COVID 19 Updates

Below are resources related to COVID-19, precautions to take, symptoms, travel restriction information, and latest updates on government action. If you are experiencing symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and follow the CDC’s guidelines on what to do if you are sick.

Executive Updates

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC is regularly sharing updates on COVID-19, the government’s response, and what you can do to mitigate the spread of the virus.

CARES Act of 2020

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, H.R. 748) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Find here a summary of the content of this bill regarding healthcare, individual financial assistance, and relief for businesses of various capacities.
  • Be sure to check out these Frequently Asked Questions about the CARES Act: Part 1 and Part 2

Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

  • Find here a summary of requirements on small businesses under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
  • Guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA)
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance.
    • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
    • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
    • SBA Products and Resources
    • Government Contracting
    • Find Local Assistance

Health, Unemployment, and Tax Provisions Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)

  • Temporarily increases state Medicaid FMAP by 6.2 percent for the duration of the public health emergency.
  • Eliminates patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 in Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid.
  • Requires private health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing at no cost to the patient.
  • Provides $1 billion in emergency Unemployment Insurance administration grants to states.
  • Tax filing deadline for 2019 has been postponed three months to July 15th.

Alabama Department of Public Health Call Center:

  • There is a 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-264-2256. You can call this number for testing sites and hours of operation.
  • The most up to date information on COVID-19 cases in Alabama and other resources from the state can be found here.
  • Providers and facilities that are in need of supplies should use the Alabama Incident Management System (AIMS) to make requests to the ADPH.

Contacting your county’s health department in the Sixth District:

Alabama Department of Revenue

  • Alabama is waiving late payment penalties for retailers whose monthly sales for calendar year 2019 averaged less than $62,500 or less and are unable to pay their February, March, and April 2020 state sales tax liabilities through June 1, 2020.
  • Businesses over this threshold should contact the Alabama Department of Revenue for assistance.

Local Resources and Response:

United Way:

United Way is positioned with staff expertise, volunteers and a network of agency service providers to help with a rapid response. If you are an organization providing resources to address COVID-19, please call 2-1-1 and provided your information.

United Way’s 2-1-1 Connects is an information referral center providing details on available resources for those impacted by the Coronavirus. You can also dial 2-1-1 if you wish to talk to a representative by phone.

Doing Your Part to Stop the Spread Now:

  • Stay home as much as possible right now. It may seem extreme, but social distancing is vital to “flatten the curve,” especially over the next two weeks.
  • Cancel or postpone out-of-state travel and do as little as possible discretionary travel (shopping trips, social visits, etc.)
  • Do not interact with elderly people or individuals with chronic health conditions, unless you are providing critical care.
  • Create a household plan.

Staying Healthy:
The best way to prevent illness and exposure to the coronavirus is to observe good hygiene methods and avoid social contact with sick people. People over the age of 60, and those who have pre-existing or chronic health issues are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and should take extra precautions.

  • Wash your hands often!
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Practice social distancing right now. You should especially stay home if you feel sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Frequently disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your medical provider first. Keep in mind that symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Travel Information:
Regular updates about travel precautions, restrictions, and countries of concern are available on the State Department’s website. It is providing the most updated travel information regarding COVID-19. Find additional travel guidelines from the CDC.

  • Travel Guidelines
    • The State Department currently advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
    • In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
  • Passport Services
    • Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, effective March 20, 2020, we are only able to offer service for customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Response to COVID-19

  • Information for facilities and providers related to actions taken by CMS in responses to COVID-19 can be found here.

Department of Defense (DOD) Response to COVID-19

  • Follow general updates on DOD activities on their website.
  • President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act which allows the president to control the production and distribution of scarce materials deemed “essential to the national defense.”
    • In his executive order, President Trump delegates his authority to carry out the law “to the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to all health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19 within the United States.”
  • USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy are being prepared for deployment to New York and the West Coast to “to assist potentially overwhelmed communities with acute patient care.”
  • The Defense Department will make available up to 5 million respirator masks and other personal protective equipment from its strategic reserves to the Department of Health and Human Services for distribution. Some 2,000 deployable ventilators would also be made available to the Department of Health & Human Services.

