PEORIA – Today, Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Darin LaHood (IL-18) released the following joint statement in response to the first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Peoria County:
“Today, we learned of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Peoria County. As your Representatives, we want to urge all Central Illinoisans to follow the guidance outlined by our health professionals to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We are Americans and Illinoisans first, and this moment calls for us to look out for each other and remain united. It’s imperative we all practice the preventative measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, and work together to keep our community prepared and safe.”
Early Saturday morning, Representatives Bustos and LaHood helped passed a bipartisan legislative package addressing the outbreak of coronavirus, the Families First bill prioritizes the needs of hardworking Americans, in order to help them navigate challenging financial times. The bill also helps families make good public health decisions by removing barriers and empowering people to follow medical advice.
The package includes:
- Free Coronavirus Testing: No one will be denied a test due to cost.
- An Emergency Paid Leave Program: Up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees.
- Food assistance: Support for nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, meals for seniors and food banks. In the 14 counties that Illinois’ 17th Congressional District covers, 55.2 percent of school-age kids are eligible for free/reduced lunch.
- Enhanced Unemployment Benefits: States must have the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers.
- Safeguards for Medicaid Benefits: Increased federal funding for Medicaid.
An $8.3 billion Coronavirus emergency funding package was also passed by Congress and signed into law in early March. The bill includes funding for vaccine development, support for state and local governments and assistance for businesses effected by the coronavirus, as well as “fair and reasonable” price protections for vaccines and diagnostics. In order to allow Medicaid providers to deliver telehealth services to patients around the country, it also includes a waiver on certain Medicare telehealth restrictions.
The funding package includes:
- Small Business Disaster Loans –$1 billion in loan subsidies to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations impacted by coronavirus.
- Support for State and Local Health Department – $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
- Support for Vaccine and Diagnostic Development – More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
- Funding for Medical Supplies – $500 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals, masks, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which can be distributed to state and local health agencies.
- Support for Rural Health Clinics – $100 million for health services through Community Health Centers, which will support smaller health clinics across the country in under-served urban and rural areas.