Here’s today’s COVID-19 update:

  • This past Tuesday, June 30th, was the final day for businesses to submit an application for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program authorized by the CARES Act.  However, last night the Senate unanimously passed an extension of the application deadline until August 8th.  This extension still requires approval by the House, and as of this morning Speaker Pelosi had not indicated when or if she plans to bring it to the floor for consideration.  More than $130 billion in funds allocated by Congress to the PPP remain unused.  I expect the House will follow the Senate in extending the deadline for PPP applications while Congress considers additional COVID-related relief legislation that may be brought to the floor later this month

  • A few important updates from the IRS:
    • The Treasury Department and the IRS have announced that the tax filing and payment deadline of July 15th, extended earlier this year from the usual April 15th, will not be postponed again.  Taxpayers should plan to file by the July 15 tax deadline.  Individual taxpayers unable to file by the July 15th date can request an automatic extension of the filing deadline until October 15th.
    • The extension provides additional time to file the tax return; it is not an extension to pay any taxes due.
    • The IRS urges people who owe taxes, even if they have a filing extension, to carefully review their situation and pay what they can by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest.  More information, including how to obtain an extension of time to file and payment options, are in IRS News Release 2020-134.
    • As of late last week, 2020 tax returns that were mailed are currently being processed in the order they were received.  The agency continues to process paper returns, issue refunds and accept payments, but it also warns that it is experiencing delays in processing paper returns due to limited staffing.  Taxpayers should not file a second return as their taxes will be processed as soon as possible.

  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will be making COVID-19 testing available to residents and staff of all North Carolina skilled nursing facilities.  This means testing for each of the 36,000 residents and 30,000 staff in more than 400 nursing homes statewide.  

  • The Pender County Sheriff’s Office has announced the launch of the R-U-OK? Program.  The program will enable older adults, people with disabilities, or others who live alone in Pender County to receive a daily check-in.  The resident will receive a daily automated telephone call that will allow them to verify that they are safe and healthy.  Applications for the RUOK? Program may be obtained in person at the Pender County Sheriff’s Office at 605 E Fremont St. in Burgaw.  The program is only open to Pender County residents.  If you have any questions, please call (910) 259-1212.

  • There has been much discussion lately about the availability and usefulness of COVID-19 antibody tests.  This page from the CDC is useful in explaining what an antibody test is and what it will – and won’t – tell you.

For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting Captain Scott Collins, who was responding to a Sea Tow call on Sunday afternoon when he was flagged down by a boater who had spotted a diver floating face down in the water not far away.  Captain Collins reached the diver, 29-year-old Daniel Fisher, just in time.  He was unconscious and drifting toward the busy boat channel.  Collins administered CPR, saving Fisher’s life.  It’s just one of the countless ways North Carolinians are looking out for each other – and in this case, saving a life.  

As always, stay tuned to and the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest on the outbreak.