USDA extends WIC COVID-19 flexibilities for duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency

(Washington, D.C., September 21, 2020) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the extension of more than a dozen flexibilities ensuring participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA’s proactive extension of these waivers throughout the national public health emergency will ensure nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies and children receive the critical nutrition benefits and services they count on in a safe manner while allowing the program to operate based on local conditions throughout the pandemic.

“USDA has been extremely steadfast in offering flexibilities to ensure Americans in need continue to receive food assistance during COVID-19. President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to supporting Americans in need during the pandemic and setting them up for success as our nation reopens and recovers,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “WIC provides vital services to new and expectant mothers, infants, and children and we are committed to making it as easy as possible for them to receive the support they need during the pandemic.”

Background:

Without today’s action, these essential flexibilities would have expired at the end of this month.

WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and children under five who are determined by health professionals to be at nutritional risk.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has made maximum use of existing program flexibilities and the waiver authority provided by Congress to make it as easy as possible for children and families to participate in WIC– and all of the department’s nutrition assistance programs – during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The WIC waivers being extended allow for:

·     Participants to be approved for WIC without being physically present in a local office;

·     Remote issuance of benefits to any participant;

·     Flexibility in food package requirements, including dairy, grains, vegetables, and infant foods; and

·     Additional options for pick-up of food packages.

More information on the WIC waivers extended today, along with those that have been approved since the start of COVID-19, is available at www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus and on Twitter at @USDANutrition.

Region’s July jobless rate hits 9.6%

OCALA, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2020) – The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 9.6 percent in July, one percentage point higher than in June and  5.2 percentage point higher than the region’s rate a year ago rate.

There were 19,083 unemployed in the region, 2,428 more than the previous month and 10,272 more than July 2019.

The region’s labor force was 197,884, an expansion of 3,144 since June. While there was a slight uptick in employment over the month – an increase of 716 to 178,801 – the bump in labor force was driven by the increased number of unemployed.

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Join the Extension for Matter of Balance Class

Are you concerned about falling?  Join UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County for Matter of Balance Class.

WHO:    Have you turned down a chance to go out with friends or family because you were concerned about falling?

Have you cut down on a favorite activity because you might fall?  If so, A Matter of Balance is a program for you.

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Local woman seeks 5G moratorium

The controversy over 5G’s implementation has reached Citrus County.

On Tuesday, a woman called “Miss Beatrice” spoke to county commissioners about the health effects of the 5G communications network coming soon to a town near you.

Below is a video of the woman’s presentation, and the responses of the officials.

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Labor Dept. cites Boca Raton contractor

BOCA RATON, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Action Roofing Services, Inc. – based in Pompano Beach, Fla. – for exposing employees to fall hazards at a worksite in Boca Raton, Fla.

The roofing contractor faces $51,952 in penalties.

OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction. The agency cited the company for allowing employees to engage in roofing activities without a conventional fall protection system. It is the third such citation that OSHA has issued the contractor in the last three years.

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County provides $70,000 local match for Colonnade Park Apartments project

Tammy Harris, Housing Services Director, John Edstrom, Rehab Specialist and Michelle Alford Housing Coordinator, conduct an on-site inspection and walk-through of the Coon Thursday, June 11, 2020.)

Citrus County Housing Services (CCHS) Division provided a $70,000 local match using State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) funds for the Colonnade Park affordable housing development in Inverness on Colonnade Street.

The development consists of 106, one-and two-bedroom units, and is slated for completion by the end of 2020.

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State COVID 19 statistics for June 15

By Florida House Speaker Jose R. Oliva
COVID-19 Testing Sites – Florida
Drive-Thru Testing sites available are listed by county.
Each walk up site can test up to 200 individuals per day.
Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step
Governor’s Office Announces Recovery Plan
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The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is now giving daily updates on Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
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Citrus County Transit expands door-to-door service

Citrus County Transit is offering citizens expanded door-to-door transportation from 6:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday, with fares waived during the county state of emergency.

Trips are available for work, shopping, doctor’s appointments, and other essential needs.

Door-to-door service is offered at this time for the general public, as well as residents with mobility needs.

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Citrus County emergency management assisting in COVID-19 response

Citrus County Emergency Management is assisting our local government and community partners for donations of medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectants that can be used to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

These supplies will then be distributed, based on need, to critical-care facilities, local hospitals, long-term care facilities, medical offices and first responders.
Individuals and businesses are asked to donate ONLY the following items
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First Citrus County death from COVID-19 announced

An 80-year-old Citrus County resident diagnosed with COVID-19 passed away today.

This is the first COVID-19 death in Citrus County.

We are expressing our condolences to the person’s family and will continue to work with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and our community partners to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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