How much do members pay for screening and testing related to COVID-19?
Healthcare providers have waived all costs associated with screening, testing and medically-necessary treatment for COVID-19. If you are asked to pay for screening, testing or medically-necessary treatment related to COVID-19, please call the Member Services phone number on the back of your Member ID card.
1. Additional Symptoms of Covid-19 to be aware of:
Minor symptoms of COVID-19 include loss of smell and taste, stomach aches, body aches, and nausea.
The COVID-19 virus may progress through the body differently depending on the strength of a person's immune system, which may explain why there's such a wide variety and severity of symptoms.
Symptoms not associated with COVID-19 include pain in a specific limb and skin lesions, or boils.
Coronavirus infections produce a variety of common symptoms, including a dry cough, fever, and, especially in moderate to severe cases, shortness of breath. But doctors who have treated COVID-19 patients have seen a slew of other symptoms that haven't typically been associated with other coronavirus infections.
"Additional symptoms people experience include loss of smell and taste, stomach aches, body aches, and nausea," said Dr. Edo Paz, the vice president of medical at the telemedicine company K Health.
Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and even vomiting, are somewhat prevalent in COVID-19 patients. Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious-disease specialist at Northwell Health, New York's largest healthcare provider, said that from what he'd seen "10% of patients have gastrointestinal symptoms."
What physicians don't understand, however, is why there appears to be such a broad range of symptoms — and outcomes — of COVID-19. "The medical community doesn't know yet why the coronavirus affects people differently, and some more intensely than others," Paz said.
But Dr. Rishi Desai, the chief medical officer at Osmosis, believes the symptoms and outcomes may directly correlate to the way the coronavirus moves through each infected person's body.
"Each person has a unique immune system, and as a result, some people will react very aggressively to COVID-19, and others won't," Desai said. "Symptoms generally correspond to where the virus is located in the body."
How the COVID-19 virus moves through the human body.
Desai said the virus first hits the nose and back of the throat, causing common-cold-like symptoms, including congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. That's also when patients will lose their senses of smell and taste.
Next, Desai said, the virus moves to the lungs, possibly causing shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain. It could then move to the bloodstream, where fever, night sweats, malaise, and fatigue could result.
"That means that some folks may only get symptoms localized to one region whereas others may get a mixture of symptoms across all of the regions," Desai said. Just as concerning, many COVID-19 symptoms can be associated with other ailments, making the illness harder to pin down.
How long can it live in your bathroom?
“It’s not certain how long the virus that causes Coronavirus survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses,” the World Health Organization said. “Studies suggest that coronaviruses — including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus — may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”
Higher temperatures, based on earlier coronaviruses, are likely to degrade it. But experts caution that — as spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, which usually marks the end of the traditional flu season — this novel coronavirus may not necessarily go away in warmer weather. It is from a different family of viruses than the flu, and it is highly contagious.
Its life span will also vary, depending on the type of surface, temperature and/or humidity. Bathrooms are a welcoming environment for coronaviruses. “Previous coronaviruses can remain viable in cold, moist surfaces up to nine days,” Ostrosky said. So if you are sharing a home with someone who has coronavirus, he strongly advises against sharing the same bathroom.
Are men more affected by this than women?
“Men do tend to be more affected than women and their symptoms are often more severe,” Ostrosky said. “Estrogen has a protective effect. When scientists block estrogen production in animals, they become more susceptible to coronaviruses and they get worse symptoms.” He added, “But please don’t take estrogen injections or pills. If you are a man, they will not help you.”
Italy had 86,498 confirmed cases, as of Saturday afternoon, and has had the worst nationwide outbreak after the U.S. (105,573 cases). In Italy, the average age of those who have died from COVID-19 in Italy is 80.3 years old, and only 25.8% are women, according to Silvio Brusaferro, legal representative at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Italy also has the oldest population in Europe.
Is there a gender difference when it comes to influenza? “No, with the flu it’s pretty even,” Ostrosky said. The two illnesses have similar symptoms, including a sore throat and coughing. Coronavirus is a type of virus common in humans and animals and causes mild-to-moderate respiratory illnesses. But in very severe cases it can travel through your body and damage other organs.
