My fellow Oklahomans,
I have added this new resource page to my website to keep our community updated on the latest coronavirus developments. Though infomation will be added regularly, you can also get the latest news by following my Twitter account at @RepFrankLucas or my Facebook page @RepFrankLucas for daily COVID-19 updates.
While some of us may not fall in the "high-risk" category, many of our loved ones do. It's important that we all work together to combat this disease. As your congressman, I’m here to serve you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to my Washington, D.C. or Canadian County offices.
Frank D. Lucas
Federal government health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to respond to the coronavirus in the United States. Congress and President Donald Trump have taken several actions to ensure the health and safety of all Americans. Our efforts are focused on mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, responding to and treating infected individuals, and assisting individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus.
President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, March 13, which allows for the release of up to $50 billion for state, local, and tribal governments to implement protective measures. The emergency declaration also authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to grant increased flexibility to healthcare providers to respond to this pandemic. President Trump also announced new partnerships with private sector companies to develop drive-through diagnostic testing, so that people can be screened without overloading healthcare facilities. The federal government is also dramatically increasing the number of diagnostic tests available throughout the country.
Coronavirus Reponse Legislation - Phase III
Congress enacted the Phase III relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on March 27. This law provides resources to combat the coronavirus and provide financial stability to Americans and U.S. businesses. These resources are vital as we take the unprecedented step of halting most economic activity in an effort to stop this pandemic. While the law includes numerous provisions, some of the most important include:
- Surging material and resources to healthcare providers and hospitals
- Providing most Americans with up to $1,200 tax free
- Expanding unemployment insurance funding
- Implementing a small business loan and grant program that will encourage employers to keep employees on payroll
- Providing $23 billion in aid to farmers and ranchers
- Supplying loans to distressed industries, especially those vital to national security
Detailed information about these important provisions is available on my website by clicking here.
Coronavirus Response Legislation - Phase II
Congress enacted emergency legislation to help families, businesses, and communities respond to the coronavirus. The legislation focused on slowing the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that Americans have economic assistance to get through this trying time. The provisions include:
- Free diagnostic testing to ensure that individuals seek care if diagnosed;
- Enhanced assistance to workers and businesses, including sick leave, to ensure the coronavirus is not spread unnecessarily;
- Increased healthcare resources to state, local, and tribal governments; and
- Increased telehealth access that will allow patients and vulnerable populations receive medical treatment without further exposing themselves.
On March 24, the Labor Department published guidance for employees and employers on the paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act provisions in the Phase II legislation. Click here to access this information.
Coronavirus Response Legislation - Phase I
Earlier this month, Congress enacted $8 billion to address the coronavirus. This legislation will help speed the development of vaccines, bolster access to testing and treatments, and expand access to telemedicine services.
Gov. Kevin Stitt has declared a state of emergency and the Oklahoma State Board of Education has closed all public schools indefinitely. Oklahoma has 457,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Please check the Oklahoma State Department of Health's coronavirus homepage for more information about Oklahoma's response.
Several school districts and local organizations across Oklahoma are providing free meals for children or other special offers during the current school closures. Click here to view a non-exhaustive list of resources for free or discounted kids meals.
Here are a few local resources to help you stay informed:
Here are few additional resources and tips:
- The CDC’s Coronavirus page
- Facts About the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus: What You Need To Know
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health Homepage
- Should You Get Tested?
For Our Communities:
- Guides for childcare programs and K-12 administrators.
- Information for parents and guardians about talking with children about Coronavirus.
- CDC’s guide to creating a household plan.
- Here are the updated numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
For Our Veterans:
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs COVID-19 Webpage
- Learn more about VA Telehealth & how they can help.
To protect you and your family, the Centers for Disease Control recommends the following:
- Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
- Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
- Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistanc.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid handshakes. Bump elbows instead.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- CDC travel health notices can be found here.
- International travel guidance issued by the Department of State is available here.
- State Department and specific country advisories are listed here.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus – fever, cough, shortness of breath – and have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of coronavirus, make sure to contact your health care provider immediately.
If you think you may have coronavirus, the CDC recommends calling your provider ahead of time for guidance on how the facility is handling cases before visiting the hospital in order to keep others from being exposed.