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Debbie's Blog

Coronavirus update: March 18, 2020

Washington, March 18, 2020

Here’s an update for Wednesday, March 18. We will continue these updates as long as necessary.

Thought of the Day: To all the frontline workers, doctors, nurses, plant workers, and everyone else working to keep us safe and making sure we have what we need during these challenging times -- thank you.

I’m available as I always am. With daily coronavirus updates and all levels of government activating new emergency response tools, it’s important we understand what it all means. This Friday at 5:30pm, I am hosting a telephone town hall to answer any questions you may have on steps being taken to keep you safe and financially secure. Sign up here.

Staying home and staying calm is critical at this moment.

If you are a small business hurt by coronavirus, please apply for a small business loan. Wednesday, Governor Whitmer formally requested emergency relief for small businesses and she temporarily extended unemployment benefits. Learn more here.

Yesterday, Medicare expanded coverage for telemedicine and telehealth. It’s now covered under Medicare and patients can talk to their doctor by phone or video conference at no additional costs. Please share this important update with loved ones.

Michigan expanded who is eligible for unemployment insurance. If you or someone you know has lost their job because of coronavirus, please share this information with them. We must make sure our family, friends, and colleagues are helped during this unknown time. They can apply here or call 866-500-0017. 

We expect the Senate to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the president to sign it into law soon. The legislation will be critical for Michiganders and American families. It will guarantee paid sick leave for many workers who don’t already have it, free testing for coronavirus and increases in Medicaid, economic security to help hardworking men and women, and food security to help food banks, kids who rely on school meal programs, and low-income seniors through Meals on Wheels.

Contact numbers for people looking for information are:

  • Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov/coronavirus, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
  • Michigan.gov/coronavirus, Call 2-1-1 or 734-287-7870 from within Michigan to connect with help of all kinds including food, housing, healthcare, and more.

My office has put together a running list of all cancellations, suspensions, or postponements for schools, events, and meetings across Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. We have also put together a running list of food pantries and kitchens. These page will be updated on a regular basis. Please find the links directly below.

Suspensions, Cancellations, Information, and More.

Food Banks and Kitchens in Michigan's 12th Congressional District

Everyone continues to express the importance of mitigation. You need to stay home. This is particularly for millennials who think they are young and invincible. First, they are at greatest potential to spread the virus, and two, reports from Europe are showing young people are getting seriously ill – which may be because old people are listening and staying home and young people aren’t.

We all must take responsibility to mitigate the spread. There are many steps you can take to prevent the spread of the virus. You should frequently wipe down hard surfaces and high contact areas (telephones, doorknobs, desks, railings, counters, computer mouse etc.) with a standard home disinfectant product and allow to air dry per manufacturer instructions.

Hygiene Procedures

Remember to wash your hands. Period. Frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds at a time should be done immediately after touching high contact areas, such as doorknobs, railings, phones, etc. It is also highly encouraged to clean your phone, computers and iPads. When soap is unavailable, have hand sanitizer to use as a substitute. Personal hygiene matters.

You should wash hands/use hand sanitizers before and after visitations and meetings.

Social Distancing

Maintain a supply of medications, food and other essentials in your house.

This matters. You should be aware of your stance and positioning at all times and avoid close direct, contact with other individuals, such as shaking hands, hugging, taking selfies, people talking to you, standing in line, etc.

Avoid large meetings and events. Schools, universities, sports teams, etc. are all looking at this. Conduct meetings via teleconference. This protects the health of all participants. Reduce in- person gatherings and activities as well.

Avoid traveling if not necessary and limit non-essential work travel. People who are older and have underlying conditions need to be particularly vigilant.

Business should prepare and activate telework procedures. We need to remember this impacts many contract/independent workers who support many people. We must make sure we are not economically harming people during these times.

If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak. Limit visits to only those who are absolutely necessary.

Other things to think about

You can stay in social contact without physical presence. Call your family, use FaceTime, have virtual office meetings.

You can stay busy, catch up on home projects like cleaning your closets, watch movies, read that book you have been wanting to do.

Don’t isolate yourself, just think different about staying in touch.

Stay in touch with your family, colleagues, neighbors and seniors who need someone to care.

Food banks in our area are able to help you if you need it.

This is today’s thought. We will have regular communications to keep you updated and answer questions. Be safe, be calm and wash your hands.

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