We face a public health challenge that our country is unfamiliar with, but we’ve faced challenges before and answered the call. I know we’ll do it again.
To slow transmission and get off the curve to save lives, we must ask swiftly and wisely to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public health.
How to protect you and your loved ones
While we face this challenge, it’s important to remain calm and take all necessary precautions to contain the virus. See the graphic below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What I'm doing
Since Montana’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, I have received regular briefings on the situation and have remained in touch with leaders at all levels of government. I’ve reached out individually to all our county health officials to ensure they have the resources they need.
I also held a call with over 50 Montana health care providers. I asked them what they need and am working to make sure they can get them.
As I receive briefings, I will pass along information.
What Congress is doing
On March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed and I voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation, which is the second phase of Congress’s efforts to address the outbreak and its consequences:
- Waives the testing fee for COVID-19,
- Provides emergency paid sick and family leave for workers impacted by COVID-19, for which small business will be reimbursed,
- Provides $1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families, and
Expands unemployment insurance benefits.
The first phase was the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Signed into law on March 6, 2020, the measure provides nearly $8 billion for our nation’s response, including:
- More than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available,
- $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) response efforts, and
- $20 million for disaster assistance loans.
Additionally, the law opens the door for telehealth to help avoid potentially overcrowding health care facilities, especially in rural areas.
In addition to the CDC, World Health Organization, and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the following federal agencies provide information you may find useful:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.