Dear 6th District,

As we face this crisis together, I remain deeply committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the Sacramento region. I want to take a moment to highlight new recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health to wear cloth facial coverings in public settings that may require you to be within six feet of others, such as visits to grocery stores and pharmacies. Additionally, Sacramento and Yolo County have both extended their stay-at-home orders to May 1st.

We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus while in this state. With this in mind, keeping the recommended six feet of social distancing and wearing a cloth facial mask when necessary is critical to slow the spread of coronavirus, flatten the curve, and keep people healthy. 

Additionally, Covered California, Medi-Cal, and Medicare are making changes to accommodate your needs during this time. Covered California has opened the health insurance exchange for a special enrollment period to any eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage amid the COVID-19 national emergency. In addition, Medicare has extended coverage of telehealth and home health services. Your employer-sponsored or Covered California private plan may also be offering expanded coverage or low or no cost-sharing for COVID-19 related services. Please check with your health plan directly for this information. 

COVERED CALIFORNIA & MEDI-CAL

Covered California and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) have joined together to make sure that those losing employment have a ready path to coverage — whether through Medi-Cal or the plans offered through Covered California.

Covered California has opened the health insurance exchange for a special enrollment period to any eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage amid the COVID-19 national emergency. Anyone who meets Covered California’s eligibility requirements (which are similar to those in place during the annual open-enrollment period) can sign up for coverage through June 30.

You can find the health insurance exchange application here. Covered California is asking that if you need assistance, please call, rather than seeking in-person help. After selecting a plan, your coverage would begin on the first of the following month — meaning individuals losing job-based coverage will not face a gap in coverage.

In addition, when signing up through CoveredCA.com you may find out that you are eligible for no-cost or low-cost coverage through Medi-Cal. Eligibility for Medi-Cal and CHIP depends on monthly income (unlike Covered California, which looks at annual income). If you have recently lost your job and have no current income, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage effective immediately. 

MEDICARE

Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth will help you interact with a wide range of providers from wherever you may be, using different types of communication tools. This includes seeing your doctor, nurse practitioner, clinical psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker from your home using your smartphone. You can check-in for common office visits, mental health counseling and preventive health screenings via telehealth without a copayment if you have Original Medicare. 

Additionally, if your doctor determines that you should not leave home because of a medical condition or due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and you need a skilled service like an infusion or an injection, you may be considered homebound and qualify for the Medicare Home Health Benefit. 

You can find a full description of how Medicare is expanding coverage here.

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

I am continuing to have conversations with our state and local partners for guidance on the best ways to keep you safe. If you have to leave your home for essential activities, California’s public health officials suggest the use of cloth face coverings to protect against spreading COVID-19. This guidance is a recommendation and does not replace social distancing and adequate hand washing protocols. The use of cloth face coverings will reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by individuals who do not have symptoms and will further reinforce precautions taken by physical distancing.

The state continues to emphasize dedicating the use of N-95 or surgical masks for our health care professionals and first responders only. 

Please find guidance on facial coverings here.

Please find guidance from the CDC on making a cloth facial covering at home here.

BLOOD DONATIONS 

During this unprecedented time, we must remember the importance of blood donors and blood drives to support the nation’s blood supply. Both the American Red Cross and Vitalant (formally known as Blood Source) are taking extensive precautions to ensure the safety of donors and staff.  Donated blood is essential in the care of patients relying on lifesaving blood transfusions for surgeries, cancer treatments, car accidents, and other emergencies.

This is a time to take care of one another - If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment now to donate in the days and weeks ahead.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT DONATIONS

If you have a supply of personal protective equipment that you would like to donate for our health professionals, please contact FEMA or the State of California’s COVID-19 Medical Supplies Contributions

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM THE CDC

STAYING UP-TO-DATE

As we continue to face this crisis together, please follow me on social media to learn the latest about what I am doing in response to COVID-19. I will also continue to provide regular updates through these newsletters going forward. Please pass this information along to friends and community members, or direct them to my website where all of this information will be posted after it is sent out. 


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Stay well and keep healthy!

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