Dear Friend,

Over the past few weeks, I have been keeping in regular contact with federal, state, and local public health officials regarding efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

I am writing to share with you as much information as I have on the current status of the coronavirus in Vermont and nationally; and let you know what you can do to keep safe and to stay up to date with public health recommendations.

All of the medical information in this newsletter has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Vermont Department of Health.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

According to the CDC, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Some coronavirus strains are common, and they can cause the common cold, but COVID-19 is a new strain that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms, and how does it spread?

COVID-19 is a new disease, and we are still learning about its symptoms and how it spreads.

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The majority of people have mild or no symptoms, but some have more complicated symptoms, including pneumonia.

The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19?

According to the CDC, the immediate risk of being exposed to this virus is still low for most Americans, but as the outbreak expands that risk will increase. Public health officials believe the situation will get worse but the severity and length of the outbreak is unclear.

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 with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Use a regular household cleaning spray/wipe to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects & surfaces.
  • 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.


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 Vermont?

Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in Vermont was reported on March 7, 2020. Updated information on the number of cases of COVID-19 in Vermont is available here.

What are the current travel warnings?

This is a rapidly evolving situation. For up-to-date information on travel warnings, please click here to visit the CDC travel bulletin.

What is Congress doing?

In the early morning of Saturday, March 14th, 2020, I voted in favor of emergency legislation (H.R. 6201) to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease and help affected Americans. The bill passed the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan votes and was signed into law by the President on March 18th, 2020.  

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201):

  • Ensures that all Americans have access to free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Establishes paid emergency leave, including both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave.
  • Enhances Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.
  • Suspends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or 3SquaresVT in Vermont) work requirements.
  • Gives schools flexibility on how free and reduced-price lunches are delivered in case of school closures.  The Vermont Agency of Education received a federal waiver allowing for greater flexibility to deliver meals.
  • Boosts Medicaid funding for states during the crisis.
  • Provides additional funding for home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors.

On March 4, 2020, the House passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to primarily help states and frontline providers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This bill was signed into law by the President on March 6th, 2020. 

I will do everything I can to help Vermonters during and after this public health crisis. I urge you to please keep in touch by using this contact form. For the most up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit my informational website. 




Member of Congress



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