Last Updated April 7th, 2020 at 9:31am CST.
*This page is updated by staff as official/confirmed information is relayed by state and federal health agencies.*
WHAT WE KNOW:
There are currently 3,037 confirmed cases and 53 deaths in Missouri as reported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Unfortunately, four of these deaths occurred in our district - Boone County, Camden County, Cass County, and Henry County.
President Trump has extended the social distancing guidelines through April 30th. We all have skin in the game, and the better job we do limiting our social interactions, the faster we will be able to pull ourselves out of this. These policies are important for containing the virus and ensuring that limited resources are focused on patients who need care.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is another great resource for the latest information from Governor Parson and state officials. For Missouri-specific information, please click here.
- A person can be infected with coronavirus and not have any symptoms. It can be transmitted from a person without symptoms to another.
- Symptoms include fever, prolonged dry cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends getting medical attention if you present these symptoms: fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath
- Approximately 80% of infected people have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover within 14 days. The other 20% experience more severe symptoms and some die. Most of the individuals who have not recovered were over the age of 70.
- Senior adults are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, especially seniors with pre-existing health issues such as asthma, diabetes, and auto-immune deficiencies. I encourage all senior adults to watch this video from the CDC on reducing the risk of contracting the virus:
What can you do to help prevent the spread of this virus?
There are precautions you can take to help keep yourself and your family healthy and reduce the risk of contracting contagious diseases, especially with experts saying that the coronavirus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 9 days.
- Please wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer periodically throughout the day.
- Consider using a cleaner such as bleach. When using bleach, disinfectants, or other surface cleaners, make sure to follow the instructions as printed on the label.
- The flu is currently impacting more Americans and should not be overlooked as everyone focuses on coronavirus. It is estimated between 29 million and 41 million Americans have had the flu this winter and between 16,000 and 41,000 people have died. Health officials encourage everyone to get a flu shot.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and face.
- Cover your cough or sneezes with disposable tissues.
- Practice social distancing for at least 15 days to slow the spread of the virus.
- Avoid groups of more than 10 people.
- Seniors and other vulnerable people with pre-existing conditions should stay at home and limit their social interactions.
What is being done to confront this public health issue?
Earlier this month, President Trump created the Coronavirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Pence, to direct the U.S. response to this potential public health emergency. President Trump has also suspended entry of foreign nationals into the United States who recently traveled from China, as well as barring entry of non-American nationals traveling from Europe, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. Meanwhile, the Administration has been working to evacuate American citizens from the Wuhan region in China where the coronavirus originated. The Department of State has issued a travel advisory for China, urging Americans to avoid travel to abroad for any purposes.
This month, the House passed an $8.4 billion funding package to bolster the resources needed by the Trump administration to combat this grave public health threat.
- Over $4 billion is allocated to make diagnostic test kits accessible to every corner of the country, develop vaccines and procure other medication to combat the virus.
- $2.2 billion is allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with nearly half of that going directly to sustain state and local response efforts.
- $1.25 billion is allocated to the State Department and other agencies tasked with containing the worldwide spread of the virus.
The House also passed a legislative package to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus:
- $1 billion for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. This includes at least a 10% increase in unemployment benefits for individuals who are out of work due to the coronavirus.
- Requires businesses with less than 500 employees to over paid sick leave for individuals who either test positive for coronavirus or are symptomatic. Employees are also to be paid two-thirds salary over a span of two weeks if the employee is caring for a family member or care for a child whose school as closed.
- Requires that testing for the coronavirus be covered by all private insurance. Medicare Part B currently covers testing for the coronavirus.
Finally, the House passed a third legislative package to stimulate the economy and help keep small businesses afloat as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic:
Help for Hardworking Americans
- A tax rebate check of $1,200 per individuals, $2,400 per couple, plus $500 per child to every American with incomes under $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (couple). Beyond that income threshold, Americans will receive a lower rebate check with the maximum income that would receive some rebate at $99,000 (individual) and $198,000 (couple).
- Expanded unemployment benefits for those who have lost their job due to this pandemic. Eligibility includes self-employed and contracted workers.
Assistance to Small Businesses
- A new Paycheck Protection Program to keep people working by enabling small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to secure a forgivable Small Business Administration (SBA) loan through their local lender to cover the costs of their employee’s salaries, interest on mortgage debt, utility expense, and rent from February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
- Expedited capital for small businesses who have applied for an SBA Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan by advancing $10,000 on the loan to cover leave, maintain payroll, and pay debt obligations. This $10,000 does not have to be paid back.
- Debt relief to businesses with existing SBA loans (7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan) by paying the principal, interest and fees for these loans for six months.
Access to Health Care
- $16 billion for more medical supplies for our health workers including face masks, gowns, gloves, ventilators and respirators.
- Expanded telemedicine for our seniors by increasing the Medicare reimbursement.
- New authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to quickly approve the use of new medicines and treatments.
- $100 billion for a new program to help hospitals cover the expense they are incurring with COVID-19 including more funding flexibility for our rural hospitals.
- Robust funding for COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic development with the guarantee these treatments will be made available at no cost to everyone once developed.
RESOURCES FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
For information and resources at the state level, including a comprehensive list of information for the county health departments, please click here.
RESOURCES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
For information and resources from the federal goverment, including a list of contacts for the federal agencies tasked with providing assistance in response to COVID-19 such as the CDC and the Small Business Administration, please click here.
RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
For information for small business owners, please click here.
I know these are very frightening times for our families, friends, and neighbors. But we can and will overcome this. Overcoming adversity is what Missourians have always done. What’s important to remember here is that we all have skin in the game. Even the young and healthy folks who don’t feel ill can be carrying and transmitting the virus; that’s why it is important for everyone to follow the CDC guidelines, limit your interactions with folks outside and in public, and get the proper medical attention if you feel ill.