Columbia, SC, March 27, 2020 –
As you have undoubtedly heard, cases of the Coronavirus (officially called “2019-Novel Coronavirus” or “COVID-19”) have been confirmed in the state of South Carolina. Like you, we are watching updates from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As we learn more, you can find additional Coronavirus resources and updates here on this page or on our social media.
As of right now, we are postponing our remaining in-person trainings, tax clinics and events for March and April. We are also taking steps to minimize the threat of the virus spreading in our trainings and our communities by working remotely and moving all meetings and outreach online. Our Contact Center will remain open and available to the public during this time. You can reach our Contact Center at 800.726.8774 Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
What You Can Do
While the immediate health risk remains low to most Americans, there are still ways that you can help prevent the spread of this virus to those at high-risk. The virus is spread through contact with infected individuals and that the best prevention method is to “use good hygiene” – and to practice social distancing at home and work.
To prevent the spread of Coronavirus or other illnesses, including the flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds,
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze—not your hands,
- Stay home when you are sick, and
- Call your doctor if you think you are sick. If you don’t have a primary care physician, use a telehealth option. Do not visit the emergency room unless it is an emergency. High-risk patients being exposed or overcrowding of emergency rooms is a threat to all our health.
Visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) website for more information on the Coronavirus, including information about symptoms, treatments, testing, frequently asked questions and other Coronavirus resources. SC DHEC has also created educational and outreach materials including fact sheets in multiple languages, videos, social media content and more available on their website.
Additional SNAP Dollars
The South Carolina Department of Social Services has received a federal waiver to provide additional SNAP dollars to South Carolinians already receiving SNAP benefits. This will bring each SNAP households up to the maximum benefit allowed based on their household size. Households that already receive the maximum will not receive an emergency supplement. You can learn more HERE.
Alternate Ways to Make Money
Looking for alternate ways to pay the bills during the pandemic? Money Management International has a list of ways to earn extra income during the crisis. Learn more HERE.
Updated: Child Mental Health & Coronavirus
If you are a parent, there are Coronavirus resources available to help you talk to your kids during this time. Manuela Molina has written THIS BOOK to help support and reassure children under 7 regarding COVID-19. COVIBOOK is available in English, Spanish and 20 other languages. SAMHSA has also put together a downloadable fact sheet for helping children manage their stress during the outbreak. You can find that fact sheet HERE. This resource from SAMHSA covers children from 0-19 years old. Child Mind Institute has also written THIS ARTICLE about nurturing and protecting children at home during the Coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Nonprofits
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. National Council of Nonprofits has put together an analysis of what this bill means for nonprofits. Find that analysis HERE.
Coronavirus Resources for Rural Providers
The South Carolina Office of Rural Health put together a list resources from global, federal and state agencies that provide guidance for healthcare workers, recommendations for the public, and travel advisories. Find SCORH’s list of Coronavirus resources HERE.
Distance Learning Advice
With distance learning being new to most parents, One Schoolhouse has put together some tips for parents, teachers and administrators for navigating the Coronavirus pandemic. You can find those distance learning tips HERE.
Early Childhood Professionals
If you serve infants and toddlers, Zero to Three has put together a list of Coronavirus Resources to help you serve children and families during the pandemic. You can find resources for professional development, self-care and connecting to families HERE.
Food Insecurity Resources
To help alleviate stress for families and individuals seeking healthy food sources, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina has been working with partners around the state and nation to create a database of food banks, farmers markets, and other foodservice providers the public can access to find healthy food in their county. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Research does show, however, that fresh fruit and vegetables support the immune system, which is something everyone should be concerned about. Find statewide food insecurity Coronavirus resources HERE.
REAL ID Deadline Extended
Temporary closings and restrictions at DMV offices across the country due to Coronavirus have extended the deadline to have a REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021. You can learn more about the REAL ID deadline change HERE.
Student Loan Garnishment Relief
The Department of Education announced that they will stop collection actions and wage garnishments due to the COVID-19 national emergency. This flexibility will last at least 60 days from March 13, 2020. Private collection agencies have also been instructed to stop collection actions for the time being. You can learn more about student loan collections changes HERE.
Veterans & the Coronavirus Outbreak
Our Veterans, especially those experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, may find it incredibly difficult to manage the stress associated with the Coronavirus outbreak. The National Center for PTSD has put together THIS PAGE to help Veterans cope with the stress of COVID-19.
