An Update on the Coronavirus

March 18, 2020
Press Release

A Message from the Congresswoman

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Dear friend,

Like all of you, I have been closely following the COVID-19 outbreak and I want to personally share with you that my top priority is ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our friends and neighbors in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District. I understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing around this unprecedented pandemic, and my team and I stand ready to support. While I remain frustrated by the Administration's inadequate response to this crisis, our local leaders are working around the clock to provide a swift, coordinated response that matches the urgency and gravity of this outbreak.  

Resources

Our office has a comprehensive resource page which includes the latest updates on COVIDー19 – and will be updated in real time. Please take a look and do not hesitate to call our office for support: COVID-19 Update & Resources.

Continuity of Operations Procedures (COOP)

Over the next several weeks, we will be serving constituents remotely and our physical locations will be closed in order to protect the health of our team and of the public. My office will continue to provide high quality and responsive service to the constituents of the Massachusetts 7th and our advocacy partners. Our entire staff is working remotely and all core functions of the office will continue: calls will continue to be answered, casework and follow up with constituents will happen in a timely manner. A reminder that our office number is (617) 850-0040.

Join Us for a COVID-19 Tele-TownHall

Wednesday, March18, 2020 at 6pm ET

Dial 855-962-1037 to join

I will be joined by Dr. Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. On the call, we’ll be taking questions on the coronavirus, the federal response to the outbreak & important local resources. To join, dial 855-962-1037.

Holding the Trump Administration Accountable

Yesterday, I formally called on the White House Coronavirus Task Force to prioritize critical funding for the nation’s 1,400 community health centers (CHCs). Across the United States, CHCs serve as a crucial source of healthcare for almost 29 million low-income individuals, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured. In the letter, I offered four concrete steps that the Task Force can take now to protect CHCs and the frontline healthcare workers they employ. Based on our advocacy, the administration announced that state Medicaid programs can begin moving forward with expanding telehealth services, removing an important barrier for millions of people to access critically needed to information and preventing unnecessary exposure for patients and our health care workforce. 

Earlier this week, I sent a letter along with my colleagues in the Massachusetts delegation to Vice President Pence, who is overseeing the administration’s coronavirus efforts, to demand that Massachusetts gets the federal support we need to contain this outbreak. Our Commonwealth has been particularly hard hit, and I’ll continue to work with my partners at every level of government to ensure we are able to adequately respond.

I also joined over 40 of my House colleagues to send a letter to the Vice President demanding the administration halt implementation of it’s xenophobic public charge rule. Public charge acts as a deterrent for many people to get testing and treatment, endangering the public health and safety of all of us. The administration must suspend this rule as we work to get this outbreak under control.

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I also joined Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Nydia Velazquez to demand a plan from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to protect incarcerated individuals from the coronavirus. Unsanitary conditions combined with incessant overcrowding have made federal prisons incubators for infectious disease. It’s critical that the BOP act now to prevent an outbreak and affirm the health and safety of individuals in prison, as well as corrections and support staff.

Finally, I sent a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force urging the Task Force to consider the needs of the nation’s 1,400 community health centers (CHCs). Across the United States, CHCs serve as a crucial source of healthcare for almost 29 million low-income individuals, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured. In the letter, I offered four concrete steps that the Task Force can take now to protect CHCs and the frontline healthcare workers they employ.

Legislative Action

Last week, my colleagues and I passed  a bill to provide emergency funding to federal agencies and state and local governments facing COVID-19 outbreaks. The bill, which has been signed into law, provides billions in funding for testing and treatment, as well as vaccine development and public health resources. While more funding will certainly be necessary in the weeks and months ahead, this package is a vital step to make sure government agencies have the resources they need NOW to combat this virus.

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We also passed the Families First Act, which will provide critical support and assistance to families, individuals, and small businesses affected by this outbreak. The Families First Act ensures free COVID-19 testing for everyone, and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency family and medical leave, nutrition assistance for children and seniors, unemployment assistance for workers destabilized by this crisis.
 

As we work to contain this virus, I encourage you to do what you can to protect yourself and those around you, including washing your hands often, maintaining social distancing as you are able, and checking in on those around you who may be particularly susceptible. With so much uncertainty in the world right now, I take solace in knowing that our district is full of such thoughtful and caring people, such as yourself. Together, we’ll continue to take this one day at a time and our office is here to support.  


Sincerely,
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Ayanna Pressley

Member of Congress

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