Weekly COVID-19 update: news, resources and information

iowa department of human rights

Friday, April 10, 2020

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Iowa Department of Human Rights spotlight:
The Division of Community Advocacy and Services

The Division of Community Advocacy and Services (CAS) streamlines access to services offered by the State of Iowa for underserved populations. CAS is the connection between Iowa's diverse communities and the programs, events and information that can provide understanding and equity.

The division's program areas include:

News from the State of Iowa

Community Action Agencies-Home Energy Assistance

The Iowa Department of Human Rights' network of local community action agencies has offices in all 99 Iowa counties. The agencies administer the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to assist eligible households with a portion of their utility bill. Applications are being accepted at the local agencies through May 31, 2020. Community action agencies have other types of help available, such as food and clothing pantries, and other services. You can find a link to information about your local community action agency by going to the Iowa Department of Human Rights' website at https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa.

State of Iowa releases website dedicated to COVID-19

Visit the website to learn about COVID-19 in Iowa, including symptoms, what you can do to prevent illness, what to do if you're sick, state agency guidance, resources and a list of frequently asked questions.  

The website is located at: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/.

Iowa Department of Public Health develops new online resource for underserved populations in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Health, working with DHR, other state agencies and nonprofits, has developed a new web resource for Iowans who are at higher risk for health concerns related to the COVID-19 virus. Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Iowans, Iowans with disabilities, Iowans with a first language other than English, caregivers, people at risk for violence, Iowans who are homeless, LGBTQ+, or households with mixed or undocumented status and those who are at higher risk and may need additional resources or information. Please visit this site at https://idph.iowa.gov/Health-Equity/COVID-19-Resources-for-Underserved-Populations to learn more.

Employees and workers in Iowa

Governor Reynolds announces assistance for employees and employers affected by COVID-19 related layoffs

  • If you are laid off due to COVID-19 or have to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, you can receive unemployment benefits, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements.  Those requirements include working for wages from an employer who claims you as an employee in six of the last eighteen months and have earned at least $2,500 in the same time period. More specific explanation of benefit eligibility can be found at: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/2019-unemployment-insurance-claimant-handbook
  • Once you have filed a claim, you can expect to receive payment within 7-10 days after the date the claim is filed.
  • Claims that are filed and identified as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, will not be charged to employers.  Fact-finding interviews for these claims will be waived and not be held although employers will be notified of claims received. 

Searching for child care? Here is a list of all registered child care providers open

Are you a worker searching for child care during this time? The Iowa Department of Human Services has created a map of all registered child care providers open during this time: https://iowa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery#/cabe69b5e2494259ab6c820c249e0f19

Small Businesses in Iowa

Gov. Reynolds announces unemployment insurance tax extension to assist small businesses (Monday, March 23)

To qualify for the extension, the employer must be current on all quarterly tax payments before the 1st quarter of 2020 regardless of whether or not they are seeking an extension of tax payment. All employers must file Quarterly Employers Contribution and Payroll Report electronically by 4:30 on April 24th to avoid late report filing penalty. 

For an employer who elects to take advantage of the extension, please contact the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Unemployment Insurance Tax division at either 1-888-848-7442 or by sending an email to Q1tax@iwd.iowa.gov. If an employer would like to request additional time to pay the tax, please contact the Unemployment Insurance Tax Division. IWD recommends sending an email versus a phone call as there is a high call volume during this time that may lead to extended wait times.  Employers must notify IWD of intent to delay payment by Friday, April 24th at 4:30 pm.

Governor Reynolds Announces COVID-19 Iowa Small Business Relief Program (March 21)

Governor Reynolds announced the launch of an Iowa Small Business Relief Program that will provide financial assistance to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible small businesses grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 in addition to offering Iowa businesses a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest.

For more information, visit the Iowa Economic Development Authority website at: https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/our-agency-detail-resources/6710

Public Health Emergency Declarations

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration, ordering additional closures (April 6)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration (April 2)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration (March 31)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration (March 26)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration (March 22)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds signs additional State Public Health Emergency Declaration (March 20)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds issues a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency (March 17)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration (March 22)

  • To read the full proclamation, click here.

Note: to sign up to receive the full slate of press releases from the Office of Governor Kim Reynolds, please visit: https://governor.iowa.gov/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for the Governor's e-newsletter.