2. Stimulus Check & How Much Will it Be?
Here are some answers to questions you may have about the stimulus checks:
Who will receive a stimulus check from the government?
Virtually any U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number is eligible. Veterans, workers eligible for unemployment, and most people receiving Social Security retirement and disability benefits will receive payments too.
Note that young adults who still live at home will not get a check if they can be claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s tax return (whether or not they are actually claimed as a dependent on someone’s return). So a college student whose parents are claiming or could claim them as a dependent on their tax return will not receive a check.
How much money will I get?
Many adults will get $1,200 although this amount will vary by income level. For every qualifying child age 16 and under, a household’s payment will increase by $500.
Single adults with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full $1,200. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. Above these income thresholds, the payment amount will gradually decrease until it stops altogether.
What do I need to do to collect my check?
Nothing! You do not need to register or sign up in any way to receive your payment. If the IRS already has your bank account information, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the federal income tax figures mentioned above.
If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you will receive a paper check in the mail. Either way, you will also get a letter in the mail within a few weeks of payment, letting you know how your money was disbursed.
When will I get the money?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out where we have depository information.”
If you have recently moved, file a Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure the check from the IRS will be sent to your new address.
Those requiring paper checks can expect to wait a little longer.
Will I have to pay taxes on this payment?
No. This money is not taxable, and you will not have to pay it back, even if your income rises above the threshold during 2020.
Like so many other aspects of life right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the government’s economic rescue plan. While we know that payments for households are coming, the Treasury and IRS are still working together to hammer out many of the administrative details.
The IRS has created a website where more information will eventually be posted. For now, there is no additional information available and citizens are being encouraged to check back for updates rather than call the IRS with questions.
ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS
DIRECT PAYMENTS: One-time payments of $1,200 per adult + $500 per minor child
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: All U.S. residents with a work-eligible Social Security number and an individual adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 per year or less. The income limit for those filing as a head of household is $112,500 and married couples is $150,000. The benefit amount gets reduced by $5 for each $100 of additional income exceeding the various category ceilings. Benefits are entirely phased out for individual filers with AGI above $99,000, head of household filers who claim one child with AGI above $145,500, and joint married filers with AGI above $198,000. The government will calculate AGI based on 2018 or 2019 tax filings, depending on which is most recent. For those who collect Social Security payments yet do not file because they fall beneath the filing income threshold, the IRS will use Social Security Benefit Statement Form SSA-1099 to determine eligibility.
TIMELINE: On March 25, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “We expect the IRS will do direct deposit in the next three weeks.” For taxpayers who need a paper check, the process could take much longer, as checks will be sent via regular mail.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: In addition to regular unemployment benefits (UI) administered by each state, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will expand the types of workers who are eligible to apply, extend the duration of time a recipient may receive unemployment benefits, and beef up the typical maximum dollar amounts for unemployment payments. The duration of unemployment benefits is extended by 13 weeks, on top of the number of weeks previously provided according to each state’s rules, which often permit around 26 weeks. For four months, unemployment benefits are also enhanced by $600 per week.
The changes mean freelancers, gig economy, and self-employed workers who are normally not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will become eligible. Some lower-income workers will also be able to maintain their full salaries under the program if forced out of work as a result of the pandemic. States are required to ensure that applicants can apply for benefits in one of three ways: in person, by phone, or online. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: employees, freelancers, gig economy workers, self-employed
TIMELINE: The enhanced duration applies to claims for unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020
PAID SICK LEAVE: The “phase 2” bill passed in mid-March provides full-time employees of small- and mid-size businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees, and conditional exceptions for companies with fewer than 50 employees) with 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time workers paid-sick leave for a number of hours equal to the number of hours the employee works on average over a 2-week period. Payments are equal to 100% of an employee’s usual compensation, capped at $511 per day. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? U.S. employees of small- and mid-size firms who have worked at the company for at least a month and are unable to work or telework due to COVID19. Paid sick leave does not require that an employee is or becomes ill and may be used in addition to paid family leave. Employees who are instructed to remain at home to abide by a company’s social distancing rules are eligible.
