Caregiver COVID-19 Questions

Other COVID-19 links: PPE | COVID-19 Information in Other Languages | Training & Deadlines | Health Benefits | Other Resources | COVID-19 CE Webinar

COVID-19 has greatly impacted caregiving. Protecting caregiver safety, health and stability as you are on the frontline is more important than ever.

Below are some answers to the top questions coming from caregivers right now. We recognize that there are still great challenges you may be facing and these answers will not address them all. This page will be updated as more is learned about COVID-19 and what is being done to address the outbreak.

Questions answered below include:

I need help with My Benefits, training deadlines and/or EVV.

Get the help you need and find answers to top caregiver questions in the following categories:

  • Technical support for My Benefits and Caregiver Learning Center.
  • Commonly asked questions about training and the training deadline extension.
  • Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) information and resources.

Find answers on the Caregiver Support page.

How do I get my COVID-19 vaccination?

Caregivers have been prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine and will get a “credential” letter in the mail in early 2021 that designates you as as essential healthcare worker in the 1A priority group. Current vaccine supply is limited, but agencies are working to prioritize initial vaccine supplies to caregivers who work with the highest-risk clients first. You will get an email or other notice about the vaccine when you are eligible. Though a specific date is unknown, you will likely get a notification that you are eligible sometime between January and March of 2021.

 

What is the current training deadline extension for Basic Training and Continuing Education (CE)?

Training deadlines continue to be extended under the Governor’s proclamation, currently ending January 19, 2021.

SEIU 775 Benefits Group is working with DSHS, SEIU 775 and other partners on continued extensions past this date.

Basic Training: 

  • All caregivers with outstanding requirements will be scheduled for Basic Training. Currently, scheduling is based on caregiver deadlines and location availability. Classes are being slowly rescheduled due to COVID-19 cancellations and restrictions. Thank you for your patience as caregivers are safely scheduled into class.

Continuing Education (CE):

  • Caregivers who are required to pay for their HCA renewal must do so by their CE deadline. You may pay for the renewal fee even if you have not completed your annual CE requirement, which is currently waived under the Governor’s proclamation.
  • If you are normally required to complete 12 hours of CE, you may attest in your renewal application that you are in compliance with your CE requirement. However, you will still need to complete your CEs by January 19, 2021.
  • You can pay for your HCA renewal fee online or by mail:
    • Renew online.
    • Renew by mail. It must be postmarked no later than the date of your HCA renewal. Mail renewal fees to:
      • Department of Health
        PO Box 1099
        Olympia, WA 98507-1099

 

What is class like now that classes have restarted?

Classes will look very different! See the Classroom Policies and Procedures webpage for more information about how the class experience has changed in order to keep you safe and comfortable.

How do I see my new schedule?

If you have been rescheduled for class, you may be notified by email, phone, mail and/or text. Your class information (if you are rescheduled) can be seen in My Benefits. See instructions on how to log in and find your class information at this webpage. You do not need to reach out to the MRC.

How do I get PPE?

See the PPE webpage for resources.

What do I do if I'm sick?

If you become ill with any of the common symptoms of COVID-19—fever, cough, fatigue, achiness: 

  • You may not need to go to a doctor unless your symptoms become severe (for example, trouble breathing; see separate recommendations about high-risk populations below). 
  • If you are having mild COVID-19 symptoms and would like to see a doctor, please call first or seek virtual care.
  • In addition to not going out of your home, try to isolate yourself in a room away from other family members, and do not handle pets while sick.  
  • Use a dedicated bathroom, if possible. 
  • Open windows in your home (if temperature allows) to increase ventilation.
  • If you are around other people, you should wear a face covering or standard PPE (if available).
  • If you have had COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or cough, you can end isolation when you have not had a fever for at least 72 hours, your other symptoms have improved (including respiratory symptoms) and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. If you get tested and are negative for COVID-19, follow your doctor’s recommendations for ending isolation.
  • Have questions? See more guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you are considered vulnerable to COVID-19—over age 60, pregnant, immuno-compromised, or with an underlying condition like diabetes, heart or lung disease—you should: 

  • Let your doctor know about your illness, even if mild. 
  • If you do not have a doctor, schedule a virtual doctor’s visit to seek advice. Several healthcare clinics in Washington state are offering free, virtual visits to those with symptoms of COVID-19.  
  • If severe symptoms come up, such as trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

What do I do if my client is sick?

Please see two publications from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS):

What if I lose hours?

There are several reasons caregivers are losing hours right now. Your particular situation will dictate what options are available to you.

SEIU 775 has several resources on their website. In particular, see the Lost Hours section of their COVID-19 webpage. In addition to a list of various resources like unemployment and worker’s compensation, they have a quiz available that can help determine which resources are right for you.

How can I get more hours?

Many healthy IPs are losing work hours due to COVID-19. If this has happened to you and you want to continue working, try Carina, the website that connects caregivers with clients. There are currently a high number of jobs available that you can apply for. 

On the Carina blog there are also resources that might help you through the process of finding a new client as well. Read the blog to learn: 

  • COVID-19 questions that a client may ask you. 
  • Where to get the latest COVID-19 information, and hygiene and safety precautions. 
  • Tips for conducting safe interviews.

What about hazard pay and other financial help?

Hazard pay is now available for IPs. IPs will receive an additional $2.56 an hour for every hour worked from July to September 2020.

COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty about financial security. These are stressful times. To get help right now, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has created a list of financial resources, from mortgage payment help to utility payment emergency assistance programs and more.

As more resources become available, they will also be posted to the COVID-19 Resources page.

How can I get access to continued healthcare?

For a limited time, if you work fewer than the required 80 hours per month due to COVID-19, you can still get continuous health insurance if you have health coverage through SEIU 775 Benefits Group. To get started, visit the Caregiver Continuous Health Coverage webpage.  

If you do not have healthcare through SEIU 775 Benefits Group, please see the “COVID-19 Health Benefits” webpage.