Iowa Attorney General's office has created a tool for Iowa consumers to report price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic

Online scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus by setting up websites or social media posts for fake products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts. The Attorney General’s office has created a new form for Iowa consumers to report price gouging, as the number of reports rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Consumers can complete the form on the attorney general’s website, which can be found here: https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/for-consumers/file-a-consumer-complaint/online-price-gouging-complaint-form

Community Resources & Announcements

Free hotline available for Iowans facing legal issues during COVID-19 pandemic

Iowa Legal Aid, in partnership with the Iowa State Bar Association and Polk County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project, has set up a free hotline for Iowans who may be facing legal issues during the COVID-19 outbreak, including eviction, denial of unemployment benefits, employment issues, identity theft and more. The Hotline is 1-800-332-0419. Callers should leave a message, and a representative will call them back to obtain more information and get them connected with an attorney.  

For more information go to: https://www.iowalegalaid.org/resource/2020-coronavirus-outbreak-what-you-need-to-know

U.S. Department Of Labor Announces New Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family And Medical Leave Implementation

The U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective April 1, 2020.

WHD posted a recorded webinar Friday, April 3, 2020, to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA.

To view the webinar visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

WHD offers a number of plain-language compliance assistance materials to explain FFCRA’s benefits and requirements. Tools include a Fact Sheet for Employees and a Fact Sheet for Employers, available in both English and Spanish, and an expansive list of Questions and Answers addressing the questions WHD has most frequently received from stakeholders to date. Available guidance also includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, available in both English and Spanish, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law, Questions and Answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ADDRESSES EMPLOYMENT-RELATED COVID-19 QUESTIONS

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released several COVID-19 publications and a webinar related to COVID-19 in employment situations. See below:

The EEOC also recently posted a webinar addressing questions arising under any of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the recorded webinar, visit: https://youtu.be/i8bHOtOFfJU

No FDA-approved COVID-19 at-home test kits

At this time, there are no FDA-approved COVID-19 "at-home" test kits. Wondering if you need a test? Use the CDC Symptom Checker at bit.ly/2QCsWPT

Food and Drug Administration monitoring fraudulent marketing of projects related to COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively and aggressively monitoring for any firms marketing products with fraudulent COVID-19 diagnostic, prevention and treatment claims. Find out more at bit.ly/2WDse8T.

Coronavirus Information Available in Multiple Languages

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health continue to provide information and education on the novel coronavirus. For information and materials that are available for free in multiple languages on the CDC website, click here. Topics include information on travel, data, preparedness, and healthy practices.   

For more information, you may also visit the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Polk County Health Department's resource page in different languages.  

American Sign Language

Please visit the CDC's youtube channel for a series of videos in American Sign Language about how to protect you and your family. 

Please Pass the Love: Mental Health Campaign

Please Pass the Love is launching a new youth and school mental health campaign to help students navigate the new normal during the COVID-19 outbreak with virtual programming and support, the organization said. The initiative Storms Don’t Last Forever (#SDLF) offers free mental health resources and programming for elementary to high school students and adults working with children. More information and links to groups are available online.

Are you a non-profit looking for help or guidance during this time?

The Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center (LAWINRC) was founded in 2000 to serve a dynamic and growing nonprofit sector in Iowa. The LAWINRC is dedicated to delivering high-quality direct services, education, and research to support current and future nonprofit leaders. The LAWINRC has a list of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic listed here: https://inrc.law.uiowa.edu/covid-19-nonprofit-resources

The National Council of Nonprofits also has information and a list of resources available. Visit: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/ for more information.

Grants and Loans

Emergency funds to support students at Iowa Regent Universities

Iowa’s regent universities have established emergency funds to support students who may be adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus. Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa launched the funds to help students address their most urgent needs as they quickly transition from living and learning on campus to online instruction. The universities made the move to virtual instruction upon recommendation from the Board of Regents and are restricting residency on campuses in an effort to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Alumni, fans and friends of the state’s universities who are interested in supporting students can donate to one or more of the funds, which will help students with issues such as housing and food insecurity, travel expenses, technology expenses for online learning and other financial challenges. The links to each fund are here:

Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation to provide COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Operating Relief Fund to Iowa nonprofit organizations providing health and wellness services or addressing food insecurity needs

Through this fund the Foundation is offering operating grants of up to $10,000 to Iowa nonprofit organizations focused on providing health and wellness services during this crisis, or addressing food insecurity needs. The Foundation will begin accepting grant requests starting March 23rd until the funds are all allocated. 


If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Operation Relief Grants or current grants, please reach out to the Foundation team at IA_Foundation@deltadentalia.com. To learn more, visit: https://www.deltadentalia.com/foundation/.