Parents of minor children who cannot work or telework because of child care duties caused by school closures may apply for paid sick leave, in addition to paid family leave. The Labor Department has the discretion to permit employers with fewer than 50 employees to opt-out of the mandate if making such payments to employees would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Employers with 500 or more employees are exempt, and employers of healthcare workers and emergency responders may elect to exclude employees.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE: Provides up to 12 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds of an employee’s usual rate, capped at $200 per day. Employees who work for small- and mid-size businesses will be eligible if they need to quarantine, care for a family member, or care for a child at home because their school is closed. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? U.S. employees of small- and mid-size firms who have worked at the company for at least a month and are unable to work or telework due to COVID19. The Labor Department has the discretion to permit employers with fewer than 50 employees to opt-out of the mandate if making such payments to employees would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Employers with 500 or more employees are exempt, and employers of healthcare workers and emergency responders may elect to exclude employees.
STUDENT LOANS: The Department of Education is permitting borrowers with federal student loans to defer payments, penalty-free, until September 30, 2020. Non-defaulted borrowers who hold federal student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a minimum of 60 days, under already adopted legislation. The option to suspend student loan payments requires borrowers to request such relief from their loan servicer(s). In addition, the Department has stopped all requests to the U.S. Treasury to garnish money from the paychecks, federal income tax refunds, and Social Security payments from defaulted borrowers.
Garnishments that had been in the process of being withheld from March 13, 2020 will be refunded, totaling about $1.8 billion to more than 830,000 borrowers. The Department says it expects the number of borrowers who will benefit from the offset relief to increase. The Education Department has further instructed private collection firms that it employs to collect on defaulted student loans to “halt all proactive collection activities,” including making phone calls to borrowers and issuing collection letters and billing statements. A temporary exclusion has also been put in place to permit tax filers to exclude employer-paid student loan payments from income.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: Federal student loan borrowers in repayment, eligibility varies for those in good standing versus those in default. Learn more.
TAX RELIEF: The tax filing deadline has been changed from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury and IRS have also extended the due date for certain federal income tax payments that would have been due on April 15, to July 15. Individual and other non-corporate filers may defer up to $1 million of income tax payments that would have been due April 15. No penalties or interest will be assessed or collected for such deferred payments. Gig workers and those who are self-employed are eligible to receive paid sick leave benefits in the form of a tax credit. Charitable donation deduction caps for individuals will also be increased. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? All U.S. tax filers.
MEDICARE & MEDICAID: COVID-19 lab tests (with no out of pocket costs), medically necessary hospitalizations (including quarantine), qualifying vaccines if vaccines become available, telemedicine. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: Those who are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid.
FOOD ASSISTANCE: Additional funding to the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously referred to as "food stamps," is bolstering funds available to low-income households to assist with food purchases. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? SNAP eligibility is determined at the state government level. States calculate eligibility based on cash available and income level.
RETIREMENT ACCOUNT WITHDRAWS: Permits penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts up to $100,000 for funds needed to address COVID-19-related issues.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? Retirement account holders.
ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL- & MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESSES
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM: Provides 8 weeks of cash flow assistance up to $10 million to small businesses through 100% federally guaranteed no and low-interest loans that are eligible for forgiveness, under circumstances described below under “loan forgiveness.” Funds may be used for payroll wages and benefits, rent, mortgage payments and utilities, all of which is eligible for loan forgiveness. Loans will be accessible by applying through SBA-approved banks, credit unions and other lenders. Learn more.
The program also provides low-interest loan financing through banks and other lenders for mid-size businesses. Lenders participating under the mid-size business program must maintain an annualized interest rate at or below 2%, and assess no interest during the first 6 months of the loan.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: U.S. business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories — including sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed, nonprofit organization, or veterans organizations — with 500 or fewer employees, which retain their workers, or rehire workers already laid off due to COVID-19, are eligible for the small business cash flow assistance. Mid-size business emergency loans are available to companies with between 500 and 10,000 employees that use funds to retain at least 90% of their workforce, at full compensation and benefits, until September 30, 2020.
TIMELINE: Some of the money is “already starting to be approved,” an SBA official told Yahoo Finance last Friday. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says additional funds from this week’s bill could begin processing by next week.
