The public health emergency that we face today is one of the greatest challenges our nation has ever faced.
Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is the third package aimed at addressing this crisis. Previously, Congress passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Together, these laws dramatically expand critical financial lifelines for families, establish new benefits and protections for workers, create new tools for small businesses to meet payroll and other expenses, and provide relief for students and schools.
This COVID-19 Resource Guide will help you understand all the benefits that are available to you and your community — and how to access them. Please refer to these points if you or others want to learn more about medical care, prevention techniques, support for workers (including the unemployed), support for small businesses, guidance for schools and childcare centers, travel assistance, mental health assistance, income taxes, and the general assistance my office can provide to you. To access the resource guide, click here.
I would like you to know that while both my local and Washington, DC offices are teleworking, we are still working fulltime to serve you. If you are having issues with a federal agency, please contact my office at
PDF OF THIS GUIDE AVAILABLE HERE
Over the past few weeks, I have been keeping in regular contact with federal, state and local public health officials regarding efforts to contain the spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including the recent decision by the Department of Defense to make facilities available at Naval Base Ventura County for the quarantine of a limited number of individuals.
This page is filled with the latest information I have on the current status of the coronavirus in our community, state and nationally, and let you know what you can do to keep safe and to stay up to date with public health recommendations, and the status of the spread of the virus.
Here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones:
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Cornavirus’ are common, and they include the common cold, but COVID-19 is a new strain that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, where it likely jumped from animal to human.
What are the symptoms and how does it spread?
The most common symptoms include fever cough and respiratory symptoms. Our experience to date is that most people, more than 80%, have mild or no symptoms, but some have more complicated symptoms, including pneumonia.
For confirmed COVID-19 cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19?
It is important to know that the risk of COVID-19 to the general public in the United States continues to remain low and efforts are being undertaken to keep it that way. With that said, public health officials believe the situation will get worse. How much worse, depends not only on the response of local, state and federal public health officials, but on the public at large.
How can I help protect myself, my family, and my community?
Every person has a role to play in protecting themselves and helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s what the CDC suggests:
- Avoid close contact w/people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, & mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw tissue in the trash
- Use a regular household cleaning spray/wipe to clean & disinfect frequently touched objects & surfaces
- Wash your hands often with soap & water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. Updated information on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available here.
Are there cases of COVID-19 in California?
Yes. The State of California now has the authority and ability to test individuals, and is receiving additional test kits, as requested. Updated information is available here.
Are there people with COVID-19 in Ventura County?
Yes. As of March 19th, 17 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus. I urge all Ventura County residents to sign up for coronavirus email updates. Updated information is also available here.
Are there people at Naval Base Ventura County with COVID-19?
No. The Department of Defense designated Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) as a quarantine site for individuals who recently arrived at LAX, who have no symptoms of COVID-19, but who are being quarantined due to recent travel history. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is utilizing a building on base that is secure, and the quarantined individuals will have no contact with base personnel. More information is available here.
What is Congress doing?
Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with broad, bipartisan support. It will help to ensure our communities have the support they need to weather this difficult time and people are able to care for themselves and their families. Passage of the bill is another step forward in our efforts to appropriately respond to this public health emergency.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:
- Free testing for the coronavirus: The bill includes funds to provide for free testing for the coronavirus for all individuals, including the uninsured.
- For families’ economic security: The bill includes paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. It also includes enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
- For families’ food security: It strengthens nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition and food banks. 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security, so we absolutely must ensure that they have food to eat.
- For families’ health security: It increases federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.
Passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act builds upon previously passed legislation, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided $8.3 billion in emergency funds for public health agencies, for vaccine development, to support for state and local governments, and to assist affected small businesses.
Additionally, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans program has been activated. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also been engaged under its civil works mission to help build-out hospital capacity.
Congress will continue to consider additional legislation that may be necessary to address the crisis. You have my word that I will continue to fight every single day to make sure we bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to address this public health crisis.
What are the current travel warnings?
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory warning people to avoid traveling to China, and a Level 3 Travel Advisory warning for people to reconsider travel to Italy and South Korea due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.
If you are still planning travel to China, Italy, or South Korea, I encourage you to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages, alerts, updates, and travel advisories while you are there.
On arrival to the United States, travelers from China will undergo a health screening. Travelers with signs and symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) will have an additional health assessment. Travelers who have been in China during the past 14 days, including U.S. citizens or residents and others who are allowed to enter the United States, will be required to enter through specific airports and participate in monitoring by health officials until 14 days after they left China. Some people may have their movement restricted or be asked to limit their contact with others until the 14-day period has ended.
This is an evolving situation. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
My main concern and top priority is the health and safety of my constituents. My staff and I are here to help. If you have any concerns or questions please call my office at (805) 379-1779.