As your representative in Washington, I want to relay to you the latest details on COVID-19 -- also known as coronavirus -- and what can be done to minimize risk to exposure.
Update From the Indiana State Department of Health
The ISDH today reported 371 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Indiana, bringing the total number of Hoosiers diagnosed with the virus to 45,952 as of 12:00pm today. 2,456 Hoosiers have died.
- A total of 489,716 tests have been reported to ISDH to date
- The complete list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/, which is updated every day at 12:00pm.
My office stands ready to assist constituents with any questions or concerns.
Economic Impact Payments
The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment (EIP) as soon as possible if you have not yet received it.
New FAQs on the EIPs are posted to IRS.gov. These will answer some of your questions on the following topics:
- Eligibility and General Information
- Accessing Get My Payment
- Payment Status
- Bank Account Information
- 'Locked/Status Unavailable'
- Error Message
- Address Changes
Unemployment, Social Services and Small Businesses
In these challenging and uncertain times, the state is providing a variety of key resources to support Hoosiers impacted by COVID-19.
Resources for Unemployed Workers
- To contact the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) regarding unemployment insurance, which must be completed electronically, click here or call 800-891-6499.
- Due to high call volume, some calls are getting a message that the phone number is not working. DWD is working to correct this and answer calls as quickly as possible.
- To watch a presentation by the DWD covering the basics of filing for unemployment insurance, click here.
Social Services Assistance
- To find information on a variety of community resources, including food, housing and health care assistance, call 2-1-1 or click here.
- To find critical-care work opportunities serving children, seniors and people with disabilities, click here.
As the situation continues to unfold, the Senate Republicans’ COVID-19 resource page will be constantly updated with available resources and information.
Messages from Cameron hospital, Parkview Health and IU Health:
- Follow the Cameron Memorial Facebook page and the Parkview Health Facebook page to keep up with latest relevant information and guidance on the virus.
- If you have questions, please consider this your first stop.
Cameron Memorial can direct questions to their COVID-19 Resource Line at (260) 667-5555. A team member will be available to answer questions and connect you with relevant resources.
If you feel symptoms or know someone who believes they are feeling symptoms of COVID-19, please refer to this resource page on parkview.com for screening resources.
More information on COVID-19, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found at cdc.gov/covid19. Information can also be found on the Allen County Department of Health website or by calling the department’s COVID-19 hotline at 260-449-4499.
- IU Health is currently offering a free virtual screening for the COVID-19 virus online or through a mobile app. The virtual screening will be staffed 24/7 by IU health professionals. The medical professionals will recommend and facilitate next steps for patients based on the virtual screening results.
You can access the virtual screening through an app on the Apple store here, an app on the Google Play store here, or an online portal here.
Many caregivers are navigating how to talk to their kids during the #COVID19 emergency. Please share this video containing several tips on this topic with any caregivers you know who might be struggling during this time.
Milk banking – much like blood banking or food banking – is a critical need and particularly at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. Now more than ever, The Milk Bank needs donations. Learn more about being a donor http://themilkbank.org/donate-milk.
Help with Alcohol, Opioid and Other Drug Addicition
COVID-19 has proven to be a high-risk situation for many Hoosiers that struggle with excessive alcohol use. Has this current pandemic impacted you or a loved one? Click here for tips on how to get the help needed at this time.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an drug/opioid-related problem, you can call DMHA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 for crisis counseling. Calls are toll-free, multi-lingual and confidential. Hoosiers can also text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
You can also call the Indiana State Department of Health at 317-233-7125 (or 317-233-1325 after 8 p.m.) -- but please we aware that the center is fielding an extremely high call volume with those concerned about COVID-19.
From Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and State Government
Most Indiana counties have begun to reopen, with an ultimate goal to free Hoosiers from all restrictions by July 4.
Indiana was in "Stage One" under the stay-at-home order. Most of the state is now firmly in Stage 4. If health indicators remain positive, most of the state will fully re-open by July 4.
The guidelines for Stage Four are as follows:
Social gatherings can go up to 250 people as long as people stay six feet apart.
- Retail stores and malls can open at full capacity following social distancing guidelines.
- Restaurants can open at 75% capacity.
- Bar seating in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can open at half-capacity.