EMERGENCY GRANTS: Advance of $10,000 within three days, to provide paid sick leave, maintain payroll, and other debt obligations. Expedites access to capital through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. Learn more.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE: U.S. business owners with 500 or fewer employees
LOAN FORGIVENESS: Distributions of federally-guaranteed small business loans that are used for payrolls that include employee salaries, cash tips, paid sick leave, insurance premiums, mortgage payments, utilities, and other debt obligations will be forgiven.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? U.S. business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories with 500 or fewer employees who retain their workers, or rehire workers laid off due to COVID-19.
LOAN RELIEF: Provides 6 months of loan forbearance for principal, interest, and fees on already distributed SBA loans.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are current debtors on an SBA loan.
INCOME TAX RELIEF: The tax filing deadline has been changed from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury and IRS have also extended the due date for certain thresholds of federal income tax payments (including self-employment tax) that would have been due on April 15, to July 15. Small business filers may defer up to $1 million of income tax payments that would have been due April 15. New deductions for business improvements will become available, in addition to increased caps on allowable business interest deductibility and operating losses. Learn more.
PAYROLL TAX RELIEF: Provides two immediately refundable, dollar-for-dollar payroll tax credits for costs associated with providing coronavirus-related paid and sick leave to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
WHO’S ELIGIBLE? Small and mid-size employers
ASSISTANCE FOR LARGE CORPORATIONS
LOANS & GRANTS: The “phase 3” bill includes a $454 billion fund for a new lending and grant agency to help distressed corporations, with an additional $46 billion earmarked for the passenger and cargo airline industries. $17 billion of the fund will go to assist companies vital to national security. A new “Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery” will oversee the money that is disbursed.
TAX RELIEF: The tax filing deadline has been changed from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury and IRS have also extended the due date for certain thresholds of federal income tax payments (including self-employment tax) that would have been due on April 15, to July 15. Corporate filers may defer up to $10 million of income tax payments that would have been due April 15. Learn more.
FINANCIAL REPORTING: Public companies impacted by coronavirus may be eligible for an extension to file regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Companies with filings due on or by July 1 may be granted an extension depending on the SEC’s evaluation of its specific circumstances. The SEC also granted 45-day extensions on filings due between March 1 and April 30.
3. As much as most of us are all trying to limit our exposure to the outside world, some people still need to go out to work, and many need to go to the store, pharmacy or gas station.
But experts say there are things you may be unknowingly doing that could be bringing COVID-19 into your home.
One easy thing you can do to prevent bringing in unwanted germs into your home is to keep a second set of clothes near the door so you can change.
Turn your outerwear inside out, and before you step into the house, take off your shoes.
Pay attention to the soles because it only takes seconds for pathogens to stick to other surfaces. You can spray them down with something that kills viruses and bacteria, or better yet, wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe.
Internal medicine expert Dr. John de Beixedon said coronavirus is an "enveloped viruses," meaning they are enveloped with a fat layer. But disinfectants can tear apart that layer.
Therefore, the best way to break them down and kill them is with soap and water. Also, make sure you vigorously rub your hands, and interlace fingers as that physical action helps clean thoroughly.
Hand sanitizers inactivate the virus, but it may still live on your hands, so don't touch your face and make sure to wash them as soon as you can. "Plastics can also have those viral particles for up to three days. Cardboard for about 24 hours and copper surfaces about four hours," Dr. de Beixedon said.
Other research suggests the virus can live on stainless steel surfaces for two to three days.
"The more fresh air we have, the less likely we are to be inundated by viral particles that can lead to illness," he added.
Also, wash and wipe down all of the places people in your home touch all the time, such as doors knobs, toilet handles, tables, and countertops.
"Lysol makes an aerosol that's 99.9%, it kills 99.9% of germs and curiously, one of the germs that they listed on there is Coronavirus," he said.
If you have to rush inside, one helpful tip is to wear makeshift plastic booties to cover your shoes.
You can even use a plastic hair cover. A little creativity can help to keep you healthy.
How to Safely Grocery Shop During Coronavirus:
4. Covid-19 Cases in Los Angeles County city and community: (updated on a daily base)
5. The US Food and Drug Administration authorized the test for emergency use, signaling that federal regulators were satisfied with the test's validation data and believe its benefits outweigh any risks, such as false positives or negatives.