Resources for People
The 2020 Census is underway and the most important thing you can do is respond online, by phone, or by mail when you receive your invitation. Responding now will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send census takers out into communities to follow up. It is easier than ever to complete the Census online, by phone or by mail. Despite rumors, your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus package. You can respond to the census or learn more about ways to respond HERE.
Eviction Suspension Relief
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on March 23, 2020 eviction suspension programs to keep renters in their homes during this difficult time. The program will provide mortgage forbearance for property owners who suspend evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to impacts of Coronavirus. You can learn more about this program HERE.
With the announcement of schools across South Carolina remaining closed through April 30, you may have questions about your child’s homework. The South Carolina State Library is offering tutors.com services through their virtual library for free to South Carolina students. You can access this free tutoring service or learn more HERE.
Immigrant Healthcare Rights
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) makes sure that anyone who needs to be tested for Coronavirus can get tested, even if they don’t have insurance. Coronavirus testing, treatment or preventative care will not be considered in a public charge inadmissibility determination, even if the services are covered by Medicaid. Learn more from the National Immigration Law Center HERE and check out THIS FLYER from Protecting Immigrant Families about immigrant healthcare rights.
SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
Have legal questions relating to Coronavirus? SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center has put together a Coronavirus resource guide for South Carolina available in English and Spanish. You can find their general information page HERE. They have also prepared a Coronavirus resource guide for immigrants in South Carolina available HERE.
Share Coronavirus Resources
Want to share these Coronavirus resources with friends, family coworkers, clients or patients? You can share the link to this page or print and use THIS FLYER that shares information for people who may need resources during this time.
Student Internet Access
Students (K-12 and/or college students) who are currently without internet access are being offered free internet access for 60 days through Spectrum. To enroll call 1.844.488.8395 or learn more HERE.
Apply for Benefits Over the Phone
If you are practicing social distancing or can’t get to a location to apply for SNAP or Medicaid, you can call the SC Thrive Contact Center to apply for benefits over the phone. The SC Thrive Contact Center can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at 800.726.8774.
Caregiving during the Pandemic
Are you a caregiver? Our caregivers across the state have a different perspective when it comes to Coronavirus. The Family Caregiver Alliance has put together a Coronavirus resource page for Family Caregivers during the pandemic that you can find HERE. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has put together a guide for parents and caregivers regarding infectious disease outbreaks that you can find HERE.
Coronavirus for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Mothers
The CDC has put out information specifically for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers concerning Coronavirus. You can learn more HERE.
SC Department of Health and Human Services
On March 17, SC DHHS announced policy changes related to Coronavirus. These changes will help cover testing and patient costs, allow prescription drugs to be refilled early, allow telehealth visits, and more. Learn more about these specific policy changes HERE.
Districts across the state want to make sure students who need food have access to healthy meals. SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center has put together information about current meal distributions plans across the state in both English and Spanish. Find your district’s meal distribution plan HERE.
Use Telehealth Options
If you think you have contracted Coronavirus, call your doctor to see what steps their office would like you to take. If you do not have a primary care provider or a telehealth option, several health systems has added COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, to the list of conditions you can be screened for through Virtual Care. Anyone in South Carolina who has COVID-19-like symptoms can use the online system for free by using the promo code COVID19 through MUSC Health Virtual Care, McLeod Telehealth, Prisma Health Virtual Visit and Roper St. Francis Healthcare Virtual Care. Access free telehealth public options HERE.
Coronavirus & Mental Health
Coronavirus and the pandemic in our world can put a strain on our mental health as well as the threat to our physical health. Mental Health First Aid has a host of Coronavirus resources and blogs available that address mental health. You can access them HERE.
Mental Health Coping Strategies during Coronavirus
Coronavirus can affect everyone’s mental health, but it can be especially difficult for those of us already suffering from mental health issues. Learn about some of NAMI’s suggestions for coping with mental health during this pandemic HERE.
Join us on social media each day to see a new idea or resource for your self-care during this tumultuous time. We are sharing everything from shared Netflix viewing options to virtual tours of museums and aquariums. Big lifestyle changes from social distancing and stress from worldwide events can put a strain on your mental health; don’t forget to take time to care for yourself. We are also sharing more Coronavirus resources you may need!
Online Tax Filing
Practicing social distancing, but haven’t filed your taxes yet? With SC Thrive, you can file state and federal taxes absolutely free if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is less than $65,000 ($95,000 if your filing status is married filing jointly). We opened up the option for our neighbors from North Carolina to file with us as well. You can file your own taxes now at scthrive.org/filetaxes.
