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Coronavirus Information

Mid-Michigan residents—

I will be using this page to give you regular updates on the coronavirus.

I have been in regular contact with Governor Whitmer, local health departments, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. My top priority is to ensure that all levels of government have the financial resources they need to respond to this outbreak and minimize the effect on residents, families and our community.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

MICHIGAN UPDATE

As of now, Michigan has 65 confirmed cases of coronavirus. This number is growing. I can assure you that state health officials are working tirelessly to keep our community safe and healthy.

Governor Whitmer has already taken a series of actions to protect Michiganders. The Governor declared a state of emergency, which helps to free up resources to respond to this outbreak. The Governor has limited all gatherings to 250 people or less, to help decrease spread of the virus.

The Governor has also ordered all K-12 schools across Michigan to close until April 6. School closures are proven measures that have been shown to slow the spread of the disease, and, in turn, save lives. If you are concerned that a student may need help accessing meals or other services that they usually receive at school, please contact my Flint office, at (810) 238-8627, and my staff can help connect you to local resources.

Below is a list of school districts that have announced their plans of how to provide school meals to children. Please click on each school for more information:

As part of the first emergency funding package to respond coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), through each state, can give up to $7 billion in loans for businesses impacted by pandemic nationwide. The state must apply for this money for small businesses in Michigan to access the loans. I have spoken with Governor Whitmer’s office and they are working expeditiously to submit their application.

In the interim, the state is encouraging small businesses who could benefit from SBA loans to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, small businesses should contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

WASHINGTON UPDATE

On Saturday, March 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the second emergency bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The bipartisan legislation, supported by Republicans and Democrats, helps address the increasingly severe economic and health impacts on Americans’ personal safety and financial security. This bill still needs to be taken up by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the President.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing: the bill ensures all Americans, including the uninsured, have access to coronavirus testing at no cost.
  • Paid leave: the bill provides paid emergency leave, with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
  • Enhanced unemployment insurance: the bill provides unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers.
  • Strengthened food assistance: the bill strengthens nutrition food initiatives, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), student meals, meals for seniors and food banks.
  • Medicaid support: the bill increases funds for Medicaid to support local and state health systems.

Also, on Friday, March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak. This was a good decision that I support. This will allow more federal money, about $50 billion, to go to states and communities to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, March 4, Congress passed H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which I supported. The bill was signed into law by President Trump. This bill provided $8.3 billion in new emergency funding to make sure the government has the necessary resources for an effective, coordinated and comprehensive response. Specifically, this emergency funding will be used to:

  • Accelerate the research and development of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Support state and local health departments.
  • Buy necessary medical supplies, including personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.

PREVENTION

While this is an evolving situation and information is quickly changing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is an accurate and up-to-date resource to help answer essential questions, including how to protect yourself from getting the virus. The CDC provides the following guidance for Americans who want to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus:

  • Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, instead of your hands.
  • Staying at home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (door handles, phones, etc.)
  • Practice social distancing—stay at least six feet away from people with sick symptoms.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

For more information from the CDC, please click here.

No doubt this is a challenging and uncertain time, but we are going to get through this. I encourage you to stay in touch and be checking in with your family, colleagues, neighbors, and seniors. We need to be taking care of each other.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are some frequently asked questions my staff and I have been getting.


Q: What has Congressman Kildee done to help stop the spread of coronavirus?

On Saturday, March 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the second emergency bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The bipartisan legislation, supported by Republicans and Democrats, helps address the increasingly severe economic and health impacts on Americans’ personal safety and financial security. This bill still needs to be taken up by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the President.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:

  • Free coronavirus testing: the bill ensures all Americans, including the uninsured, have access to coronavirus testing at no cost.
  • Paid leave: the bill provides paid emergency leave, with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
  • Enhanced unemployment insurance: the bill provides unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers.
  • Strengthened food assistance: the bill strengthens nutrition food initiatives, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), student meals, meals for seniors and food banks.
  • Medicaid support: the bill increases funds for Medicaid to support local and state health systems.

On Wednesday, March 4, Congress also passed H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which I supported. The bill was signed into law by President Trump. This bill provided $8.3 billion in new emergency funding to make sure the government has the necessary resources for an effective, coordinated and comprehensive response. Specifically, this emergency funding will be used to:

  • Accelerate the research and development of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Support state and local health departments.
  • Buy necessary medical supplies, including personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.

Additionally, I have worked with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) to send a letter to congressional leaders urging that any legislative relief packages to contain the spread of the coronavirus must include relief for Americans facing high water bills and water shutoffs, including those in Flint.

It is unconscionable that during an infectious disease outbreak, like with the coronavirus, communities would continue to shut off people’s access to water. Surely in the richest country in the world, we can ensure that every American has access to safe and affordable water. The federal government, working closely with state and local governments, must ensure that we stop water shutoffs and restore water service to any households that have lost service. While some communities might voluntarily agree to not conduct shutoffs, this decision increases fiscal strain on already struggling communities and they will require additional federal support.

Q: I think I have coronavirus. How do I get a test?

If you are sick, or have symptoms you believe are related to coronavirus, you should call your health care provider before showing up to the doctor’s office. If you do not have a health care provider or insurance, call the closest hospital. The CDC also has up-to-date guidance on their website, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Q: What should I do to protect my family?

The most important thing we can all do, to protect ourselves, our families and others, is follow the guidance of health experts, including the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC has up-to-date guidance on their website, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

If you do not have any symptoms, follow the CDC guidelines:

  • Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, instead of your hands.
  • Staying at home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (door handles, phones, etc.)
  • Practice social distancing—stay at least six feet away from people with sick symptoms.

Q: Is Congressman Kildee holding any upcoming events on the coronavirus?

Yes, I will be holding an upcoming telephone townhall on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. ET to keep constituents up-to-date on the latest developments with the coronavirus pandemic. On the call, I will be joined by health experts and they will answer your questions live.

If you would like to join the telephone town hall, please RSVP here and we will give you a call.

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