Senator Van Hollen visits NIH to receive an update from the team working to research and develop a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Coronavirus Resource Page

My top priority is to ensure that all Marylanders and our health care providers have the information and resources they need to protect themselves from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is an unprecedented medical and economic crisis affecting virtually every American. Together, we will overcome this, and getting federal resources to Maryland will help.

 

That's why I've worked to pass three COVID-19 emergency funding packages in Congress. You can learn more about each here and how they may help you, your family, your community, and your business.

 

The Phase 1 package was an $8.3 billion package, which has provided Maryland with $10.2 million in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help with response efforts.

 

The Phase 2 coronavirus relief bill expands free testing, provides more paid sick leave, enhances unemployment insurance, bolsters state Medicaid funding, and delivers additional food assistance.

 

The Phase 3 package provides a surge of support to overwhelmed hospitals and health centers, and throws an economic lifeline to those who need it most by significantly expanding unemployment insurance and extending desperately needed help to small and mid-sized businesses, and nonprofits struggling to stay afloat. It also channels badly needed resources to state and local governments who are battling to keep up with the demand for public services. That being said, this piece of legislation was far from perfect, and I remain disappointed that a number of important provisions were blocked by Senate Republicans. But at this moment of national emergency, this federal response is urgently needed to help America weather the storm, and we will keep fighting for additional measures.

 

The Phase 3.5 bill replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and grants programs. The bill sets aside funds to help main street and minority-owned businesses better access the funds. It also starts to address the inexcusable lack of COVID-19 testing by holding the Administration’s feet to the fire to increase our country’s testing capacity. And it includes additional funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to provide more resources for frontline health care providers. While this measure falls short on many fronts and is very much so an interim bill, it is a major improvement over the shortsighted proposal initially offered by Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

Below you'll find answers to common questions about the coronavirus outbreak and information about how to access federal resources. You can stay up to date on my efforts in the Senate here.

Fact Sheets and Information on Federal Funding Packages
Additional Information
COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China, which has only spread in people since December 2019.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC recommends the following precautions:
  • Clean your hands often.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home as much as possible.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect.
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

According to CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Maintaining good social distance (about 6 feet) is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
According to the CDC, if you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Keep track of your symptoms.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and pets in your home.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • If you are sick, wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

Community mitigation activities are actions that people and communities can take to slow the spread of infectious diseases. Community mitigation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available. Individuals, communities, schools, business and health care organizations all have a role to play in community mitigation, and policies, like limits on large gatherings, restrictions on businesses, and school closures, are often needed in order to fully implement community mitigation strategies. The latest guidance on recommended preparations for these and other entities can be found here.


Contacting Senator Van Hollen's Office
In order to follow the guidance of public health officials and ensure the safety of constituents and staff due to COVID-19, the majority of Senator Van Hollen’s staff will be teleworking until further notice. As a result, our offices will be closed to the public, but all phone lines will remain fully open and fully staffed. Constituents seeking assistance can reach our constituent services teams at: (301) 545-1500. Those with general questions or concerns about federal policy can reach our Capitol Hill team at: (202) 224-4654. Urgent issues for my office can be emailed to assistance@vanhollen.senate.gov. We urge all constituents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Maryland Department of Health guidelines to protect themselves and their families and we look forward to serving you in person at our offices soon.
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