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07/01/2020
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COVID-19

June 15, 2020

April 20, 2020

Small Business Loan Discretionary Grant Program

The St. Louis Port Authority is sponsoring the Small Business Resource Discretionary Grant Program through the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. This new St. Louis County program will give $500 discretionary grants to help sole proprietors, contract workers, gig workers, 1099 workers, and other businesses who do not qualify for our Small Business Resource Program (SBRP). The grant program is giving a preference for businesses in the Promise Zone area in North County and Lemay in South County to help businesses lessen the burden of paying for rent or even for groceries to help them get through this crisis. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2VBr5MD

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.

Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as we can. We hope these supplemental funds will help you get through the next days and weeks.

Zip codes qualified in our area:
63042
63137
63033
63121
63135
63136
63138

TO QUALIFY YOU MUST

  • Employ between 3 and 20 people
  • Be located in an economically vulnerable community
  • Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

April 14, 2020

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis seeking input from regional businesses

In partnership with numerous chambers of commerce and regional organizations, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is conducting a confidential survey of business leaders in the seven-state region of the Eighth Federal Reserve District. The survey will directly assist monetary policymakers and regional leaders in making decisions that impact the employment and financial situations of businesses in our region.

The survey does not require a firm name, and individual responses will be accessible only by a few economists at the Federal Reserve. The aggregate results will be analyzed and complied into a report for the public. Click below to complete the survey.

Take the survey

If you have questions, please contact Charles Gascon, Regional Economist at the St. Louis Fed at charles.s.gascon@stls.frb.org.

Stay healthy,

Greater North County Chamber

St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force – overview and FAQ

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is an unprecedented collaboration that includes BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s.  The St. Louis metropolitan area’s largest health systems are working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to prepare for a coming surge of patients.  The Task Force is also coordinating with public health departments, elected leaders and state and federal agencies to provide the best possible care for patients.  Dr. Alex Garza, Chief Medical Officer at SSM Health and Incident Commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Taskforce will hold daily briefings on Facebook Live at 3pm – the link is below.  I will also forward to you the daily briefing slide deck and link .

https://www.facebook.com/St-Louis-Metropolitan-Pandemic-Task-Force-114664760188697/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Overview

“This is deadly serious for this community right now.”

  • The next few weeks will be extraordinarily challenging for this community. This virus will reach every part of the metro area.
  • You and your family are NOT immune to this virus. Neither is our region. This will hit us hard. How hard it hits is really up to everyone in the region and the approach we take.
  • We have all seen what the virus has done to people and healthcare systems from Illinois to Washington State to Louisiana to the most extreme situations in places like New York and Italy. That same virus is spreading in our region today. We could easily face the same kind of situation – unless we all stop the spread now.
  • This is deadly math. The lack of testing hinders our ability to understand the full impact of the virus. To the best of our knowledge, this virus kills 1 to 2 people out of every 100 who become infected. We really can’t change that statistic—we can only change the number of people who get infected.
  • Right now, we are on a pace that would result in thousands of people hospitalized and, potentially, hundreds of deaths across the St. Louis metro area. However, this modeling does not have to become our reality. Through our individual and collective actions, we do have the power to stop the spread. That would reduce the number of people who are sick, and the number of people who ultimately die.
  • To be really clear: If we want to lower the number of people who get very sick and die, we need to lower the number of people who get infected.
  • We don’t have a vaccine for this virus – all we can do to prevent this threat is to stop it from spreading.
  • Most of you probably know someone who works in healthcare in this region or as a first-responder. This virus poses a real threat to them as they selflessly care for our sickest patients, so we have to stop the spread to protect healthcare workers. Other essential workers – from grocery workers to janitors to utility workers and more – are also at risk as they continue to provide the basic services we all depend on.
  • We have a chance to bend the curve and avoid that reality – but this couldn’t be more serious. Stop spread. Save lives.

“We have a regional plan to stop the spread and save lives.”