- Zoos, museums and other sites may open, but a capacity limit isn’t specified yet.
- Movie theaters and bowling alleys can open at half-capacity.
Stage 5 would hit at the July 4 weekend with all social gathering limitations lifted, including for fairs, festivals, conventions, sporting events and concerts.
Read more here.
From the White House and Administration
State and local governments are executing re-opening plans. Mass testing and screening for immunity coupled with a phased re-opening of businesses the extent of which depends on local conditions is underway.
I hope northeast Indiana can be a successful model how we can safely reopen America. I believe we can take individual responsibility, wear masks and practice social distancing without imposed mandates. We can take care of our susceptible neighbors. We can limit private and public gatherings so as to stop the spread of the virus. We can institute rapid COVID-19 and temperature testing so people can feel assured they won’t get sick when they go out in public.
I am proud of Indiana’s forbearance during an extremely difficult time. I pray, like you, that this will be over soon, and I am glad that Hoosiers are getting back to work and church.
Public Sector and Private Industry Working Together
The race for a coronavirus vaccine is well underway and already several front-runners have emerged.
Among the leaders include Moderna Inc., which just announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine produces antibodies in an early-stage study, which could "neutralize" the new coronavirus in patients. More on their breakthrough early-stage study here.
Of more than 100 vaccines in development globally, at least eight have started testing in humans, including candidates from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. At the same time, large pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi are building capacity to make hundreds of millions of doses of their own or their partners’ vaccines.
The efforts are part of a larger rush to line up funding for accelerated testing and expanded manufacturing capacity, all to make doses available in the U.S. starting as soon as this fall.
A safe and effective vaccine is the best way to prevent Covid-19 and to curb its transmission. Drugmakers say they are developing potential coronavirus vaccines at remarkably fast speeds -- speeds the likes of which the world has never seen before.
Once a vaccine is proved in clinical testing to work safely, drugmakers expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would move quickly to permit its use, even if the agency doesn’t have all the evidence it typically collects before granting an approval.
The FDA authorized such an emergency use of the drug remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc., for treating hospitalized Covid-19 patients on May 1, just days after a study showed it shortened hospital stays.
Groups likely to be at the head of the line for access are front-line health-care workers and first responders, plus essential workers like grocery, pharmacy, food-supply and mass-transit employees, said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who serves on a committee with federal and drug-industry officials that is trying to accelerate coronavirus vaccine development.
Read more here.
Researchers in Indiana are on the front lines in the race to find a cure. Here’s a look at what some Hoosier companies, hospitals and institutions are doing to aid in the worldwide search for a vaccine.
- On April 10, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. announced it had launched a study to investigate the potential to use a rheumatoid arthritis drug, called baricitinib, as a treatment for COVID-19. The company said results are expected within the next two months.
- Dr. John Patton, a professor of biology and virology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, along with a team of scientists are working to make a vaccine for children to protect them against COVID-19.
- While companies and researchers scramble to develop a vaccine, Indiana hospitals are trying another approach to help current coronavirus patients fight off the disease. At Indiana University Health, doctors are looking for patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma to aid critically-ill patients battling the virus.
Read more here.
Tax Filings, Student Loans, K-12 Education
Click here to learn more about the decision to move back the IRS deadline for filing taxes from April 15 to July 15, giving millions of taxpayers more time to fill out their tax forms as coronavirus upends daily life across the country.
Click here to learn more about President Trump's decision to waive interest on all federal student loans "until further notice" -- an unprecedented move that will provide relief to more than 42 million Americans who owe more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding federal student loans.
Click here to learn more about the U.S. Department of Education's decision to not enforce federal standardized testing requirements for K-12 schools.
Click here to learn more about the U.S. State Department issuing a level-four travel advisory applying to all international travel -- advising Americans to not travel abroad. The advisory instructs all Americans abroad to either return to the United States or prepare to shelter in place.
Click here to learn more about President Trump's decision to restrict travel from China on January 31 -- a decision that has been praised as having bought the United States much-needed time to prepare for and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional Relief for Small Businesses
The House of Representatives earlier this month passed a $484 billion relief package to assist small businesses, help hospitals and to expand testing.
