help you in any way we can. We will be answering calls and addressing constituent needs as effectively and expeditiously as possible. We’ve also created this resource guide, and will continue to add to it as new information comes in.
Many of the steps we’ve all been asked to take are difficult and inconvenient to us and others. But we simply must do all we can to flatten the curve. If we have a full-blown, out-of-control pandemic, hospitals could be overwhelmed, essential services may not longer be available, our economy can be devasted, and many could get seriously ill.
But if we take the difficult but manageable steps now, we can hopefully avoid the worst outcome. And if in a few weeks we can look back and say we overreacted, that would be fine. To me, the bigger danger is in under-reacting. So, let’s do all we can, and please stay safe.
Please consider reviewing this resource guide for prevention tips and more information on this ongoing situation. You can always feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 610.768.4200 with questions and/or concerns.
Need Help with Something? Check out my self-service page!
Senator Leach hosted a Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19.
Senator Leach hosted a Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19.
Senator Leach hosted a Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19.
Resources for Employees & Small Businesses
Small Businesss Links
- PA Department of Community and Economic Development Business Resources
- Federal Small Business Association Guidance and Resources
- Montgomery County Business Resources
- PA Department of Education Resources
- Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During COVID-19
- Circle of Aunts and Uncles – Micro-loans for small businesses
- NFIB Small Business Resources Response to Covid-19
- NAACP Coronavirus Resource Guide
- United Way of Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resource Guide
Domino’s, CVS, Walgreens hiring thousands in Philly area. Here are other companies hiring locally, and in N.J.
Domino’s franchises want to hire about 700 new employees across more than 142 stores in the Philadelphia area, according to a spokeswoman. Open jobs include delivery drivers, customer-facing representatives, assistant managers and managers.
Health & Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health Resources
- Department of Human Services COVID-19 Page
- Apply for Benefits (such as SNAP/Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, or LIHEAP) via the COMPASS Application
- NEW! Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers who will be available 24/7 to counsel residents struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toll Free Number: 1-855-284-2494 or TTY, dial (724) 631-5600
Montgomery County Health and Human Service Resources
Montgomery County Health and Human Service Resources
Service Providers in Delaware and Montgomery Counties
- Montgomery County Mobile Crisis: 1-855-634-HOPE (4673)
- Delaware County Crisis Connections Team:1-855-889-7827
- Pennsylvania Crisis TextLine: Text PA to 741-741
- Montgomery County Navicates: 610-278-3522
- DE County Disaster Crisis Outreach & Referral: 610-713-2365
- Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester: (610) 447-7600
- Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby: (610) 237-4210
- Lower Merion Counseling Services: (610) 520-1510
- Delaware Valley Community Health: Norristown Regional Health Center: (610) 278- 7787
- Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital: (610) 539-8500
- Mercy Life in Norristown (Expanding in Montgomery County): (215) 339-4747
- Central Behavioral Health Support Line: (610) 999-0126
Drug & Alcohol Services:
- Keystone Center Assessment in Chester: (610) 876-9000
- Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester: (610) 497-7223
- NHS Human Services in Sharon Hill: (610) 534-3636
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline:1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline:1-800-985-5990
Shelter and Domestic Violence Services:
- Your Way Home Montgomery County (homeless services): Call 2-1-1
- Women’s Center of Montgomery County Domestic Violence Project: 1-800-733-2424
- Laurel House Domestic Violence Program: (610) 277-1860
- PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence: (717) 545-6400
- Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, Inc.: (610) 565-4590
- Delaware County Department of Human Services: (610) 713-2323
- Connect BY Night Homeless in Upper Darby: (267) 507-3875
Assistance for Veterans:
- Sellers of goods and services in Pennsylvania are prohibited from charging a price that exceeds 20% of the average price of those items during a Governor-issued Emergency Declaration. You can report price gouging to the Attorney General’s Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Participating in the census is required by law. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more. Consider taking the census now by going online or by calling 844-330-2020.
- Consider applying for a mail-in ballot today! As opposed to the absentee ballot, which can only be applied for if you have a reason such as an illness or plans to be out of the municipality a mail-in ballot can be applied for without reason. Registered voters can easily apply for a mail-in ballot online between now and 5:00 p.m. on April 21, 2020. The deadline to return your voted mail-in ballot is 8:00 p.m. on election day. Learn more and apply today at votespa.com!
- If you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis, text HOME to 741741 and a crisis worker will text you back!
- The Office of the Attorney General also continues to investigate consumer complaints and health care related complaints. Both require a form to be submitted. The consumer complaint form is available hereand the health care complaint form is accessible here.
- Governor Wolf recently announced that all major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in PA will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers and have committed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing. Pennsylvania’s major health insurers include: Highmark, UPMC Health Plan, Geisinger, Independence BlueCross, Capital Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, Pennsylvania Health & Wellness, and Oscar. The Insurance Department, in partnership with the departments of Health and Human Services, also developed an FAQthat provides information and answers to common questions related to insurance coverage and COVID-19.