Impact of COVID-19 on Education

  • See the Department of Education’s website for the latest updates.
  • Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel
  • Elementary and secondary education schools may receive a one-year waiver from ED for yearly assessments and accountability that may be impacted by lower participation and chronic absenteeism as a result of COVID-19.
  • Federal Student Aid for Colleges and Universities:
    • The Department of Education is temporarily providing broad approval for using online technologies or distance education without completing the regular approval process. An institution may retain Title IV federal funds for students who take an approved leave of absence for COVID-19 related concerns or limitations, and who continue enrollment after the approved absence.
    • The Department is authorized to approve a reduced academic year. Institutions may contact the School Participation team to request this accommodation.
    • Institutions must return unearned Title IV funds in the case of student withdrawal.
    • Student loan interest will be waived temporarily.

Department of Labor Response to COVID-19

  • See Department of Labor website for latest updates.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
  • Unemployment Insurance Flexibility: New guidance permits flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:
    • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
    • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
    • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
    • In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak [CMS Press Release Link]

Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Medicare Telemedicine Healthcare Provider Factsheet [CMS Factsheet Link]

What You Need To Know | The Trump Administration Continues to Take Aggressive Action to Expand Coronavirus Testing [FDA Press Release, FDA Press Release]

What You Need To Know | President Trump is Expanding Telehealth Access In Response to Coronavirus [CMS Press Release]

TOP LINE: Coronavirus has reshaped our world in a matter of months. Americans want to know what has been done to fight the virus and what remains to be done to return life to normal. While Congress works with the Trump Administration and our public health experts on next steps, we have compiled three timelines below to help you understand the speed and breadth of the government’s response to this pandemic. 

If you are interested in seeing the three timelines below integrated into one single timeline, please click HERE.

Major Coronavirus Events

December 8, 2019 – The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus experiences symptoms onset, according to Wuhan authorities.

December 10, 2019 – Increasing numbers of patients tied to the Hua’nan wet market in Wuhan, China, suffer from an unknown respiratory disease.

December 30, 2019 – After growing indications of person-to-person contagion in Wuhan, local doctors share concerns with health care colleagues, spurring reprimands and censorship from Chinese authorities.

December 31, 2019 – Chinese officials announce a pneumonia outbreak linked to a wet market and finally inform the World Health Organization (WHO). AP first reports news of the respiratory illness outbreak.

January 1, 2020 – Hua’nan wet market closed. Wuhan police publicly reprimand eight people for spreading rumors, including a doctor who alerted a hospital of person-to-person transmission. Chinese state TV widely covers the reprimands.

January 2, 2020 – A Chinese government-run laboratory identifies the respiratory disease as a novel coronavirus and maps its genome but doesn’t publicly announce anything.

January 5, 2020 – A Shanghai public health center maps the coronavirus genome and privately urges epidemic control measures.

January 6, 2020 – The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention activates emergency response measure, but doesn’t publicly announce the move.

January 7, 2020 – President Xi takes charge of China’s coronavirus response. His personal involvement is not publicly disclosed until February.

January 11, 2020 – Chinese authorities report first known death from the novel coronavirus.

January 12, 2020 – Chinese authorities finally share the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with other countries. 

January 14, 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the first case of coronavirus outside of China, in Thailand.

January 21, 2020 – The first case of coronavirus in the United States is confirmed in Washington State.

January 22, 2020 – Chinese authorities lock down Wuhan, canceling all planes and trains departing the city.

January 23, 2020 – The WHO announces that the coronavirus outbreak does not yet constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

January 28, 2020 – President Xi Jinping of China meets with the Director-General of the WHO and agrees to accept a team of international experts, including CDC officials, to better understand the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the announcement, and previous continued offers of help from the CDC, China repeatedly delays outside officials’entrance into the country for weeks after.