Paid Sick Leave
On March 24, 2020, The US Department of Labor announced information about how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will offer relief to families starting on April 1, 2020. Under the FFCRA, employees of businesses with 500 or fewer employees qualify for paid sick time if they are unable to work, or to telework, due to COVID-19. This can cover employees being sick themselves or needing to take care of someone who is sick. Employees and Employers can learn more HERE.
Protect Yourself from Coronavirus Scammers
While navigating the changes Coronavirus has brought to the world, be on the lookout for possible scams from people taking advantage of the situation. Agencies such as SC DSS and USDA, for example, will not request your bank information over the phone to reimburse purchases. Learn more about protecting yourself from scams during this pandemic HERE.
SC Department of Employment and Workforce
Have employment questions regarding Coronavirus? SC DEW has information about their SC Works Centers and Unemployment Benefits HERE. You can call SC DEW and apply for unemployment benefits over the phone at 866.831.1724 Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Tax Filing Deadline Extended
The IRS and SC Department of Revenue have extended the federal and state tax filing deadline to July 15 in light of Coronavirus If you need to file your taxes, you can file online for free at scthrive.org/filetaxes from the comfort of your own home.
Resources for Business & Organizations
FEMA Public Assistance
On March 13, President Trump declared the Coronavirus pandemic an emergency declaration. This declaration allows for state, territorial, tribal and local government entities and certain private non-profit organizations to be eligible to apply for Public Assistance. You can learn more about the FEMA Public Assistance program HERE.
There are many resources for nonprofits during this unprecedented time. TogetherSC has put together a page of nonprofit Coronavirus resources that you can access HERE. The South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development has put together a page of resources for businesses and nonprofits that you can access HERE.
SC Chamber of Commerce
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has put together a page of for the business community as it relates to Coronavirus resources. If you run a business or organization, you can learn more about business resources HERE.
Small Business (and Nonprofit) Disaster Loans
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses and nonprofits who have suffered a substantial economic injury due to Coronavirus. You can learn more or apply for these loans HERE.
Resources for Our Partners
Contact Center Support
If you are postponing appointments with clients or asking staff to work remotely, your clients can still call our Contact Center to apply for benefits over the phone. Don’t forget that our Contact Center is also the Thrive Hub help desk. Our Contact Center can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at 800.726.8774. You can also share these Coronavirus Resources with your clients using THIS FLYER.
Event and Meeting Attendance
Please stay home if you are not feeling well. While we know our training equips people to serve their communities, we welcome you to move your registration to a new date or request a refund on a case-by-case basis. We are also committed to continue offering application assistance over the phone through our Contact Center (800.726.8774) for clients across the state and self-serve tax options online.
Maintaining Healthy Environments
Our rooms and training materials are mandatorily disinfected after each use. This includes markers, computers, toys and name tents. The paper materials given to you to keep have not been handled by other trainees. Our staff and trainers are required to wash their hands before handling these materials and setting up a training. We encourage our staff to wash their hands with soap and warm water as often as possible and avoid touching their faces. We have hand sanitizers available at all our trainings and encourage trainees to wash their hands as necessary throughout the training.
When we return to in-person events, our trainings will be modified by eliminating direct contact or passing items directly between trainees for a time. Also, our trainers will be asked to refrain from extending hands for handshake greetings as people enter and exit our trainings. Let’s exchange smiles, kind words, and elbow bumps instead of handshakes for a season.
Online Meeting Rooms
If you need a way to meet with coworkers, partners or clients electronically, Thrive Hub meeting rooms are available to our trained Thrive Hub Counselors. You can access meeting rooms in the collaborate tab of your personal or organizational workspace. To share the meeting link, send other attendees the URL for your open meeting room. You don’t have to log into Thrive Hub to attend the meeting.
Another option for your organization may be LogMeIn and their entire online platform, including GoToMeeting. LogMeIn is offering free Emergency Remote Work Kits, free of charge, to service providers including municipalities, health care providers, educational institutes and nonprofits. Visit their remote work resource center HERE.
Though we are postponing our in-person trainings, we do offer some online trainings. Our Benefits Trainings, Financial Health Trainings and Tax Trainings are all available for you to take online. Contact our Training Department to sign up for our online trainings.
With a push for social distancing, many community events will be postponed or cancelled in the coming weeks. Make sure that you take precautions for your clients and your organizations and follow state and federal protocols for public events. Make sure you are using reputable sources for your information on these protocols, such as the CDC, SC DHEC and local and county governments.