WASHINGTON — Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) sent the following message on March 19 to her constituents in the 6th Congressional District.
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to impact our community and our nation, I am reaching out to provide updates on the situation and to connect you to the many available resources from our federal, state, and local partners. My staff and I have been working closely with federal agencies as well as state and local officials as we confront and respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak together.
As of Tuesday, March 17, Sacramento County health officials are now recommending that all residents “shelter in place” by staying home unless going to essential sites like grocery stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, or businesses that provide food, shelter and social services. Unless the errand is absolutely essential, I encourage you all to follow guidance from Sacramento County to stay home to the maximum extent possible. You can find more information here.
The World Health Organization classifies the coronavirus as a pandemic, and because of that, we’re all taking additional safety measures and will be limiting our interactions with the public during this time.
What I’m Doing
I’m following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to avoid large gatherings, and I encourage you all to do the same. While I’m working on an ongoing federal emergency response, I’m also monitoring the situation at home closely: speaking with Gov. Newsom and his team, county and city elected officials, our Sacramento region hospital systems, public health officials, and medical experts to stay informed and help form our collective direction as we move forward.
As this matter continues to evolve, I will remain in close communication with stakeholders on a local, state, and federal level.
Additionally, please know that I am working diligently to protect your family’s financial security, including seniors’ social security benefits during this time. I am working in collaboration with our business community to make sure that the families they support get the assistance they need during this crisis. I have also been working to make sure that our small businesses have access to emergency capital. More information is available on my website. (www.matsui.house.gov)
What My Staff Is Doing
My Washington, D.C. and Sacramento offices will continue to take meetings as scheduled via phone, email, or video conferencing, depending on staff capacity and availability. Please contact the relevant staff member directly to reschedule any in-person meetings.
As of now, my offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento will be working remotely to adhere to social distancing and shelter in place guidance. My staff is continuing to assist with constituent casework and concerns, so please visit my website to email us and one of my staff members will reach out to you via email.
What Congress Is Doing
There’s a lot of work that must be done at the federal level to respond to this pandemic. In the past weeks, Congress has passed two coronavirus aid packages that deliver billions in emergency supplemental funding to bolster public health, support local agencies, protect health care workers, and provide economic relief to families.
Democrats and Republicans first came together to pass an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental to protect public health, which President Trump signed into law.
This package of new funding contains:
$2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response to keep Americans safe;
$950 million to support state and local health agencies, and
$3 billion for the development of a vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent and treat the coronavirus.
It also makes $7 billion in low-interest loans available for small businesses that have suffered due to the coronavirus. Please see our website for more information on these loans.
Additionally, as of March 18, the House and Senate have now passed a second coronavirus bill to provide economic and additional health care relief to families and health workers.
The Families First Act ensures free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. It also provides:
Paid emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
Enhanced unemployment insurance that extends protections to furloughed workers;
Strengthened nutrition security initiatives to ensure students, seniors, and low-income families are able to keep food on the table; and
Increased federal funds for Medicaid to support local, state, tribal, and territorial governments and health systems to ensure everyone has the resources to combat this crisis.
What You Can Do
Follow the directions of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health officials by continuing to wash your hands often, use social distancing distancing best practices (like avoiding handshakes and large gatherings larger than 10 attendees), and stay home if possible.
For the latest health care guidance and updates on the status of COVID-19 in California, I encourage you to visit the CDPH website early and often. (http://cdph.ca.gov)
As we move through this critical time, I thank you for your cooperation as an engaged member of our community. It is important not to panic and know that we can all do our part to protect each other and stay informed. Sacramento’s strength is in our togetherness and our ability to look after our fellow community members. Thank you!