Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update: March 20, 2020

You can read our previous newsletters here.

Dear Friends,

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and their loved ones. While I work to advocate for you and help keep you informed, I am finding comfort in calling my family and friends.  We are supporting each other and getting through this together. Here are some new developments, best practices, and resources. But first, I’d like to say a few things about the Census.

Census 2020

The Census is happening now! Filling out your census form is a perfect activity while social distancing. It can still be completed by mail and by phone, but for the first time ever, you can fill out your census form online

The full economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Oregonian families, businesses, and workers is yet to be seen. We know it will take a massive toll, especially on our most vulnerable communities. Amidst a crisis like this, it is critical that we correctly account for every resident of Oregon, regardless of housing situation or citizenship status. 

Millions of federal dollars are at stake. Every single Oregonian deserves to be counted and represented. Census data is also used to calculate representation in Congress and the amount of federal funding each state receives. Based on the federal dollars per person that Oregon received in fiscal year 2017, for each Oregonian that is counted, Oregon receives $4,600 per year for critical programs and services.

Now back to Coronavirus/COVID-19....

New Developments

  • Washington County now has 31 out of Oregon’s 114 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 
  • The City of Hillsboro has announced $1.1 million in crisis funding. Beginning on Monday, March 23, Hillsboro business owners and community members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis will be able to apply for assistance from the City of Hillsboro using the City’s website. Read more details about eligibility here.
  • Oregon’s application for Small Business Assistance has been accepted!  If your small business has been impacted by Coronavirus you can apply by going to 
  • The Oregon Department of Unemployment has released a new temporary rule, that will be applied retroactively to March 8, 2020, when the statewide emergency was declared, and applied until the statewide emergency is lifted. If you are unable to work because of COVID-19 related situations, you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. State and Federal law require a person to be able to work in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Under this temporary rule, being unable to work because of COVID-related situations does not disqualify you from eligibility. Read the full details of the rule here
  • Our Federal Delegation has been had at work to support Oregon communities as we navigate the unprecedented healthcare and economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. Here are provisions in the two recent measures passed:
    • Student Loan Relief: On Friday, Secretary DeVos announced that Federal Student Aid (FSA) will provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the national emergency.  All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.  In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the National Emergency.  This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest. If you have student loans, contact your loan servicer to see if and how these policies will affect you.
    • Suspension of Standardized Tests: Secretary DeVos also announced on Friday that districts with school closures will have flexibility to cancel standardized tests for the 2019-2020 school year.  This should give parents, teachers and students the peace of mind that when schools reopen there will not be a need to spend potentially limited instructional time on standardized testing.  The Oregon Department of Education has already requested a waiver, and will provide their own update once it is approved.  
    • On Wednesday, 3/18/2020, The President signed the second wave of Congressional legislation to support the coronavirus response and help families cope with the current economic uncertainty.  You can read a complete summary here, but broadly this legislation will:
      • Require private health plans to cover coronavirus testing at no cost, and allocates $1 billion for testing for uninsured Americans
      • Ensure that employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers offer two weeks of paid sick leave. The provision expires at the end of the year.
      • Require those same kinds of employers to provide up to 3 months of paid family and medical leave for people forced to quarantine due to the virus or care for children or family members because of the outbreak.
      • Offer payroll tax credits for employers providing those leave benefits.
      • Put $1 billion into emergency state grants for providing unemployment insurance benefits. It includes $500 million for staffing and logistical costs for states, with an additional $500 million reserved for states that see a 10% increase in unemployment
      • Put $500 million into food assistance for low-income pregnant women and parents with young children, $400 million into local food banks and $250 million into a senior nutrition program
      • Suspend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work requirements for the duration of the crisis

Best Practices for Temporarily Laid Off or Quarantined Employees

  • To file an online unemployment insurance claim here
  • To stay eligible for benefits while you are temporarily laid off, make sure you stay in contact with your employer and be available to work when your employer calls you back to work. When filing a claim, mark the “temporary layoff” option.
  • If you got COVID-19 at your workplace, you can file a worker’s compensation claim here.
Employment Department FAQ Button

Best Practices for Grocery Shopping

  • Do not hoard goods! Agencies, industries, and stores are working in overdrive to keep stores stocked and open. Although restocking takes time, supply chains remain open. If we refrain from hoarding, everyone will be able to get what they need, when they need it.
  • Use Special hours for vulnerable populations if they are available and you qualify.  
  • Social distancing is critical in grocery stores! Grocery shopping is of course an essential activity, but it is imperative that we limit our contact with others as much as possible. Allow 6 feet of distance between you, your fellow customers, and grocery store employees as much as possible.
  • Wipe off or sanitize self-checkout stations before use, whenever available.
  • Bag your own groceries. If a check out person bags your groceries, make sure you wash your grocery bags or throw them away as soon as you get home.
  • Wash your hands and change your outer clothing as soon as you get home. Put your clothes in a dirty-clothes container until you can wash them.

Personal Protective Equipment: A Call to the Business Community

If your business uses Personal Protective Equipment, and if you have stock of these supplies.  Please consider donating as much stock as you can to the Coronavirus response. The more we can treat and contain this virus, the smoother our physical, and economic recovery will be.  Find out more about donating here, or by contacting Dennis Debbie at the Department of Administrative: Some examples of needed supplies:

  • Isolation gowns
  • 70% alcohol hand sanitizer/Isopropyl alcohol
  • Surgical masks
  • N95 masks

Resources for Childcare Workers, Families, and Educators

  • The Early Learning Division’s COVID-19 website has general resources, specific resources for providers, families, and information about emergency childcare.
  • The Early Learning Division has also created a survey for providers to share updates on their supply needs during this crisis, so the agency can effectively request and supply resources.
  • Common Sense has assembled tools and resources for families navigating learning at home, understanding the crisis, and general well being.
  • Common Sense has also assembled tips and tools for educators transitioning to online and at-home learning.
Governor's COVID site-button

COVID v. Flu

March 20 photo

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301