News from Congressman Banks



As your representative in Washington, I wanted you to see the latest details on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Indiana. 


COVID-19 Update From ISDH

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reports there are 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 In Indiana as of 10:00am Monday morning. We expect that number to grow.

There are currently three confirmed cases of coronavirus in northeast Indiana. The patients are in isolation in Adams, Nobles and Wells Counties. 

The ISDH dashboard is updated daily at 10 a.m. Counties with positive cases are LaPorte, St. Joseph, Noble, Wells, Adams, Howard, Hamilton, Boone, Hendricks, Marion, Johnson, Bartholomew and Floyd. All but one are adults. 

ISDH continues to work with local health departments to identify close contacts of the existing patients and ensure that infection-control protocols, such as self-isolation and monitoring for symptoms, are implemented.

You can read more from the ISDH here.

An update from the White House and administration

President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, March 13 in an announcement before the nation to combat the escalating crisis. According to The White House, the move will free up $50 billion in additional funding and allow the Department of Health and Human Services to waive certain regulations and laws to more quickly deliver testing and care for coronavirus patients. 

President Trump also announced that the federal government will 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.

Two weeks ago, President Trump signed bipartisan legislation to ensure Indiana and our whole nation have the resources to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly $1 billion of the funding Congress passed will go to state and local health departments. 

Together, the federal government and the private sector are employing a whole-of-government and whole-of-industry approach to keep Americans healthy. President Trump was joined last week by senior members of the administration’s coronavirus task force and health industry executives, including the head of Walmart Doug McMillion, the head of Walgreens Stefano Pessina, the head of Target Brian Cornell, and many others. 

An update from Congress

Congress is working on a legislative package to make sure that Americans who are affected by the coronavirus get the help they deserve.

I voted no on the bill passed out of the House because I believe it does not go far enough or fast enough to address coronavirus. We need to get more cash into the hands of affected workers and families as quickly as possible.

I am working with my colleagues in the Senate to explore policy options to make cash immediately available to affected workers and families, so they don’t miss payments or worry about grocery bills. Some ideas we are considering: Cutting the payroll tax, direct cash payments to families who can’t work, removing restrictions on unemployment insurance, and more.

Take Caution

If you believe you are beginning to feel symptoms of COVID-19, follow the CDC's guidelines

"Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19."'

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.

While the CDC is duly preparing for pandemic, you too have a role.  

Make A Difference

Here's what you can do:

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 facemask?" The CDC recommends that only patients with the coronavirus wear a face mask to protect others around them, or, if the patient cannot wear a face mask, others should if they are in the same room together. 

Health officials are not recommending that healthy people buy masks at this time 

Thanks for letting me fill you in. 

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Jim Banks
Member of Congress
Indiana's Third District


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