  • Based on the data, our health systems, public health directors and leaders came together.
  • Our region’s elected leaders acted appropriately and boldly weeks ago to close schools and casinos; ban large events; transition bars and restaurants to carry-out or delivery only; and implement “stay at home” orders across the metropolitan area.
  • Meanwhile, our healthcare systems came together to plan for a surge in cases and manage capacity, ventilators, and other supplies as if they were one hospital system.
  • That’s why our major health systems, BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital, have come together to form the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, with Dr. Alex Garza as their system-wide incident commander.
  • As a unified system, all of the hospitals have cancelled elective procedures to free up space and resources, evaluating and expanding care spaces, re-training staff and ensuring the best use of resources. Under the Task Force’s leadership, we are also evaluating and expanding care spaces, retraining staff, and more.
  • The Task Force is also coordinating constantly with public health officials on matters relating to testing, alternative sites of care, transportation and other issues that will be essential to our metro-wide response in the coming week.
  • It is an unprecedented step for our healthcare systems to come together to create a structure like the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force – but this is an unprecedented challenge and we are all in this together.
  • Our community is blessed to have outstanding healthcare providers – and many of them.  But without unified coordination by a Task Force with our elected leaders and public health officials, and without extraordinary efforts to stop the spread of this virus, COVID-19 could overwhelm our region’s healthcare capacity.
  • Because of his unique background, we have asked Dr. Garza to help lead the system’s coordinated response as incident commander for this effort. Dr. Garza is a trained emergency physician with more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. Army Reserves. He also served as Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Task Force’s coordination and the heroic work of our healthcare workers will help save lives. But we all need to help stop the spread by following social distancing orders, staying at home as much as possible, washing our hands frequently and cleaning surfaces.

“Do your part.”

  • What we do today will absolutely impact how many people get sick, how many people are able to recover in the coming weeks, and how many people lose their lives. Stay home. Wash hands. Save lives.
  • The next 10 days to 2 weeks are critical. A surge is coming. Each of us can affect how big that surge is.
  • Our health care workers are already working to save lives and doing heroic work.
  • But what we do as individuals – whether we stay at home, whether we practice social distancing, whether we wash our hands – will directly impact whether our healthcare providers are able to manage the curve, or whether we get overwhelmed.
  • If you are sick, call your healthcare provider. Don’t just show up and don’t wait.  Call.
  • We will get through this if we all do our part. And eventually, our economy will restart and lives will begin to return to normal. But the single most important priority for our community for now must be to stop/slow the spread of this virus.

“We are together in this challenge.”

  • Our region is strongest when we all come together.
  • This virus doesn’t stop at a zip code or a neighborhood. It doesn’t care. What we do in St. Clair County will help protect people there and in St. Charles. What we do in the City of St. Louis will save lives there and in St. Louis County.
  • The St. Louis region is known around the world for our response to the 1918 influenza pandemic. This region did what others did not do and we saved a lot of lives. It was really a textbook example in public health. We can do this.
  • We have world-class medical research and treatment facilities – COVID and vaccine research; thriving agricultural and other industries; rapidly emerging geospatial capabilities.
  • Many business leaders and people across the community have reached out to see how they can help and be a part of the solution, because they are committed to the vitality of our region.
  • This is a community of boundless generosity, ingenuity and compassion.
  • We rally together when times are tough – , we have come together and we will only become stronger.

 
 Issues/Q&A

(TASK FORCE) Who belongs to it?
The task force includes our metropolitan area’s largest healthcare systems, including BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital (this includes 24 total healthcare facilities in the Metropolitan Statistical Area). They are working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to prepare for a coming surge of patients. They are also coordinating with public health departments, elected leaders and state and federal agencies to provide the best possible care to patients in the weeks ahead.

(TASK FORCE) Where can I follow task force briefings?
Task force briefings are streamed live on Facebook here, and task force briefing slides are also shared: https://www.facebook.com/St-Louis-Metropolitan-Pandemic-Task-Force-114664760188697/

(REGION DEFINITION) How are we defining the region?
All of the modeling we have done is based on the Metropolitan Statistical Area of the St. Louis region. That includes St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Lincoln County and Warren County in Missouri. And, the Illinois counties of St. Clair, Madison, Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin and Monroe. Approximately 2.8 million people live in the MSA.

(MODELING) What do the models predict?
The models paint a grim picture with many thousands of people hospitalized and way too many people dead from all over the region. But we are not trapped by those models. We can stop the spread of this virus and demonstrate what happens when an entire region comes together to stop a common enemy. Stop spread. Save lives.

(MODELING – SPECIFICS) Can you tell us exactly how many people might get sick or be hospitalized?
Our current modeling shows that more than 80,000 people in the metro area could become infected by the end of April. That could result in anywhere from around 1,300 to more than 3,000 total patients in our hospitals based on our current modeling. The higher end of that range could potentially overwhelm our healthcare capacity, especially our ICU’s and ventilators, as well as burn out our region’s healthcare professionals.

However, I want to stress that this is based entirely on how much the virus spreads in the community. Therefore, the single most important thing we can do is prevent this region from reaching our crisis number of patients. We can do that by decreasing the spread.  Stay home. Wash your hands. Clean surfaces often, if you are sick, contact your healthcare provider or the health department and isolate yourself. If we do these things, we can lower the number of people who become infected which lowers the number who will need hospital and intensive care and makes the jobs of our healthcare workers easier.