The test's maker, Abbott Laboratories, said it expects to deliver 50,000 tests per day beginning next week. The technology behind the test looks for genes that are present in the virus, similar to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests already on the market.
The platform used to run the test weighs less than 7 pounds, according to Abbott, and could be deployed "where testing is needed most."
Last week, the FDA authorized another rapid test from molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, which provides results in about 45 minutes. Most laboratory tests for the coronavirus take anywhere from a few hours to days to receive results.
All FDA-authorized tests, however, require samples from patients and health care facilities say they're facing shortages of critical supplies needed to collect specimens.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued guidance allowing some patients to collect their own nasal swabs in health care facilities, which could reduce the amount of protective equipment needed for health care workers.
But in some places, like New York City, health officials have said that patients with a coronavirus-like illness should stay home, saying that is "safer for the patients and health care workers" and doesn't change the treatment patients receive.
6. Avoid Fraud During the Coronavirus Crisis with These Tips
Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online.
Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations
The U.S. Attorney’s Office urges everyone to follow these tips to better protect themselves from these types of fraud schemes:
Ignore unsolicited offers for coronavirus cures, vaccines, pills, or treatment. If there is a medical breakthrough, you will not hear about it first through an email, advertisement, or door-to-door sales pitch. Be aware that fraudsters often use addresses that differ only slightly from the entities that they are impersonating, such as “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
Do not share personal information with strangers. Be extremely cautious about unsolicited emails or ads that request your personal information for any purpose. Legitimate healthcare providers will not call or email you and demand medical information, personal identifying information, or money for treatment they have provided to a friend or relative.
Do not open emails or links from unknown sources. In doing so, you could download malware or a virus onto your computer or device.
Be extremely cautious when sending money in any form. If a business, charity, or individual is requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail, be careful. Take extra steps to verify the identity of the receiving party and the security of the transaction.
Have up-to-date software protections on your devices. Be sure the anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer or device is operating and up-to-date.
If you or someone you know has been the target or victim of a fraud scheme related to the Coronavirus, be sure to report the incident to the national hotline at The National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or at email@example.com.
Even Spain is sending back the self-test kits from China for being Faulty.
7. DMV , all locations closed and preparing to do business over the online. Real ID sign up and change pushed back to Oct. 2021
8. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on Friday banning the eviction of renters who are affected by COVID-19.
The order will last through May 31, 2020, according to Newsom's office.
In addition to prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants for missing rent payment, it also requires tenants to declare in writing that they cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19 within seven days of rent being due.
Under Newsom's order, the tenant would be required to have documentation of their payment struggles and would still be obligated to repay full rent when possible. Renters could still face eviction after the enforcement is lifted.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Newsom said many banks have agreed to a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments for Californians Impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The governor said more than 200 banks, including Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, JPMorgan Chase and US Bank, agreed to the moratorium for homeowners. An additional 200 state charter banks and credit unions made similar commitments, Newsom said.
"Families should not lose their homes because of COVID-19," Newsom wrote on Twitter
9. A 90-year-old woman in Washington state recovered from the coronavirus, and she credits family, God, and potato soup ( Needed to add some good news )
10. A leading South Korean doctor says Trump's 'pride' and 'ego' are putting the world's health at risk
11. Concerned you’re sick?
Call your doctor’s office first if you think you’ve been exposed and have developed symptoms.
If you don’t have your provider information, call your health insurance company to get connected at the phone number below.
All medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 is free of charge (in other words, there’s zero cost-sharing). This includes emergency room, urgent care, telehealth or doctor’s office visits when the purpose of the visit is to be screened and tested for COVID-19.
We encourage you to consider using telehealth for assessment or treatment for any cold or cough symptoms, including concern for COVID-19 (that is, connecting with a health care provider by phone or video, rather than going in person). All of our health plans offer telehealth services for this purpose, which is not subject to any cost-sharing.
Stay home if you are sick and avoid public areas and public transportation. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose in a lined trash can. As much as possible, separate yourself from other people and pets in your home. If you are sick and you must leave home, wear a face mask.