*Updated March 26, 2020*
Considering the outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important that we are aware of what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The number of confirmed cases is rapidly rising.
Please see my guide to important resources for my constituents during this time.
Governor Cuomo has issued a shelter in place order. This means that 100% of the workforce must stay home starting Sunday, March 22 at 8pm, excluding essential services. Please read for more information here.
Federal, state, and local officials have strongly advised social distancing as a necessary and critical community strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19. As such, the Congresswoman’s staff will be working remotely. NY-6 residents will still be able to receive assistance by calling the District Office or the D.C. office or by sending an email message through https://meng.house.gov/contact/email-me. Constituents needing help with a federal agency will be connected to a casework staffer during normal business hours through the District Office number at 718-358-6364. If you need help with a federal agency, please see further instructions here.
To reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19, it is crucial that we all take necessary precautions to keep ourselves, our family, and our loved ones safe and healthy. On March 16th, the President issued guidelines to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people. Additional guidelines can be found here. On March 15, 2020, the CDC issued a recommendation to cancel, postpone, and avoid gatherings of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Further details the latest guidance can be found here. Additional steps to keep Americans safe from Coronavirus can be found here.
The CDC has published the following fact sheets in various languages.
What You Need to Know: English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish
What to do if you are sick: English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish
Stop the Spread of Germs: English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish
You can access up to date information from the CDC at: coronavirus.gov
For confirmed COVID-19 cases, reported symptoms have ranged from mild to severe, 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.
Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, 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 from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Protect Yourself
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Those who are at higher risk should:
- Stock up on supplies
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
- 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.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Protect Your Community
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should only be used by people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health care workers and other individuals who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or a health care facility).
I voted for the strong, bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package for health agencies to prepare for and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which included a provision from my bill – the Small Business Relief From Communicable Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act of 2020, H.R.6040 – that would bring disaster relief loans for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. I also voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, bipartisan legislation to protect the health and economic security of families impacted by this public health crisis. I will continue to support robust solutions to bring swift relief to my constituents.
I am committed to ensuring all authorities at the federal and state levels are working to combat the spread of this virus. I led my New York City colleagues to urge the CDC to expedite the amount of testing kits available. I also called on New York City to close schools to reduce risk of spread. In addition, I urged President Trump to increase availability of mobile hotspots to ensure all students are able to complete schoolwork.
The State Department is currently advising against all international travel for Americans. For more information on the State Department’s worldwide “Level 4” travel advisory, please see here. If you are traveling, I encourage you to sign up for alerts through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you are easier to locate in case of an emergency.
Help for Veterans
If you are a veteran and need assistance accessing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities, please visit www.va.gov/coronavirus for the most up to date information. Guidance for your facility’s operating status can be found through the facility locator here: https://www.va.gov/find-locations. If you are experiencing symptoms, please call medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). For more details, see my Veterans’ Resources page.
Help for Small Businesses
Congresswoman Meng secured a provision in the first coronavirus relief package that enables small businesses to access the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief loans. Find more information on how to apply here and my SBA loans guide here.
Resources for Parents and Students
Government agencies are partnering with local school and health officials to maintain best practices and address concerns due to changes in response to COVID-19 precautions. Please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s resource page, the CDC Guidance page, and Student Financial Aid for more information.
Caring for Animals
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated there is no evidence at this time that companion animals can spread the COVID-19 virus. Please reach out to local shelters and animal service agencies to find out what support is available or if you have any questions regarding the safety of your animal.
For regular updates from the CDC, please check their website here.
For regular updates from the New York City Department of Health, please check their website here.
For regular updates from the New York State Department of Health, please check their website here.