our resources and response to

COVID 19

Overview

Background

CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 150 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concernexternal icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. On March 11, WHO publiclyexternal icon characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergencyexternal icon.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoVSARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

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Severity

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Now a Pandemic

A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide and community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries. On March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the WHOexternal icon.

Risk Assessment

Risk depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness) and the relative success of these. In the absence of vaccine or treatment medications, nonpharmaceutical interventions become the most important response strategy. These are community interventions that can reduce the impact of disease.

The risk from COVID-19 to Americans can be broken down into risk of exposure versus risk of serious illness and death.

Risk of exposure:

  • The immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans, but as the outbreak expands, that risk will increase. Cases of COVID-19 and instances of community spread are being reported in a growing number of states.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with the level of risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with level of risk dependent on where they traveled.

Risk of Severe Illness:

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

CDC Recommends

  • Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
    • On March 16, the White House announced a program called “15 Days to Slow the Spread,”pdf iconexternal icon which is a nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the implementation of social distancing at all levels of society.
    • Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
    • If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home.
    • If you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home.
  • For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.external icon

Public Health Information and Best Practices

Updated:  March 17, 2020

The Indiana State Department of Health and other health organizations have issued instructions on how to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. We encourage all tenants to stay informed and follow the advice of these health agencies, and to contact BHA by phone, email or the website rather than in person.

Phone: (317) 233-1325

Phone: (812) 349-2543

The Bloomington Housing Authority is following these public health precautions and is taking additional actions to keep our communities safe.

Stay home if ill

  • If you or a family member is sick, stay home.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to the flu – fever, body ache, coughing – and with either virus you are likely to get well if you get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fluids.
  • Avoid medical settings in general unless necessary. Healthcare facilities are at capacity. If you are ill in any way, call your doctor’s office first before going in.
  • Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
  • Consider home preparedness ahead of time, stocking up on extra groceries, medicines and other supplies that you may need if you have to be home for an extended period.
  • Be ready to help one another. Talk to your neighbors by phone and deliver food or other necessities to the doorstep for people who need to stay home.

Mandated social distancing

  • Governor Holcomb expanded restrictions on public interaction, and strongly stated that any contact, even on a small scale presents a significant public health risk, including family members who don’t live together.
  • Avoid physical contact with others, such as handshaking. Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Conduct your daily business as much as possible by phone, email or websites, or try to postpone non-essential personal errands.
  • Even if you are not ill, avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities or nursing homes to the extent possible.
  • Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are at higher risk for coronavirus.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.

Personal care and sanitation

  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, using warm water and plenty of soap.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes, using a tissue or your forearm, not your hands.
  • If soap and water are not available for hand washing, use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.

New Temporary Policies and Procedures

The BHA Main Office (1007 N Summit Street) is closed to the public effective March 18, 2020 until further notice.

For the latest updates, including policy and procedural changes, see this letter and guidance.

BHA will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates as necessary.

Information for Clients Needing BHA Forms to Report Household Income Changes:

In response to the rapidly evolving situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), BHA is making available the electronic reporting of interim changes (changes of income and/or household composition) as well as annual re-certification forms.  Please see below for more information on how to access, complete, and submit these online forms.  BHA encourages all program participants to utilize the electronic method of reporting in order to maximize the practice of social distancing.

To report any changes, increase or decrease, you must complete an interim change form that is available online by clicking here.

For your convenience, your case manager is available to assist you with completing your interim change declaration over the phone.  Click here for the BHA staff directory.

Once you have completed the fillable PDF Interim Change Form, you may save the document to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and then email the document to your case manager.  Click here for the BHA staff email directory.  If you are completing the form using your smartphone, it is recommended that you use the Adobe Fill and Sign app available for free from the Google Play Store and/or Apple App Store.

You may also obtain and complete the interim change form at the BHA main office entrance.  Changes to income and/or family composition should be reported in writing within fourteen calendar days of the occurrence.  If you begin working, an interim change form should be completed within fourteen calendar days from the hire date.