(MODELING) When does the surge hit the St. Louis metro area?
Based on our modeling, we expect the surge to hit within the next two to three weeks. Our work today will impact how big that surge is.

(TESTING AVAILABILITY) Do we have enough COVID-19 tests right now?
When something of this scale is coming, every single resource we have is precious. There are not enough available tests right now to test everyone who might show symptoms consistent with this virus. This is a national problem, not just a local one. That’s why we have to do everything we can to stop the spread (stay home, wash hands, clean surfaces) even if we are feeling well.

(PPE SUPPLY) Do we have enough PPE for health care workers in this area?
We are going to need more. How much more we need depends on how effective we are at stopping the spread. The health systems and government leaders are doing everything we can to get more PPE, but we really need everyone in the region to help us by stopping the spread.

I have seen amazing efforts to make masks at home for healthcare professionals. We are so thankful for that, but the very best thing you can do to protect healthcare professionals is not to make a mask, but to stay home and stop the spread. We are developing a metro-wide framework by which we will track PPE and supplies across all of our hospital systems, and going forward, I will be able to update you regularly on where we stand. Those numbers will change in real time, but we will do our do our very best to keep you informed.

We don’t have enough beds for the worst possible surge that could come and that is what we are hoping to avoid by asking people to stay home, wash their hands and stop the spread. That’s the only way we reduce infections and hospitalizations. We are developing a metro-wide framework by which we will track capacity across all of our hospital systems, and going forward, I will be able to update you regularly on where we stand. Those numbers will change in real time, but we will do our do our very best to keep you informed.

(TRIAGE/CARE GUIDELINES) How will you make decisions about who gets care if this surge happens?
We don’t want to get to a place where we have to make decisions about who gets care and who doesn’t. We want to avoid that by stopping the spread here. But, we are working through now how those decisions would be made if we get to that point.

(ALTERNATIVE CARE SITES) Are you exploring using alternative sites for care?
We are exploring every potential resource to deal with the surge that could be coming. As health systems we are working together to share resources. We will continue to do that to meet needs.

But, there are many other issues besides space. If the surge we anticipate does come, we would need more staff, more equipment and other resources. We don’t really have all of that available to us. What we can do is prevent the spread of this virus and avoid the surge that would force us to find alternative sites for care.

 

(HEALTH CARE STAFFING/BURNOUT/ILLNESS) How are you dealing with healthcare staffing shortages caused by illness or burnout?
That is a really important issue and we are working together to make sure that we are taking care of those who are taking care of us. They are going to get tired. They are going to be stressed. They are going to worry about exposing their own families when they go home at night. We are doing what we can to help by arranging additional staff and hotels where they can sleep at night without exposing their families.

Plus, this goes beyond healthcare workers. We should be thinking about first responders, grocery store workers and others whose work is really essential to our daily lives. But, the best thing we can do to protect all of them is to stop the spread.
(TIMING) When will this be over? When will you know that what we are doing is working?
We will know in the next few weeks whether what we are doing is having an impact. When we see a decrease in the number and severity of the cases we are seeing, we will know. Test results are lagging indicators so it will take a while to know what kind of impact we are having. Most models show this will be with us for months.

We do know that staying home, creating social distance and washing hands will have an impact and help us get through this more quickly.

(MENTAL HEALTH CARE) How should we deal with the mental and emotional stress this crisis is causing?
Humans are social creatures. We need to be with each other and all of us who are working on this recognize that. But, for a while, we need to do life differently. We need to protect the people we love and our neighbors by staying at home and connecting only through technology.

(EQUITY/ACCESS TO CARE) What are we doing to ensure there is equal access to care across socioeconomic and racial demographics?
That is a very important issue. This virus doesn’t discriminate in any way. All of us are vulnerable and we are all dependent on everyone. So, we have to take care of everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

If you need care call your health provider. If you don’t have a health provider and you are concerned you may have this virus you can go to the , the or the for a virtual visit with a provider. You can share your symptoms and a healthcare provider will evaluate that information and offer a recommendation for you.  You can also reach out to great providers like Affinia Healthcare or CareSTL.

Have some spare time on your hands these days? Help healthcare workers in need by making cloth masks! It’s easy! If you or your organization is able to provide cloth masks, please email EOCdonations@stlouisco.com.

April 8, 2020

From the Governmental Affairs Committee: SEMA

SEMA adapts Applicant Briefing to online presentation in support of local governments, nonprofits statewide involved in COVID-19 response

Normal in-person presentation about FEMA program rules and application process shift to online video format for local governments and eligible agencies included in federal Public Assistance disaster declaration

Editor’s Note:
The Applicant Briefings are not for the general public and there will not be any information related to the FEMA Individual Assistance program, which provides assistance to individuals and families.

