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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus
Posted by on March 24, 2020 | comments
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March 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am still scratching my head trying to figure out why bailing out the postal service, energy reform, and altering our voter registration is the proper response to this coronavirus pandemic. Once again, legislation to help the American people stalled as Senate Democrats along with Nancy Pelosi decided to play partisan politics instead of solving the crisis at hand.

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Retired VA medical professionals who are looking to help during this outbreak can reapply to work at the VA. The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to use waiver authority to rehire retired physicians, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and respiratory therapists to help during this time. Interested medical professionals can register online.

New industry partnerships were announced today, allowing companies to work together to manufacture respirators for American patients. Ford Motor Company has joined forces with 3M and GE Healthcare to manufacture Powered Air-Purifying Respirators. These respirators are instrumental in treating patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing, a common symptom of this Coronavirus.

For individuals and businesses looking to help during this pandemic or have questions, below are some resources:

  • If you would like to import or produce medical products, send inquires to FEMA at covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.
  • If you need 24/7 Hotline for Diagnostics, contact 1-888-INFO-FDA, then choose option (*).
    • FAQs about Diagnostic Tests available here.
  • If you are looking for information about completing an emergency use authorization for diagnostic tests, contact 301-348-1778 or email: CDRH-EUA-Templates@fda.hhs.gov.
  • If you are experiencing spot shortages of personal protective equipment, contact 1-888-INFO-FDA, then choose option (*).
  • If you are experiencing drug shortages, contact 855-543-3784, druginfo@fda.hhs.gov, or the FDA’s drug shortage page.

FDA has published additional information regarding swabs that can be used for testing and viral transport media. Check out FDA’s diagnostic testing FAQs for more specific information.

CMS is focusing nursing home inspections on infection control. Following inspections at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, CMS has announced that it will focus on complaint inspections, infection control inspections, and self-assessments. Focusing on infection control is critical in protecting our seniors in nursing homes from this Coronavirus.

FDA released new guidance today for distilleries and other businesses to jump into the hand sanitizer manufacturing game. This guidance provides clarity surrounding available options in using undenatured or denatured alcohol and proper labeling of the hand sanitizer.

Texas Update:
Yesterday, Governor Abbott issued an executive order to increase hospital capacity and conserve personal protective equipment. This order will expand hospital bed capacity by suspending certain regulations and directs all health care professionals to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately and medically necessary. Governor Abbott also announced the creation of a Temporary Supply Chain Strike Force to facilitate collaboration between the public and private sectors and ensure access to necessary medical supplies and resources.

Are you wondering where the closest testing site is? Texas launched a testing site webpage providing an interactive map and other testing site information. For other questions about testing, Texans can call 2-1-1 and be directed to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

For Texans who are practicing social distancing, teleworking, and staying “Safer At Home,” check out Visit Dallas for Dallas restaurants still operating and offering home delivery. Texans are encouraged to promote #TakeOutTuesday and help out local restaurants today.

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The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will awards $100 million to health centers across the United States. These awards will help local health centers respond to this Coronavirus outbreak. Texas health centers receiving awards are listed here.

  • Health Services of North Texas in Denton is among those receiving awards.

City of Denton and Denton County issued a join release today, that effective 11:59pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, residents are required to stay home.

Here is a another COVID-19 resource page, this one is being put out by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.

Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
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Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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