Coronavirus Update: What You Should Know
Over the past few weeks, you have likely heard about the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19. I want to reassure you that addressing this situation is the top priority in Congress. As part of the response, my office and I have been in frequent contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other relevant agencies. I am also coordinating closely with local health care professionals and Chicago-area hospitals. I will continue to monitor the situation very closely as it continues to develop.
During this critical time, my Washington, D.C., and Chicago offices will remain accessible and fully functioning. We are currently accepting very limited in-person meetings, so please reach out to the appropriate office before you visit. We will respond as quickly as possible. You can find contact information for all three of my offices on my website here.
It is important to remain calm and know that there is no reason to panic. Through this e-mail message, I hope to provide you with some basic information about the virus and its spread.
I believe that this outbreak calls for thorough, robust, and bipartisan action. I’m proud of Congress for mobilizing quickly and passing a smart, bipartisan bill that provided $8.3 billion in emergency funding for prevention, preparedness, and response efforts. Last week, the House passed an additional bill to implement paid sick leave and emergency unemployment benefits, provide free coronavirus testing, protect our health care workers, and expand food security programs. This situation will surely call for additional resources and actions in the coming weeks and I will continue fighting to ensure that our community has everything it needs to stay safe and healthy.
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The current best information is that the virus is spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneeze.
The CDC guidelines for protecting yourself include:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask as a way to protect yourself from coronavirus.
If you are experiencing a fever, cough, and shortness of breath and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID- 19, you should contact your doctor immediately.
For the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
For the latest information from the Chicago Department of Public Health, please visit Chicago.gov/coronavirus.