While I had reservations about this bill, most notably the lack of future plans to offset it's enormous cost, I voted "yes" for this bill because it provides much-needed relief to Americans -- especially to small businesses and workers.
More recently, Democrats late last week shoved through the House the so-called "HEROES Act", which amounted to a Democrat wish-list while doing little to address the problems created by coronavirus.
This package robs well-run states like Indiana and gives our money to poorly run states like Illinois, who chronically overspend and under-deliver. The bill also contained numerous outrageous provisions, including cash payments to illegal immigrants, funding for Planned Parenthood, special tax breaks for coastal wealthy elites in NYC and SF, and more. The bill contained the word "Marijuana" more often than the word "Jobs."
This bill would ensure joblessness and a Depression for a decade, and I was proud to vote "No."
- $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which will allow the Trump Administration to continue providing forgivable loans to cover the cost of payroll and operating expenses for small businesses.
- $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s economic injury disaster loans and grants, including:
- $50 billion for economic injury disaster loans - each loan can be up to $2 million with interest rates not to exceed 4% and long-term repayment periods of up to 30 years; $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 that do not have to be repaid.
- Additional funds are provided for the Small Business Administration to administer these programs.
Hospitals and Healthcare Providers
- $75 billion to support the heroes on the front lines of this crisis and our healthcare system, including additional funding to reimburse hospitals and healthcare providers for lost revenues and expenses related to the outbreak.
- $25 billion to expand testing, which will provide information on where cases are occurring, and support continued eﬀorts to reopen communities and reignite our record-breaking economy.
Click here to learn more.
Click here to learn more about the $2 trillion stimulus package passed last month aimed at shielding the U.S. economy from the worst consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
I voted "Yes" on this bill, as it has been critical to keeping the lights on in America. We are getting cash in the hands of Americans, letting them keep more of their own money.
I delivered a speech on the House floor during the bill’s debate. Watch here.
Making China Pay
I sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr last week urging them to bring a case against China to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ) for the country’s actions during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The letter was co-signed by 22 other lawmakers. It states that China has violated the 2005 International Health Regulations by suppressing information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Wuhan earlier this year and underreporting the number of infections and deaths caused by the contagion.
Read more here.
I sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month urging her to include provisions in the COVID-19 stimulus package to disentangle the United States' medical supply chain from China. 97% of antibiotics and a large portion of pharmaceutical products used domestically are manufactured in China.
- Why is that scary? China recently threatened to cut off medical exports to the US and "plunge America into the mighty sea of coronavirus." Even if we discount the risk of hostile action from China, COVID-19 has destabilized global supply chains which could prevent Americans from receiving needed medical products.
- We need immediate, short-term Band-Aids to counteract the consequences of COVID-19, but this stimulus package should also include long-term solutions to an underlying threat to the health of every American—our reliance on China for crucial medical products.
If you believe you are beginning to feel symptoms of COVID-19, follow the CDC's guidelines.
Patients with mild disease will recover in two weeks. For those with severe disease, about 20%, recovery is three to six weeks.
The virus is spread through coughs and sneezes. When a patient coughs into their hand and then touches a surface they can place the virus on that surface. If a person comes along and touches that surface and then their mouth or nose, or eyes, they can contract the virus.
CDC Expands List of Symptoms
The CDC has just added 6 new symptoms to its list of possible indicators of COVID-19. The symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Previously the CDC named fever, cough and shortness of breath as COVID-19 symptoms.
The list now includes the loss of taste of or smell (which studies have shown to be the first symptom in 25% of COVID cases) headache, muscle pain, sore throat, chills, and repeated shaking with chills.
If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommends contacting your medical provider about testing options.
Read more from the CDC here, or at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html.
Make A Difference
Wash your hands! One of the simplest prevention measures one can take is proper hand-washing.
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water before eating, after using the bathroom, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and before and after caring for a sick friend or a family member.
Stay home when you are sick! Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
"Should I wear a face mask?"
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people wear cloth face coverings to slow spread of coronavirus in public settings, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
This recommendation is not a substitute for existing guidance on maintaining 6-feet of physical distance and washing your hands. Those measures continue to be critical.
Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items, or made at home from common materials at low cost, and can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure to help slow the spread. Click here for more information on making and using a facemask.
The cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those critical supplies must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children (younger than age 2) or on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.