January 30, 2020 – The WHO declares the novel coronavirus constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

February 1, 2020 – The Washington Post publishes an article downplaying coronavirus titled, “Get a grippe, America. The flu is a much bigger threat than coronavirus, for now.

February 2, 2020 – The Philippines reports the first death from coronavirus outside mainland China.

February 3, 2020 – The Chinese government cynically criticizes the United States government for “violating civil rights instead of reducing risks of virus spreading” by instituting a travel ban for China.

February 5, 2020 – The Washington Post Editorial Board publishes an op-ed similarly criticizing President Trump’s decision titled, “In combating coronavirus, slamming the door to China will hurt more than help.

February 6, 2020 – A whistleblower, Dr. Li Wenliang, who was censored by the Chinese government for telling the truth about the virus, dies of coronavirus.

February 8, 2020 – The first American citizen dies of coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

February 14, 2020 – France reports the first coronavirus death in Europe.

February 26, 2020 – The first suspected case of coronavirus community transmission in the United States is reported in California.

February 29, 2020 – The first coronavirus patient dies on American soil, near Seattle. 

March 9, 2020 – The entire country of Italy is locked down to prevent spread of the virus.

March 10, 2020 – The CDC reports the United States has over 500 cases of coronavirus.

March 11, 2020 – The WHO officially declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. 

March 19, 2020 – China reports no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases. U.S. intelligence agencies later conclude China is concealing the numbers of cases and deaths associated with the disease.

April 2, 2020 – The CDC reports that the United States has 213,144 confirmed cases and 4,513 deaths caused by coronavirus.

Trump Administration Response

January 6, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a Level 1 travel health notice and warns Americans to “practice usual precautions”if traveling to Wuhan.

January 7, 2020 – The CDC establishes a COVID-19 Incident Management System to direct operations and share information.

January 8, 2020 – The CDC issues an alert, “closely monitoring a reported cluster of pneumonia. . . in Wuhan City.”

January 17, 2020 – The CDC holds its first coronavirus telebriefing and begins entry screening travelers from Wuhan for symptoms at San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.

January 20, 2020 – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) begins work on a coronavirus vaccine. 

January 21, 2020 – The CDC activates its Emergency Operations Center to better provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response.

January 29, 2020 – President Trump announces the formation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force to lead the United States Government response to the novel coronavirus.

January 31, 2020 – President Trump institutes a travel ban on all foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. HHS Secretary Alex Azar declares a Public Health Emergency for the novel coronavirus.

February 2, 2020 – The CDC issues a “Level 4: Do Not Travel”Global Health Advisory for all of China.

February 4, 2020 – President Trump vows to fight the coronavirus disease in his State of the Union address: “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.”

February 24, 2020 – The Trump Administration asks Congress to allocate $1.25 billion in emergency funding to bolster coronavirus response efforts.

February 25, 2020  The NIH announces that clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of antiviral drugs on coronavirus-positive patients are underway in the United States. The CDC announces they expect community spread of coronavirus in the United States.

February 26, 2020 – President Trump puts Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force.

February 29, 2020 – The Trump Administration issues “Level 4: Do Not Travel”advisories for parts of Italy and South Korea and announces additional screening procedures for incoming travelers. The Trump Administration also restricts travel to and from Iran, which was experiencing a large outbreak.

March 4, 2020 – The CDC formally lifts coronavirus testing restrictions. Vice President Pence announces “any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders.”

March 6, 2020 – President Trump signs H.R. 6074, Coronavirus Phase I legislation, into law.

March 10, 2020 – The CDC updates guidelines for at-risk groups, including Americans over the age of 60.

March 11, 2020 – President Trump announces a 30-day ban of foreign travelers from Europe. The State Department issues a Level 3 Global Health Advisory advising American citizens to reconsider travel abroad.

March 13, 2020 -President Trump declares a “National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.”This action makes significant funds (~$50 billion) and authorities available for the federal government to fight coronavirus. The Department of Defense restricts domestic travel for service members, civilian employees, and families.

March 14, 2020 – The Trump Administration expands European travel restrictions to include the United Kingdom and Ireland.

