Updates on COVID-19
Dear Friends,

I want to provide an update on the latest in Washington regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). As many of you may have seen, Governor Brian Kemp informed the public this afternoon that the first Georgian has tragically died as a result of coronavirus – a 67-year-old man who has been hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone in Marietta since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 7. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

While coronavirus remains a low risk to many Americans, all of us should be cognizant that many in our community are at a higher risk. Generally, young and healthy folks can recover from the virus relatively quickly – however, the virus can still be transmitted to more vulnerable loved ones. Those most at risk include older adults age 60 and above, and folks with chronic medical conditions (lung disease, respiratory conditions, heart disease, and diabetes). If you or your family member is at higher risk, I urge my constituents to prepare to stay home for an extended period of time.

For example, talk with your doctors to secure needed prescriptions, and be sure to have enough food and water on hand for several days.

To reiterate my advice from last week, there are some very simple and commonsense preventive measures we should all be taking:
- Like any contagious illness, avoid close contact with folks who are sick.
- If you become sick yourself, the CDC recommends that you stay home to avoid infecting others.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.
- Avoid touching your face if you haven’t washed your hands recently.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Disinfect frequently surfaces with regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.
- Stay up to date on your vaccinations as it’s not too late in the season to get a flu shot.

Most importantly, if you believe you were recently exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days and develop a fever with coughing and shortness of breath, stay home and call your health care provider right away!

As coronavirus continues to spread, many school systems have begun to implement closures. While there is still much, we don’t know about this virus, it appears that children are less likely to get severely ill from coronavirus than adults. However, it is believed that children can still carry the virus and pass it on to their parents and other adults. Please be sure to check for local school closures before sending the kids to school tomorrow!
Coronavirus in Washington, D.C. 

Here in Washington, the U.S. Capitol is now closed to the public through the end of March to protect our guests from the virus. If you have travel plans to Washington, I regret that this may impact your trip. If you scheduled tours of the Capitol Building or the White House through my office, my staff is in the process of reaching out to share information about the closures. In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience and please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns.

While the Capitol is closed to the public, our work is still ongoing. Tonight, the White House is continuing to negotiate with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to formulate a bipartisan economic relief package to stem the impact of coronavirus. We are expecting to consider this legislation tonight or tomorrow morning. Last Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan emergency funding package with my support in a vote of 415 to 2. This legislation was quickly signed into law by President Trump and provides $8.3 billion to combat the outbreak, accelerate vaccine development, stockpile medical supplies, and assist state and local health agencies. The second legislative package being negotiated now will aim at minimizing the economic impact of COVID-19.

Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight & Reform held a hearing to examine the outbreak and hear from federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Health & Human Services. You can see my questions here.

I want to applaud President Trump for taking this virus seriously. On January 31, he acted swiftly by implementing travel restrictions on China. At the time, many Democrats and liberal media commentators accused the President of xenophobia and fearmongering. I think it’s very clear now that the President made the correct decision.

Last night, President Trump made a statement from the Oval Office to announce a ban on travel from most of Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. As COVID-19 cases surpass 120,000 globally and European countries like Italy take extraordinary measures to contain the virus, President Trump is taking smart precautions to protect Americans. Importantly, U.S. Citizens abroad are able to return home – if you have loved ones overseas, encourage them to speak with the nearest American Embassy if they have concerns.

For more information regarding COVID-19, I encourage visiting our website, which can direct you to the necessary resources.


Mobile Office Hours

Many often think of Members of Congress only as legislators, but equally important is the everyday help we provide people facing problems with federal agencies. Whether it’s the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, or the U.S. Postal Service to name a few, my staff and I are here to help you navigate the federal bureaucracy. Simply contact one of my district offices or stop by an upcoming Mobile Office Hours. These events provide members of the community the chance to sit down with Congressional staff to discuss any federal matter. Coming up, my team will be at the Bogart Library and the brand-new Grovetown location of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. Please let us be of service!


Congressional Art Competition

I am always impressed by the remarkable talent of high school students in our district. Whether it’s a drawing, painting, or photography, the Congressional Art Competition offers a unique opportunity for students to have their artwork on display in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year. To access the student release form and competition guidelines, visit my website.

All entries must be original in concept and design and submitted to one of my three district offices by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2nd. For questions regarding contest details, contact Mark Elliott at (478) 457-0007 or Mark.Elliott@mail.house.gov.


In the District

Last week, I met with folks in the district. I always enjoy getting to know new people and learning about the real solutions that Georgians have to offer. That’s why I especially appreciated my visit to the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University, where physicians are using telemedicine to improve emergency care in rural hospitals. During my visit, Dr. Matthew Lyon demonstrated the newly acquired technology to connect to an emergency room at Wills Memorial Hospital in Washington. By enabling local physicians to consult with emergency medicine trained doctors at MCG and AU Health, telemedicine is helping patients get better care and rural hospitals remain open.

Next, I received an exciting tour of the Georgia Cyber Center, a unique public/private collaboration designed to meet the growing need for cybersecurity talent in Georgia, the Nation, and around the globe. This state-of-the-art campus houses the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Center, the newly established Defense Digital Service, the Augusta University School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, and more. Combatting the growing number and complexity of cyberattacks will require the combined focused efforts of all our partners, and I’m thrilled to see this cybersecurity explosion happening in Augusta.

I stopped by Westside High School to congratulate Luke LeFort on his appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Luke is the cream of the crop – exemplifying the best attributes of character, leadership, scholarship, and physical fitness.  With young people like Luke coming up in the ranks, I have great confidence in the future of our United States Armed Forces. Congratulations, Luke!

 


For more information to stay updated on the coronavirus, make sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization coronavirus websites.

As always feel free to reach out to my staff with any questions you have regarding coronavirus.

Sincerely,

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