3/16/2020 Coronavirus Update

March 16, 2020
Press Release

Latest coronavirus update from Congressman Jeff Duncan:

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency which unlocks access to $42 billion in existing funding for States, territories, and tribes. 

For all information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the official website at www.coronavirus.gov

Please remember – we will overcome this. Our nation and our people are strong. We must work together during this time to protect the most vulnerable from contracting the coronavirus. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and practicing social distancing are the right things to be doing. Please follow instructions from local, state, and federal officials. Let’s work together and focus on the common goal of getting past this virus as quickly as possible. 

Congress 
On March 4, 2020, I voted in favor of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 to provide emergency funding to agencies and states tasked with combatting COVID-19. As a result of the legislation, South Carolina has been awarded over $8 million in grants for resources to prepare and stop the spread of the virus. More information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can be found HERE.  

The second coronavirus response package that passed the House over the weekend was put together in the middle of the night, we were only given 20 minutes to read and review the bill before the vote, and it included harmful provisions for Main Street – not to mention we had no clue what the price tag was at the time of the vote. While there were many positive provisions in the bill, I had to vote no – please see my full statement HERE. Now, the House has some clean-up to do in the legislation since it was pulled together so last minute. More information can be found HERE. I understand the need to act swiftly, but I know we can do so while also being transparent and giving the public the time to read the bill and provide feedback.

Washington, D.C. Tours
All tours of the U.S. Capitol have been suspended by the Speaker of the House through April 1, 2020. Therefore, all tours booked through my office are unfortunately cancelled. It is very possible that this date will be extended past April 1st. Additionally, the White House has announced that all White House tours are suspended indefinitely. My office has notified constituents who requested these tours during this time frame. I encourage you to contact all other Washington tours you planned for your visit to determine their availability. 

From the Smithsonian Institution: “All Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., including the National Zoo, and in New York City are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. We are not announcing a re-opening date at this time and will provide updates on a week-to-week basis.”

If you have any questions regarding a tour you had booked in March or potential tours after April 1st, please call my Washington office. My offices will remain open for business to serve the constituents of South Carolina’s Third Congressional District. 

Free Telehealth Services in South Carolina
 - The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and PRISMA Health are both providing FREE telehealth coronavirus screenings to ALL South Carolinians. 

 - If you are experiencing symptoms, you can visit MUSC’s website HERE or PRISMA Health’s website HERE to be screened without having to leave your home. 

 - The applications are FREE. Just use the code COVID19 at either checkout.

 - For additional questions about the coronavirus, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Care Line is available to help: 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

South Carolina Update
 - I am extremely saddened to share that SC DHEC has announced the first coronavirus related death in South Carolina. For more information, please see their full statement HERE.

 - Governor McMaster also delivered an update to South Carolinians yesterday. You can view his full remarks HERE

 - All South Carolina public schools, including universities and technical colleges, are closed through the rest of the month. 

 - Your local officials and school districts will be distributing further relevant information regarding the closures for students and families. 

 - Private schools are encouraged to follow the same guidance. 

 - While not a mandate, Governor McMaster encouraged halting public gatherings of 100 people or more to practice effective social distancing. 

 - For more information, click HERE

Trump Administration’s Actions  
Travel 
The U.S. Department of State continues to update travel restrictions and advisories, with the latest being the United Kingdom. Please see all announcements regarding international travel HERE.

Small Business 
 - President Trump directed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms that have been affected by the coronavirus. 

 - President Trump announced that effective immediately, the SBA will be providing economic loans to affected states and territories. 

CDC 
 - The CDC published recommended guidance and strongly encourages the halt of large or mass gatherings of 50 people or more for 8 weeks. 

FDA 
 - The FDA issued emergency approval for new commercial coronavirus tests to significantly expand testing across the country

Students 
 - President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Education to waive interest on student loans held by the federal government. 

CDC Resources 
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Stay Up To Date
 - Please visit the CDC’s website HERE and the WHO’s website HERE for the most up-to-date information on what you should know regarding the coronavirus.

 - Johns Hopkins University also created a website with updated worldwide coronavirus case information that you can view HERE.

 - For South Carolina specific information, please visit the DHEC website HERE.

I will continue to keep you updated. Please follow me on social media for the latest news and updates around the clock. 

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