Facing COVID-19 One Day at a Time

March 20, 2020
Weekly Columns

COVID-19 is presenting many unique challenges to American families, lawmakers, state and local officials, businesses and many others. These are uncharted waters for all of us, and it’s important we remain united and work together to care for our friends and loved ones.

I first want to give you an update on the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Trump signed into law on March 18. Among other things, this bill will enact free COVID-19 testing, paid sick leave for affected American workers, more food programs and benefits and better unemployment insurance. I also joined the Arkansas congressional delegation in asking the Small Business Administration to swiftly approve Governor Hutchinson’s disaster declaration. This would make additional federal resources available to our state’s small businesses and provide much-needed relief.

President Trump has expanded Medicare telehealth coverage, which will ensure necessary medical care without visiting high-risk areas in person. This means seniors can see any doctor licensed in their state and use FaceTime, Skype, or other audiovisual technology to talk through their symptoms and treatment options.

Even if you are healthy, I urge you to continue social distancing and avoiding all unnecessary social gatherings and outings to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. It’s a simple practice that has a huge impact across the country.

Finally, I’d like to thank every health care worker who is risking their own health to care for the sick. Each of you is playing a vital role in defeating the virus, and I’m grateful to have so many incredible men and women caring for patients, researching cures and working long hours. Our nation is stronger because of you.

The circumstances and government guidance surrounding the virus are constantly changing, so I recommend you regularly check the CDC’s website, www.coronavirus.gov, or www.healthy.arkansas.gov for updates. I will also continue posting information on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both @RepWesterman.