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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus

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Washington, April 5, 2020 | comments

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April 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, FoxBusiness.com released an op-ed I authored about the affects this Coronavirus is having on the American Oil Industry.This coronavirus will not drastically alter the world’s growing need for energy in the medium and long-term.

President Trump is right to request the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be filled while prices are low and this should be considered in any future coronavirus response legislation. This purchase could increase America’s energy security at a reduced price and temporarily stabilize the market so American businesses can develop plans for the coming months.

National Update:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted the first of a soon-to-be weekly surveillance summary. This summary, called COVIDView will be posted weekly and will summarize and interpret key indicators, such as information about outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, deaths, and laboratory data.

The CDC issued new recommendations regarding face coverings. The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This serves as an additional voluntary health measure that can help combat this virus. The CDC does not recommend the use of medical grade masks – these should be conserved for health care professionals. For information and tutorials on how to make your own face mask, visit CDC’s website.

Oracle has developed a web portal to gather information from providers about how patients respond to potential COVID-19 therapeutics. Oracle donated this platform to the government, which will help aggregate data rapidly and in turn help fight this virus in a more efficient manner.

Questions regarding a shortage of surgical masks and gowns can be answered by the Food and Drug Administration’s FAQs page. This resource provides answers to whether respirators approved under standards used in other countries, such as KN95s, can be used in the United States during this Coronavirus outbreak, how manufacturers of personal protective equipment may be able to engage in the market, and more.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration issued an enforcement memo regarding respiratory protection and the N95 shortage due to COVID-19. This memorandum provides interim guidance for Compliance Safety and Health officers about enforcement of the Respiratory Protection standard, with regard to the supply shortage of disposable N95 masks. This guidance provides enforcement discretion to provide for extended use and reuse of N95 masks during this time.

The Indian Health Service held a tribal consultation and urban confer session seeking input on the allocation of funding received from the CARES Act. The CARES Act allocated more than $1 billion to Indian Country for its response to this Coronavirus outbreak. Details regarding some of these decisions are included in a letter to tribal and urban Indian organization leaders.

Texas Update:
Over the weekend, Governor Abbott held a call with Dr. Fauci. Dr. Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Governor Abbott said they discussed the importance of the stay at home orders and additional efforts that can be made by both the federal and state government.

The Texas Medical Board issued updated FAQs regarding non-urgent and elective surgeries. This updated document provides a different interpretation than previously stated of Governor Abbott’s order on March 22nd.

A reminder that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has a dashboard for Texas COVID-19 case counts. This dashboard includes an up-to-date case count broken down by county, number of tests conducted, number of fatalities, and more. DSHS additionally updated their online resources regarding private and hospitals labs that are performing COVID-19 testing.

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

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