An Update From Rep. Raskin About COVID-19

March 13, 2020

Dear Neighbor, 

I wanted to share some brief updates about the rapidly evolving status of our response to COVID-19 in Congress and in Maryland. If you missed my previous email update about COVID-19 symptoms, prevention tips, travel warnings, and additional information, you may read it here

The safety of my constituents and your loved ones continues to be of primary importance to me and my excellent, tireless staff. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call my District office at 301-354-1000. In the meantime, be safe, take good care, and stay well.

All Best,

COVID-19 in Maryland

On Thursday, Governor Hogan announced the first confirmed case of "community transmission" of COVID-19 in Maryland. The patient, whose case was first announced on Wednesday night, is a Prince George’s County resident who had no known exposure to coronavirus through travel or an infected individual; thus, the case was presumably contracted through transmission by another member of the community. Maryland has a total of 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 -- including 6 Montgomery County residents, 6 Prince George's County residents, 1 Harford County resident, 2 Baltimore County residents, 1 Anne Arundel County resident, and 1 Charles County resident.

Please be aware that while there is now a single confirmed case of community transmission in our state, we are still unaware of any community spread in the 8th Congressional District. The 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County have all been identifiably travel-related.

On Thursday, Governor Hogan also announced several sweeping actions to further protect the public health, including:

  • closing all public schools from March 16 to 27 for cleaning 
  • enacting an Executive Order prohibiting all social, community, religious,  recreational, or sports gatherings or events of more than 250 people in close proximity at locations across the state. All such gatherings must be postponed.
  • extending expiration dates for all licenses, permits, certifications, and other authorizations issued by the State, including driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, professional registrations, and so forth until the 30th day after the State of Emergency in Maryland ends
  • requiring all non-essential state workers to telework
  • activating the National Guard and moving it to a higher state of readiness
  • directing the MD Emergency Management Agency to mobilize to its highest level  
  • Closing all senior activity centers 
  • closing the Port of Baltimore to cruise ships except the two ships currently due to return in the comings days
  • restricting public access to the Maryland State House and all public buildings
  • suspending visits at state prisons effective today
  • directing all hospitals across the state to adopt new visitor restrictions, including allowing only one adult visitor per patient, prohibiting visitors under the age of 18, screening visitors with flu-like symptoms 
  • delegating day-to-day operations of state government to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford

Congressional Action

We are working to pass by the end of the week the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will enable free Coronavirus testing for anyone who needs it and rush aid to American families by bolstering unemployment insurance, guaranteeing paid sick days during the crisis and providing family leave to people who don’t yet have it. These and other measures will work to stabilize an uncertain and perilous situation for millions of families.

On Wednesday, I attended a House Oversight Committee hearing with top agency officials testifying on our nation's readiness and response to COVID-19. Watch my exchange with NIH Director Dr. Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Redfield here.

On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues in the Maryland congressional delegation in receiving an update from Maryland Health Secretary Dr. Robert Neall and Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips on Maryland's readiness and response to COVID-19.  

On Friday, I joined Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin for a briefing on COVID-19 and tour of the NIH's Vaccine Research Center Lab. Read more here.

Last week, I joined the Maryland congressional delegation in announcing an initial $500,000 in federal funding to support our state's response to COVID-19. Read more here.

I was proud to support the House's sweeping bipartisan $8.3 billion funding package which comprehensively addresses this public health emergency and protect our people. This package was passed by the Senate and signed by the President.

United States Capitol Building Closure

Effective at 5:00 p.m. today and until March 31st, 2020, the House of Representatives and Senate have decided to close the U.S. Capitol to all tours. If you have a tour scheduled with my office during that period, you should have received an email from my office today with more information. I apologize for the inconvenience. If you are requesting or have already requested a tour after April 1, 2020, my office will be in touch once more information becomes available. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work together to safely confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restricted Access to House and Senate Office Buildings

In addition, access to all House and Senate Office Buildings on Capitol Hill is restricted. If you have an in-person meeting with a member of my staff, please call or email them to discuss alternatives. My D.C. office is and will remain consistently, available to answer your phone calls, respond to your emails, and listen to your concerns about federal legislative questions but we will be discontinuing in-person meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the restricted access to the U.S. Capitol complex, my D.C. office staff will also be teleworking when necessary and appropriate. 

My District office is always available to handle your casework requests. My District office staff will be discontinuing walk-in meetings in order to limit unnecessary person-to-person contact. You may submit all your casework through our website or by phone at 301-354-1000. 

My office is implementing the recommended "social distancing" practices as advised by the CDC to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In lieu of Coffee With Your Congressman and other in-person townhall events, my office will be hosting telephone townhalls to provide COVID-19 updates and answer your questions. Stay tuned for information about an upcoming teletownhall.

State and Local Resources

The Maryland Department of Health has a coronavirus information page here.

The Carroll County Health Department has a coronavirus information page here.

The Frederick County Health Department has information on coronavirus here.

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services has a coronavirus information page here.

I maintain a dedicated coronavirus Information page on my House website here.

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