March 22, 2020
I just got off a teletown hall with the Allied Pilots Association where discussion centered around the government's response to this coronavirus.
Many of the association's members were concerned about what will be in the third emergency coronavirus appropriations bill. One of the key items, which I sent a letter to Secretary Mnuchin regarding last week, is the extension of the tax filing deadline. On Friday, the administration announced that the tax filing deadline for this year will be July 15, and payment deadline is October 15.
Rapid point of care diagnostics will be available soon. The Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization for Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2, a point of care diagnostic. This test has the capability to deliver results in 45 minutes. The company plans to roll out this new test by March 30th.
Think you might be exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms? Check out CDC’s new self-checker! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a “What to do if you are sick” webpage, with the option to click through its “self-checker.” This tool walks individuals through a series of questions to help them assess what type of medical care might be appropriate for their symptoms.
Increased supply of swabs and sample kits used in this Coronavirus test have been secured by the U.S. government. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense coordinated an international airlift of these swabs and sample kits. This operation will help with distribution of these important medical supplies during this outbreak.
If your organization is looking to purchase additional swabs for testing purposes, they are available for direct purchasing. Copan Diagnostics; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Thermo Fisher Scientific; and Princeton BioMeditech Corporation are all taking direct orders.
Private industry has stepped up in increasing ways to help with this outbreak. General Motors and Ventec Life Systems are working to increase production of ventilators. Hanes clothing company is retrofitting factories to make medical masks. A number of other companies across the United States have reached out and offered their services to help combat this Coronavirus pandemic. Their efforts are appreciated.
If you are looking for information about Coronavirus, Google may be a good place to start. Google has launched an enhanced COVID-19 search experience. This platform has links to helpful national and local health resources, including highlights from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parkland Health and Hospital System has begun drive-through COVID-19 testing. Testing is available by appointment only for Parkland patients who meet the medically necessary criteria. Parkland patients can contact the COVID-19 Patient Line at 214-590-8060.
This weekend, two COVID-19 testing sites opened in Dallas. Individualsmeeting the following criteria can be tested:
- 65 years or older; or
- First responder; or
- Health care worker; or
- DART driver; and
- Show a temperature of 99.6 or higher.
Our health care workforce is more important now than ever. Governor Abbott waived certain regulations to help expand the nursing workforce in Texas during this unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.
Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.