JEFFERSON CITY – Following the federal disaster declaration for COVID-19 on March 26, the State Emergency Management Agency has made an online applicant briefing available for local government and nonprofit agencies statewide that are eligible for federal assistance for emergency protective measures taken as part of the COVID-19 response. This online presentation was developed to align with SEMA’s social distancing measures.

SEMA strongly encourages all eligible agencies in Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis that plan to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to review the video on SEMA’s website, in order to better understand program changes, eligibility information, the federal reimbursement process, documentation requirements and other essential program information. All Requests for Public Assistance must be submitted to FEMA within 30 days of the March 26 disaster declaration date, or April 25. Applicants should note that the Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) must first be received by SEMA, processed, and then submitted to FEMA by the April 25 deadline, and to plan accordingly.

Governmental agencies, public health agencies, public hospitals, urgent care facilities, etc., and private non-profits that incurred COVID-19 related expenses should review the Applicant Briefing video, including those that are unsure of their eligibility status to ensure proper steps are being taken now to receive reimbursements.

SEMA encourages public officials and community leaders in all 114 Missouri counties to share information about the Applicant Briefing video with all potential applicants to ensure they have an opportunity to watch the video online and submit a request for FEMA Public Assistance.

View the Applicant Briefing video and other necessary information about the FEMA Public Assistance program at: http://sema.dps.mo.gov/programs/state_public_assistance.php.

For questions about the Applicant Briefings or the Public Assistance program, please call (573) 526-9234.

April 4, 2020

DED Stay-At-Home Order: Business Guidance

The following guidelines may assist businesses and individuals with understanding and complying with the Stay-at-Home Order issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services and effective on April 6, 2020.

  1. The order requires individuals to practice social distancing when outside their homes to work; to access food, prescriptions, health care, and other necessities; or to engage in outdoor activity.
  2. The order does not require all businesses statewide to close or cease operating.
  3. This order sets a baseline to be followed throughout the state concerning public health. This order does not affect the authority of local authorities within the state to issue or enforce more restrictive public health requirements for businesses or individuals.
  4. The order refers businesses to guidance by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist in determining whether the work their employees do is considered “essential” during the COVID-19 response period.
    • Workplaces that qualify as essential under the guidance may remain open.
      • When feasible, workers should work from home.
      • Workers onsite should take all necessary precautions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including practicing social distancing except when performance of job duties requires otherwise.
    • Workplaces that qualify as essential and are engaged in retail sales to the public must limit the number of people in each retail location to the following standards based on the workplace’s fire or building code occupancy:
      • For smaller locations (less than 10,000 square feet), they must maintain 25 percent or less of the authorized occupancy;
      • For larger locations (10,000 square feet or greater), they must maintain 10 percent or less of the authorized occupancy.
    • Workplaces that do not qualify as essential but can operate with fewer than 10 people and while maintaining social distancing may remain open. Workers onsite should take all necessary precautions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
    • For workplaces that do not qualify as essential under the order or the federal guidance but believe that, in the interest of public health and safety, they should receive a waiver from the prohibition against social gatherings of 10 or more people, they may apply to the Department of Economic Development Director, through the Department’s website at https://ded.mo.gov/businesswaiver, for a waiver of that limitation.
    • Daycares, child care providers, or schools providing child care for working families should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance targeted for those operations.
  5. Individuals should continue:
    • to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people;
    • to practice social distancing;
    • to refrain from visiting nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, and assisted living homes; and
    • to recognize that state office buildings are closed to the public.

April 2, 2020

The State DED and Regional Chamber need real-time information about the impact from the businesses, please take time to let them know how you are doing, it matters:  http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egz8xkc4k7xjg53t/_tmp/greeting

Coronavirus Emergency Loans: Small Business Guide & Checklist

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

Business/Economic Relief Information and Funding Assistance:

Other resources you might want to be aware of:

Other items of interest:

Food Delivery Services:

CDC’s Official Website for COVID-19 Updates:

Tips for Working at Home:

Ideas and Free Educational Materials for Kids at Home:

Scholastic’s Free Learn at Home Program    
https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

Khan Academy Free Learning
https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vSZhOdEPAWjUQpqDkVAlJrFwxxZ9Sa6zGOq0CNRms6Z7DZNq-tQWS3OhuVCUbh_-P-WmksHAzbsrk9d/pub

Crash Course YouTube Channel
https://thecrashcourse.com/