- PennDOT has announced that vehicle registrations, safety inspections, and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020 are extended until April 30, 2020.
Online Educational Resources
What is being done to help those who are not working or working less?
The PA Unemployment office has changed several policies to increase access to benefits. These include suspension of the Waiting Week and waiving the Work Search Requirement.
To get your benefits as quickly as possible file online. Do not call or go to an office.
If you need help and cannot find it on the website, you can email them at email@example.com
You may be eligible if:
- Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
- Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
What can I do to help?
Stay home. Unless you must go out, stay home. There are numerous delivery services/options for food and other essentials. It is ok to take a walk away from other people.
Don’t horde. The grocery stores will continue to be open and re-stocked. So, think about how much TP and hand sanitizer you really need. Did you go overboard and get too much? Why not see if there are neighbors who could use some?
If you are able, there are many small businesses who can use some economic help. Buy gift cards from your favorite small restaurants and stores; when this is all over, you’ll be excited to use them.
Stay in touch with friends and family virtually. We all need human contact, but you can do that through calls, text, facetime, etc. Check in with anyone you know may be alone.
How do I stay sane?
While you need to stay away from people, you can go for walks in the woods or other solitary places. Go online and share your recommended movies, TV shows and books. Start a virtual discussion group. Almost every library has ways to download e books, audio books, and movies.
Exercise. There are lots of free exercise videos on demand and online. Exercise is a great stress reliever.
Eat healthy. Being trapped inside makes the best of us reach for cake, cookies and candy. Try to resist. Healthy eating is a good way to keep your immune system healthy.
Where can I get accurate information?
There’s a lot of information out there but not all of it is accurate. We are trying to put up daily posts on our official Facebook page. These will provide you with all the most accurate and up to date information we have along with resources available for businesses, constituents in need.
I have a specific need/question.
Our physical office is closed but we are still working, perhaps even harder than before. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can still call us at 610.768.4200 and a member of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
Do you have any sort of SEPTA update?
SEPTA today announced that all transit modes – including buses, the Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Trolleys and Norristown High Speed Line – will operate with reduced service levels beginning Sunday, March 22. With these adjustments, SEPTA will run all services on Saturday schedules – seven days a week – until further notice, ensuring that service is available for customers who work in essential jobs or who need access to essential services, while also balancing the need to keep customers and workers safe.
SEPTA has added extra cleaning and disinfecting at stations and on vehicles in recent weeks. In addition, some employees who would normally operate buses and trains will now be repositioned at transportation centers and transit loops to further enhance these cleaning efforts. You can always check SEPTA’s website and Twitter account, @SEPTA, for the latest updates.
What happens to businesses that don’t actually cease dine-in services? Are there enforcement mechanisms?
The PA Liquor Control Board yesterday announced that any licensee that fails to comply with the Governor’s mandate now risks citation by the PA State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and suspension of operating authority by the PLCB. Any licensee that does continue to operate after its license is suspended risks further enforcement action and closure by the BLCE. Ultimately, citations may put the business’s liquor license at risk, both through the citation process and upon application for renewal with the PLCB.
15 Ways You Can Help
Several people have reached out to my office asking for ways that they can help their community during this unprecedented time.
Here’s a list of 15 Ways You Can Help.
- PRACTICING SAFE SOCIAL DISTANCING IS THE #1 WAY YOU CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITY!
- With schools and businesses closed, food pantries have seen a significant increase in demand for food assistance. You can help your local food pantry by making a monetary donation or donating nonperishable food items and supplies so that they can continue serving our neighbors in need. If you’re looking for a different way to help, call your local food pantry to ask if you can be of assistance. They may need help packing or distributing food. A list of food pantries currently serving our community (and which may be in need of assistance) can be found on our Coronavirus Resource Guide under the “Food Access” tab.
- There’s currently an ongoing critical need for blood donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic. Blood shortages could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer. One of the most important things healthy community members can do is make an appointment to donate blood. Click here to find a local blood drive.
- Local healthcare providers are in need of additional supplies. Some hospitals have even started creating wish lists of supplies they need. If you have extra facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or other items offering people on the front line some protection, call your local healthcare provider or hospital to arrange your donation. Any organization that would like to donate personal protective equipment can email RA-DCEDTriageTeamCOVID19@pa.gov with information. For those residents and organizations in Delaware County that would like to donate medical supplies and equipment, or in-kind donations, call 1.800.253.3102 or email EOC@DelcoDES.org.
- Social isolation also has been linked to several adverse health effects. Call your elderly neighbor or loved one, or a single friend, to provide them some comfort.
- If you are going to a store or pharmacy (which we don’t recommend unless you have to), ask your neighbor if you can grab something for them while you’re out.
- Small businesses are struggling to remain viable right now. Please consider purchasing a gift card or membership from your favorite restaurant or place of entertainment (such as the local zoo, theatre company, bookstore, etc.)
