A Message from Sam Graves
March 14, 2020
COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, is beginning to spread in the United States. Since last week’s update, many additional cases have been confirmed in our country, including in Missouri. The World Health Organization has labelled the virus as a “pandemic,” though they say that it is a “controllable pandemic” if the proper precautions are taken.
In fact, we are starting to see those precautions taken in North Missouri with large events being cancelled, many facilities limiting visitors and most colleges moving classes online. Yesterday, President Trump declared a National Emergency to deal with coronavirus. The declaration will free up money to continue to fight the virus. It also will waive a host of regulations that could stand in the way of testing, or care, of patients who have the coronavirus. This is the right move and it will play a key role in stemming the tide of this illness.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to tests from several private testing companies and public-private partnerships are being established to ensure folks can get tested. In the midst of this, it’s critical that we continue to remain calm and take personal responsibility to limit the spread of this illness, including washing hands, avoiding personal contact and staying home when you feel sick.
On Friday evening, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act which guarantees free coronavirus tests for those who need them, secures paid leave for impacted workers, and helps our communities deal with the economic impacts of this outbreak—without hurting small businesses. We also previously passed a bill that provided $8.3 billion for efforts in our states to prevent the spread of the illness and help our states deal with the outbreak.
It is important to make sure you are getting accurate information about the coronavirus. On Thursday, I held a conference call with our County Commissioners across North Missouri to update them on where things stand in Washington, DC. Additionally, my staff is in touch with local officials across the district in order to ensure that I have the latest information on the ground and am able to provide any answers or resources that might be needed. You can find links to the latest resources and information by visiting https://graves.house.gov/coronavirus-resources. If you have any questions on the illness, you can call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411.
Finally, if you were planning to visit Washington, DC this month, you should reconsider your plans. Both the Capitol and the White House are now closed to tours until at least April 1st. However, my offices remain open and fully functioning in both Washington, D.C. and in North Missouri.
As I’ve been doing from the start, I will continue to monitor the latest developments and keep you informed on COVID-19. Working together, we can and will get through this.
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