My office is tracking the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) closely. Below, you will find information and additional resources you can use to keep you, your family, neighbors and loved ones healthy. Constituents are encouraged to take steps toward prevention.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and, in rare cases, death particularly for at-risk patients.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Shortness of breath
For more information on at-risk groups, please visit the CDC: here.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
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).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
Stigma and Discrimination
Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts that being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
My colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) have worked to dispel the stigma, misinformation, and conspiracy theories that are disparaging and negatively affecting the Asian American community in the United States and abroad. More information can be found: here.
On March 18th, Congress passed a legislative package to cushion the economic impact the coronavirus is having on families and small businesses. This legislation included the following;
Free coronavirus testing for all, including the uninsured
Two weeks of paid sick leave to 87 million U.S. workers
Three months of emergency family leave caring for those caring for a children out of school
$1 billion to state unemployment insurance programs, waiving certain state restrictions like work-search requirements
$1 billion to expanding access to SNAP, WIC and the emergency food assistance programs administered by the states
On March 4th, Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations bill to fully address the coronavirus and protect Americans from this public health crisis. The package included the following:
More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
$2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
$61 million to facilitate the development and review of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines, and to help mitigate potential supply chain interruptions;
$1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home; and
Allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses, to help cushion the economic blow of this public health emergency.
$300 million so the government can purchase vaccines at a fair and reasonable price.
My colleagues and I are hard at work on additional economic stimulus measures, worker protections and support for our frontline health care professionals and first responders.
Federal Resources and Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) provide updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.
Please be advised, the White House and CDC have updated the following public health recommendations:
Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible
Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts. Choose drive-thru, pick-up or delivery instead.
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping and social trips
Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance
For the most up-to-date information from the CDC, please visit the agency’s dedicated COVID-19 page here. You can sign up for the CDC's email updates here.
You can sign up for the WHO's email updates here.
Additionally, the State Department has compiled a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to travel outside of the United States.
State Resources and Guidance
This week, Governor Hogan announced critical actions to keep Marylanders safe and healthy including:
- All non-essential businesses have been closed;
- All bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms are closed;
- All enclosed shopping malls and entertainment venues are closed;
- Gatherings of 10 or more people are prohibited including church services;
- Utilities cannot be cut off and tenants cannot be evicted;
- Additional State Troopers and National Guardsmen have been activated to respond to the illness;
- The Maryland Department of Health is working to open closed health facilities, increasing capacity by an additional 6000 beds;
- Access to Baltimore-Washington International Airport is restricted to ticketed passengers, those helping passengers with disabilities and airport employees;
- Public transit use should be limited to essential employees;
- All Maryland public schools are closed;
- Schools will provide 3 meals and one snack per day;
- The April 28th primary elections in Maryland have been moved to June 2nd. Voters can request to vote by mail. More information available: here.
A special enrollment period is now open through April 15th for uninsured Marylanders to sign up for health insurance. Click here to learn more. Please note everyone, no matter your health insurance or immigration status, can get tested for COVID-19.
All Maryland businesses can now apply for emergency low-interest, long-term loans from the Small Business Administration to weather this crisis. To apply, please visit their website: here.
All previous SBA disaster loan payments have been deferred until December 31, 2020. These deferments are automatic. Borrowers of home and business loans do not have to contact SBA to defer.
Both part-time and full-time workers are eligible for unemployment benefits. You can make a claim right now if you are temporarily out of work due to the coronavirus, if you can’t go to work because you’ve been asked to quarantine or had to leave a job to care for infected family members.To apply please visit the state’s Division of Unemployment Insurance website: here.
The State has prohibited electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service, or charging any residential late fees.
During this pandemic, Maryland courts cannot order the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19—for example, because of lost or reduced unemployment, or needing to care for a school-aged child—or because they are diagnosed with, or under investigation for, COVID-19.
Maryland residents are encouraged to call 211 to connect with health department representatives to get additional information and resources. Residents can also text "MdReady" to 898211 to get alerts, tips, and resources related to COVID-19. Maryland has also set up a help line through the Maryland Health Department that you can call for more guidance, at 410-767-6500.
Local Resources and Guidance
Prince George’s County has a coronavirus information page: here. You can also reach the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 to receive updated information.
Prince George’s County Public Schools have expanded the number of locations for student “grab-and-go” meals. For more information, please visit their website: here.
The Anne Arundel Office of Emergency Management has a coronavirus information page: here. You can get more local information by calling the Anne Arundel Department of Health’s Infectious Disease Program at (410) 222-7256.
Anne Arundel County expanded locations for student “grab-and-go” meals. For more information, please visit their website: here.
*Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only. Do not contact 911 for Coronavirus related issues*