- Start a local tip jar like they did in Pittsburgh to help your favorite restaurant staff.
- If you’re a landlord, reduce your rent or be flexible with payments.
- If you have people who come to your home on a regular basis, such as cleaners or babysitters, and can afford to do so, consider paying them for a few weeks in advance to be ‘redeemed’ later. These people unfortunately cannot get Unemployment Compensation and every little bit can help them. The same can be done for hairdressers, etc.
- Meals on Wheels has expressed a need for more delivery drivers. Reach out to your local Meals on Wheels location if you’re interested in helping.
- When making online purchases, remember using Amazon Smile helps support nonprofits.
- If you are able, please consider donating to your local animal shelter or offer to foster an animal. These difficult times have left many shelters short of crucial volunteers. For example, you can support Finding Shelter Animal Rescue by sending their animals the gift of food, supplies and toys via their Amazon Wishlist.
- Limit the spread of coronavirus by voting this Election Day from the safety of your home with a mail-in ballot.
- Still not sure how you can help? RSVP of Montgomery County and Covaid are two local organizations helping to connect volunteers with people and organizations in need.
General Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.
Beware of Current Known Covid – 19 Scams
Test Kit Phone Scam: The Coronavirus Response Act has made coronavirus testing more accessible immediately. If you want to receive a free testing kit delivered overnight to your home, press 1. If you do not want your free testing, press 2.
Student Loan Callback Scam: Hello this is Brad … with an important message regarding the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on your student loans. As you may have already heard, President Trump invoked his power as commander-in-chief by declaring a national emergency due to the widespread impact of COVID-19. New measures will include waiving interest on your federal student loans until further notice. During this time our offices have continued to maintain full staffing levels and will continue to do so until further notice. For more information on how these new measures will impact your future payment obligations, call us back today at 855-264-XXXX before 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. Thanks, and have a great day.
Social Security Scam: Hello this is a call from the Social Security Administration. During these difficult times of the coronavirus, we regret to inform you that we have got an order to suspend your socials immediately within 24 hours due to suspicious and fraudulent activities found on your socials. We are contacting you as this case is critical and needs your urgent attention. To get more information about this case please call immediately on our department number 888-991-XXXX. I repeat 888-991-XXXX.
Delivery Scam: Dear customer: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we deliver a wide range of sanitizers, handwash, toilet papers, and face masks at your doorstep to safeguard you and your family from coronavirus. No need to visit stores. Get delivery in 24 hours. To order press 1. For more knowledge and safety tips about coronavirus, press 2.
HVAC for Coronavirus Phone Scam: Protect your loved ones from the coronavirus. For only $79 our highly trained technicians will do a full air duct cleaning and sanitation to make sure that the air you breathe is free of bacteria. So don’t hesitate, press 0 and have your duct system cleaned and sanitized now. Press 9 to be removed from this list.
Diabetic Test Kit Scam: If you are diabetic and using insulin, we can qualify you to get a free diabetic monitor and a complimentary testing kit for coronavirus. To learn more, please press 1, otherwise please press 2.
Work From Home Scam: Hello this is a courtesy invitation to work with Amazon from home and make up to $400 in a day. Open enrollment has begun for the Amazon associate program. The program allows you to partner with Amazon and share in their success, as a referral partner. Everyone over 18 qualifies. No sales or technical experience are needed. Work from home. You set your own schedule. To learn more about partnering with Amazon, call the Amazon hotline at 360-203-XXXX. Spaces are limited so please call now, 360-203-XXXX, that’s 360-203-XXXX. Thank you.
Other COVID-19 Scams
Many people are also reporting getting texts, emails and social media messages about the stimulus package. Though many consumers will receive checks as part of the federal government response to the coronavirus, no one will call or text you to verify your personal information or bank account details in order to “release” the funds. The Treasury Department expects most people to receive their payments via direct-deposit information that the department has on file from prior tax filings.
You also need to beware of charity scams. Hackers will duplicate non-profit websites or pretend to be with a legitimate charity and call for donations. If you want to donate, never do it from a telemarketer or a robocall. Instead, go directly to the charity and make your donation through it.
Add Yourself to Do Not Call Lists
- The Federal Trade Commission oversees the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register home and mobile phone numbers for free online at donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222.
- The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General oversees the Pennsylvania Do Not Call list. Pennsylvania residents can register home and mobile phone numbers for free online here or by calling toll-free 1-888-777-3406.
Additional Resources Related to Scams
- FCC Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips to Avoid Scams
- FTC Tips to Avoid Covid-19 Scams
- US Government Response to Covid-19
- Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities
- Senior Law Center: 610-910-0210 (Montgomery), 610-910-0215 (Delaware)
28 Things to Do While Quarantined
We all could use a bit of light-hearted fun as we head into the weekend. Being stuck inside for a long period of time inevitably leads to cabin fever. That is why my staff and I have compiled some ideas to help you and your families stay productive while at home. Check out the infographic and links below!
Last updated: July 15, 2020 at 11:43 am