WASHINGTON – Following President Trump’s signing of the historic Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin today announced that the SBA and Treasury Department have initiated a robust mobilization effort of banks and other lending institutions to provide small businesses with the capital they need.
The CARES Act establishes a new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. The Program will provide much-needed relief to millions of small businesses so they can sustain their businesses and keep their workers employed.
“This unprecedented public-private partnership is going to assist small businesses with accessing capital quickly. Our goal is to position lenders as the single point-of-contact for small businesses – the application, loan processing, and disbursement of funds will all be administered at the community level,” said Administrator Carranza. “Speed is the operative word; applications for the emergency capital can begin as early as this week, with lenders using their own systems and processes to make these loans. We remain committed to supporting our nation’s more than 30 million small businesses and their employees, so that they can continue to be the fuel for our nation’s economic engine.”
“This legislation provides small business job retention loans to provide eight weeks of payroll and certain overhead to keep workers employed,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “Treasury and the Small Business Administration expect to have this program up and running by April 3rd so that businesses can go to a participating SBA 7(a) lender, bank, or credit union, apply for a loan, and be approved on the same day. The loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses.”
The new loan program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses. It will provide critical capital to businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, or SBA fees – all with a 100% guarantee from SBA. All loan payments will be deferred for six months. Most importantly, the SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest.
The Paycheck Protection Program is specifically designed to help small businesses keep their workforce employed. Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on the Paycheck Protection Program.
* The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
Loan Terms & Conditions
- Eligible businesses: All businesses, including non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees, or no greater than the number of employees set by the SBA as the size standard for certain industries
- Maximum loan amount up to $10 million
- Loan forgiveness if proceeds used for payroll costs and other designated business operating expenses in the 8 weeks following the date of loan origination (due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs)
- All loans under this program will have the following identical features:
- Interest rate of 0.5%
- Maturity of 2 years
- First payment deferred for six months
- 100% guarantee by SBA
- No collateral
- No personal guarantees
- No borrower or lender fees payable to SBA
SBA’s announcement comes on the heels of a series of steps taken by the Agency since the President’s Emergency Declaration to expeditiously provide capital to financially distressed businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since March 17, SBA has taken the following steps:
- Declared all states and territories eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance
- *1-year deferment on Economic Injury Disaster Loans provided due to COVID-19
- Automatic deferment of previous disaster loans for homeowners and businesses through 2020
- Waiver of garnishments through 2020
- Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses.
Residents of Murray County can now use a free hotline provided by AdventHealth to ask questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and speak with a nurse as appropriate.
The AdventHealth Coronavirus Information Line, 877-VIRUSHQ, (877-847-8747) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It serves as a one-stop-shop to connect people with resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their state’s Department of Health.
While the phone line is not intended to replace a physician-patient relationship, nurses can answer general medical questions and will refer the caller to the appropriate next steps, such as connecting them to a nurse, AdventHealth eCare or other health care provider.
AdventHealth is hopeful this service will also offload non-clinical call volumes from health care offices, helping providers in the community by freeing up their staff to focus on those who need the most immediate, critical care.
The initial launch of the AdventHealth Coronavirus Information Line was piloted in Florida and has now expanded to serve consumers across the health system’s nationwide footprint.
“It is important that our community is educated and prepared to help mitigate the spread of this virus,” said Brendan Nieto, administrator of AdventHealth Murray. “We want to provide an easily accessible resource to our community by answering common questions and easing any fear or confusion people may be experiencing.”
AdventHealth has also launched an informational resource site, https://www.adventhealth.com/coronavirus-resource-hub, where consumers can get answers to top coronavirus (COVID-19) questions, such as:
*Am I at risk?
* What should I know if I am pregnant?
* How can I protect myself from this and other viruses, like the flu?
Hamilton Medical Center, along with the full Hamilton Health Care System, is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from our community, friends, family, neighbors, and industry as we work together to provide the best care for our community and work to slow the spread of COVID-19. As is happening around the country, our community is seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive and presumed positive cases. While we are hopeful that the numbers in our area will remain as they are, we all know that simply is not the reality. That is why preparation is key, and why it is often difficult to answer questions about the specific numbers of cases – both recovering at home and those who have been admitted to the hospital. These numbers change, sometimes rapidly, and whatever numbers we see now, we know those will surely increase day-by-day and moment-by-moment. What does not change is that COVID-19 will continue to spread rapidly if we do not all practice social distancing guidelines. That includes the assumption that being out in public around others will continue to result in exposures.
Tests completed and results received are updated daily on our website: https://www.hamiltonhealth.com/test-result-data-tests-performed-at-hamilton-medical-center/. Please remember, these are only tests from Hamilton Medical Center. It does not include other entities in the area that may be testing. Please see the Common COVID-19 Questions sheet for more information: https://www.hamiltonhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Covid-19-questions-answered-sheet-3-2020.pdf.
Other questions we have received relate to the number of ventilators on hand and whether we have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Hamilton has been preparing for expected needs and we currently have 35 critical care ventilators. (Hamilton would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Dalton State College for loaning three ventilators for Hamilton’s use while their students are away from campus.)