If you need to complete and submit your annual renewal/re-certification forms electronically, you may access the form by clicking here.  Once completed, you may save the document to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and then email the document to your case manager.  Click here for the BHA staff email directory.  If you are completing the form using your smartphone, it is recommended that you use the Adobe Fill and Sign app available for free from the Google Play Store and/or Apple App Store.

Information for Applicants Needing BHA Forms to Report Household Changes:

For electronic application updates, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Will my housing assistance be interrupted?

A:  No.  BHA will continue to make timely Housing Assistance Payments on behalf of participant families.


Q:  I’m a Public Housing resident.  How should I pay my rent?

A:  BHA is temporarily extending the rent due date from the 5th of the month to the 10th of the month.  You may pay your rent several different ways:

  • Pay with a card over the phone by dialing 812.339.3491
  • Drop your rent payment off at the drop box located at the BHA entrance (checks or money orders only, please be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number with payment)
  • Mail your rent payment to BHA at 1007 N. Summit Street, Bloomington, IN 47404 (checks or money orders only, please be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number with payment)

Q:  I’ve experienced a decrease of income.  How can I report this change?

A:  To report any changes, increase or decrease, you must complete an interim change form that is available online by clicking here.

For your convenience, once you have completed the fillable PDF Interim Change Form, you may save the document to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and then email the document to your case manager.  Click here for the BHA staff email directory.  If you are completing the form using your smartphone, it is recommended that you use the Adobe Fill and Sign app available for free from the Google Play Store and/or Apple App Store.

You may also obtain and complete the interim change form at the BHA main office entrance.  Changes to income and/or family composition must be reported in writing within fourteen calendar days of the occurrence.  If you begin working, an interim change form must be completed within fourteen calendar days from the hire date.  Calling to report a change will not be accepted.


Q:  Will I still have my inspection?

A:  BHA will continue to monitor which units are due for inspection. Rather than conducting a physical inspection for those which are due, we will conduct a teleconference call with you to inquire about any potential deficiencies. We will encourage you to take pictures of any said deficiencies and email them to the inspector. We will also encourage Skype sessions with you when available in order to conduct a virtual observation of the unit.
We will then notify the landlord of the deficiency as we normally would and require non-life-threatening deficiencies to be corrected within 30 days; any life-threatening deficiencies will be required to be corrected within 24 hours. We will then follow up with you at the end of the correction period deadline for confirmation of repairs being performed, again using methods such as teleconferencing and Skype. For any units still not meeting HQS at the end of the correction period, or any BHA-approved extension, an abatement of the Housing Assistance Payment will occur until such time that the unit is able to meet HQS.
BHA will continue to perform initial inspections provided that the unit is vacant, has been cleaned and received turnover maintenance prior to the inspection. For initial inspections in which the unit is occupied, BHA will conduct a virtual assessment of the unit utilizing such tools as Skype and webcams.


Q: I am moving to a new unit. Will I be able to get my unit inspected?

A: Yes, BHA will work with your landlord to complete the inspection either virtually OR if the unit is vacant, turned and recently cleaned the inspection will be done in person.


Q: My landlord says they are going to evict me because of nonpayment of rent.  What should I do?

A: Governor Holcomb issued an Emergency Executive Order which places a moratorium on all eviction proceedings. Talk to your landlord about your decrease in income and let them know we are working on a rent adjustment. We are happy to speak to your landlord on your behalf if that would be helpful. Please contact your BHA case manager and let them know there is an issue with your landlord and they will reach out.


Q: I am supposed to get my voucher for the first time, when will that happen?

A: BHA has every intention of continuing to issue vouchers. Although we will not have any in-person meetings, we will continue to conduct briefings and voucher issuance through the mail, online, or by phone. We will contact you through email, mail, or phone with details once we have reached your name from the waiting list.