This morning, I spoke with Ed Henry on America’s Newsroom to discuss the ongoing process of how Congress is working to help Americans affected by this Coronavirus.
All Americans can play a role in mitigating the outbreak of this coronavirus.
The Trump Administration issued Coronavirus Guidelines for America for Americans to follow to prevent further outbreak. Everyone can play a role in our preparedness and response. Ambassador Deborah Birx stated, “testing should not be an assessment of your risk,” and emphasized the importance of social distancing in preventing asymptomatic spread of this coronavirus. If we all follow these guidelines, we will be able to mitigate this pandemic’s impact on our nation.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Stay home if you are elderly or are a person with serious underlying health conditions.
- Household quarantine if one member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19.
The government will help with the impacts of social distancing. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that taxpayers who owe the Internal Revenue Service will be granted a 90-day delay in making payments.
For those individuals who need to be tested, private industry has stepped up to innovate for the American people. Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two more Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for different COVID-19 tests. Since the beginning of this outbreak, more than 90 test developers have sought FDA guidance with the development and validation of tests and more than 40 laboratories are testing or will be testing soon.
The FDA also announced on Monday that state public health laboratories would be able to oversee the tests developed and used by labs in their states. This policy stresses the importance of having accurate and reliable tests while enhancing state flexibility in improving the availability of testing.
Remember, thanks to Congress, all Americans who need a test can get one at no cost to them.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service has expanded the use of telehealth to help further reduce the spread of this coronavirus. Prior to these changes, Medicare could only pay for telehealth on a limited basis. Following the efforts of Congress and CMS, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive certain services through telehealth, such as evaluation and management visits, mental health counseling, and preventative health screenings during this public health emergency.
Local governments have established new guidance to protect Texans. Denton Country, Tarrant County, and Dallas County have updated information as this outbreak develops.
- All Denton County independent school districts will be closed until March 23rd.
- All Tarrant County independent school districts will be closed until March 27th.
- Individuals should monitor as these timeframes are subject to change.
I will do my best to continue keeping you up-to-date on this pandemic. One of the ways that I am doing this is by launching "A Doctor's Note on COVID-19" on my website.
Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.