Hamilton is planning for the long term. That means that despite our best efforts (or any health system’s best efforts), if there is not a focused and determined effort by each and every person in the community to follow social distancing guidelines at all times, no amount of preparation could handle the modeled/projected peak that would result in a higher number of cases. We are extremely grateful to industry leaders and community leaders who have donated PPE or are looking at creative ways to manufacture this equipment and other supplies to get us through an influx of COVID-19 patients. PPE and supplies must continue to be used responsibly, following CDC guidelines, as well as established protocols by Emory and others with science to support means and material of use and limiting exposure. This is how we prepare for not just the cases today, but also what might come tomorrow, next week and next month, and maybe even longer. However, no amount of preparation can ready any health system for the significant spike in cases that would result without social distancing guidelines being followed. In short, yes, we have PPE now. We might not always have enough if we are not all following social distancing guidelines and proper PPE use established by CDC guidelines and other reputable sources.
Other consistent questions we are receiving are about the number of cases in the hospital. As mentioned previously, this number changes rapidly. Also, to provide a number of COVID-19 cases in the hospital would not provide an accurate picture to the public. There have been six confirmed positives from tests conducted at Hamilton. Not all of these have required the level of care to necessitate a hospital admission. Also, this does not account for the number of patients who have been tested and are considered presumed positive because results are not yet returned. Finally, it is also impossible to know how many people in our community who are self-quarantining and may have mild to moderate symptoms that did not require medical treatment or testing. In short, providing a number of cases hospitalized would give an extremely false hope that there might not be reason for the community to be concerned. That would be irresponsible. We expect an increase in cases over the next week to two weeks, and possibly longer. We also know that if people are out and about rather than staying home, that number will increase dramatically.
What we would like the community to know is how Hamilton is preparing for COVID-19 cases. Hamilton is cohorting patients from the time they enter the Emergency Department. We have devoted care areas and devoted care teams for suspected COVID-19 patients. If someone is determined to need to be admitted, and he or she is suspected of having COVID-19, admission is to a designated COVID-19 treatment area. Whether needing intensive care in our Medical Intensive Care Unit or needing hospital care on a regular floor, Hamilton has specific areas where these patients are treated.
Finally, Hamilton would like to remind our community about our no visitor policy. Of course, there are extraordinary circumstances, but we are grateful for the understanding expressed by families that we are doing all we can to protect them and keep them safe as we care for their loved ones. Additionally, we screen every associate and provider at the beginning of each shift, including checking temperature for fever. Any associate who has a fever greater than 100.4 is further screened and sent for testing as medically necessary, following quarantine guidelines as appropriate. Just as with our associates, if there is an extraordinary circumstance where a visitor must enter the hospital, we screen for fever and symptoms as well.
In sum, the Hamilton family is doing all we can to protect your family. Whether it is additional ventilators, designated treatment rooms, following appropriate PPE guidelines from the CDC, or simply caring for our staff and visitors by screening, we are here to serve you. Our service to our community also includes encouraging each and every person to do his/her part. Please follow social distancing guidelines and good hand hygiene. Please don’t overload the emergency room with non-emergency needs. Hamilton Convenient Care locations are available with extended hours, and some of our Hamilton Physician Group primary Care clinics are offering tele-health visits to established patients.
There simply cannot be enough said about the dedication and hard work of the frontline staff, facilities, infectious disease, and the entire Hamilton family for how they have pulled together to care for the community. It is our honor and privilege to serve you. You are our family.
Be safe. Be well. Thank you for all of your support, kind words and prayers. Social distance.
The Eton Town Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled due to concerns over the coronavirus. The council will resume meeting in May, according to Mayor Billy Cantrell.
The Chatsworth City Council meeting scheduled for April 6 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 emergency, according to City Clerk Wilma Nolan.
By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – President Donald Trump has declared Georgia a major disaster area due to the impacts of coronavirus, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Sunday.
“Georgia is grateful for this designation, as it will enable the state to continue partnering with federal agencies in a coordinated fight against this pandemic,” Kemp said. “The presidential declaration is a critical step in providing additional assistance to our state and local governments as they continue to respond to COVID-19.”
The disaster declaration came as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 2,651. Eighty Georgians had died of the virus as of noon Sunday.
Kemp declared a statewide public health emergency on March 14, and the General Assembly ratified the action two days later during a one-day special session. The governor’s declaration made available state resources to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
The federal disaster declaration will allow federal agencies to provide direct assistance to Georgia. The record $2 trillion economic stimulus package Congress passed on Friday includes $150 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, money that can be used to help offset the impact the loss of businesses and jobs will have on state budgets.
COVID-19 now has spread to 113 counties. Fulton County has the most with 407 confirmed cases, followed by DeKalb County with 272 cases, Dougherty County with 239, Cobb County with 222, Gwinnett County with 143 cases and Bartow County with 119 cases.
However, the most deaths have occurred in hard-hit Dougherty County, where 17 have died from coronavirus. Fulton County has had 12 deaths, followed by Cobb County with nine.