News regarding the federal, state, and local response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly. Here are some bullet points for today:
- COVID-19 Testing Site Utilizes New Self-swab Method
- Treasury, IRS Unveil Online Application To Help With Economic Impact Payments
- Gov. Abbott Announces $38 Million In Federal COVID-19 Emergency Funding For Local Governments
- Early Giving Begins For North Texas Giving Tuesday Now
COVID-19 Testing Site Utilizes New Self-swab Method
The community-based COVID-19 testing site at Ellis Davis Field House began utilizing self-swab testing kits, transitioning from nasopharyngeal swabs beginning April 15.
“The self-swab testing method proves to be less invasive and is safer for patients and healthcare providers,” said Randall Payton, incident commander of both community-based testing site locations. “Health and safety are the primary goals for workers and those being tested. We’re confident this new method will decrease the risk of contamination.”
The new process allows people being tested to swab shallowly in their nose as opposed to a healthcare professional collecting a sample from further up the nasal cavity.
The self-swab kits were delivered last week. The American Airlines Center location will continue using nasopharyngeal swabs.
Treasury, IRS Unveil Online Application To Help With Economic Impact Payments
Working with the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service April 15 unveiled the new Get My Payment online tool at IRS.gov with features to let taxpayers check on their economic impact payment date and update direct deposit information.
With an initial round of more than 80 million economic impact payments starting to hit bank accounts over the weekend and throughout this week, the new tool is meant to help address common questions. Get My Payment will show the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled, similar to the “Where’s My Refund” tool many taxpayers are already familiar with.
Get My Payment also allows people a chance to provide their bank information. People who did not use direct deposit on their last tax return will be able to input information to receive the payment by direct deposit into their bank account.
“Get My Payment will offer people with a quick and easy way to find the status of their payment and, where possible, provide their bank account information if we don’t already have it,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our IRS employees have been working non-stop on the Economic Impact Payments to help taxpayers in need. In addition to successfully generating payments to more than 80 million people, IRS teams throughout the country proudly worked long days and weekends to quickly deliver Get My Payment ahead of schedule.”
For more information about the economic impact payments, visit the IRS website.
Gov. Abbott Announces $38 Million In Federal COVID-19 Emergency Funding For Local Governments
Governor Greg Abbott April 15 announced his Public Safety Office (PSO) will provide $38 million in federal funds to local governments in Texas. These funds come from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program authorized by the federal Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations Act.
Jurisdictions can use this funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment, supplies, training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in local and tribal jails and detention centers.
“These funds will help our local governments respond to COVID-19 and provide the resources that our communities need,” said Governor Abbott. “I am grateful to our federal partners for making this crucial financial support available to the state of Texas.”
Examples of allowable costs include:
- Personnel Overtime (peace officer, jailer, correctional officer, medical, and other essential staff)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Supplies (i.e. gloves, masks, sanitizer, disinfectant)
- Temporary Staff
- Medical care for inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19
- Any other costs associated with the implementation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Guidance documents
Interested jurisdictions can access the Public Safety Office’s eGrants grant management website at https://eGrants.gov.texas.gov to register and apply for funding.
Early Giving Begins For North Texas Giving Tuesday Now
We end today’s digest with a way our readers can help those impacted by the pandemic now. Early giving for North Texas Giving Tuesday Now via the website began April 14 and lasts until May 4.
North Texas Giving Tuesday Now is from 6 a.m. to midnight May 5 and will be an online campaign that will run on the Communities Foundation of Texas North Texas Giving Day platform. The effort is a partnership between the Dallas Cowboys, Communities Foundation of Texas, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
Donors can support the targeted relief and recovery funds with a gift of any amount, give directly to organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, and/or support the needs of more than 3,000 local nonprofits that participated in North Texas Giving Day 2019.
“We witness the power of unity to create change every day at United Way,” said Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Especially in times like these, North Texans always step forward together to support our communities. This crisis can be a defining moment of solidarity. Our nonprofits are on the front lines, and they need everyone’s generous support to respond to the unprecedented need created by this pandemic.”
In addition to donating money to nonprofits helping to meet the needs of the community during the global COVID-19 pandemic, donors can also volunteer virtually, give to general COVID-19 relief and recovery funds on the home page, or set up a FUNdraising page to raise money for their favorite nonprofit.
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