March 15, 2020 – The CDC advises against gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 16, 2020 – President Trump launches the “15 Days to Slow the Spread”initiative and advises against gatherings of more than 10 people.

March 18, 2020 – President Trump signs H.R. 6201, Coronavirus Phase II legislation, into law. President Trump also declares his intention to invoke the Defense Production Act if needed to address medical supply shortages.

March 27, 2020 – President Trump signs the CARES Act, Coronavirus Phase III legislation into law. President Trump also invokes the Defense Production Act to order General Motors to produce ventilators. The CDC issues a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.

March 30, 2020 – President Trump extends public health guidelines, launches “30 Days to Slow the Spread”initiative.

Congressional Response

December 18, 2019 – Democrats in the House of Representatives vote, on a completely partisan basis, to impeach President Trump.

January 15, 2020 – Speaker Pelosi signs articles of impeachment against President Trump and hands out customized black and gold souvenir pens.

January 16, 2020 – The impeachment trial of President Trump begins in the Senate.

January 31, 2020 – When President Trump suspends entry from a number of countries for national security reasons, Speaker Pelosi criticizes the president and vows to bring the NO BAN Act to the House floor. 

February 4, 2020 – After President Trump vows to fight the coronavirus disease in his State of the Union address, Speaker Pelosi tears up the speech

February 5, 2020 The Senate votes to acquit President Trump of Democrats’charges against him.

February 24, 2020 – The Trump Administration asks Congress to allocate $1.25 billion in emergency funding to bolster coronavirus response efforts.

March 4, 2020 – The House of Representatives passes Coronavirus Phase I legislation, H.R. 6074 – Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, by a vote of 415-2. This legislation includes the following provisions:

  • $4+ billion investment in testing, therapeutic treatments, and vaccine development and procurement.
  • $2.2 billion for the CDC including nearly $1 billion for state and local response efforts.
  • $20 million to administer disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by the virus. 
  • $1.25 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to protect Americans abroad and prevent the spread of the virus worldwide.

March 5, 2020 – The Senate passes H.R. 6074, Coronavirus Phase I legislation, by a vote of 96-1.

March 14, 2020 – The House passes Coronavirus Phase II legislation, H.R. 6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act, by a vote of 363-40. This legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Free testing for all Americans:
    • Requires all commercial insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Indian Health service, and TRI-CARE to cover, and impose no cost-sharing for testing diagnosis of COVID-19 
    • Appropriates $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of coronavirus testing, including $142 million to eliminate copay requirements for service members and veterans
  • Paid sick leave for impacted American workers:
    • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide 14 days of paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19. 
      • The vast majority of businesses with more than 500 employees already offer paid sick leave. 
      • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees will receive a 100% tax credit for both types of leave up to capped levels, credited against quarterly payroll taxes
      • Additionally, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expansion, employees unable to work due to childcare circumstances, like a closed school, are entitled to at least 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of the employee’s pay
    • Additionally, the Secretaries of Treasury and Labor will have regulatory authority to provide flexibility so small businesses under 50 employees are not unduly harmed
    • Affected employees include those with COVID-19, under quarantine, caring for someone affected, and with children whose school has closed.
    • These provisions sunset after December 31, 2020
  • Assistance for vulnerable Americans:
    • $1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families, including:
      • $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
      • $250m for senior nutrition programs, including home-delivered nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels
      • $400m for the Emergency Food Assistance Program
    • Provides funding and flexibility to ensures low-income students continue to have access to meals if schools are closed
    • Provides the Agriculture Secretary with the authority to waive administrative requirements that might prevent children and parents from accessing nutrition programs
  • Bolstered unemployment insurance:
    • Provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions
    • $500 million would be used to provide immediate additional funding to all states for staffing, technology, systems, and other administrative costs, so long as they met basic requirements about ensuring access to earned benefits for eligible workers
    • Full Federal Funding of Extended Unemployment Compensation for a Limited Period. For states that experience an increase of 10 percent or more in their unemployment rate (over the previous year)

March 18, 2020 – The Senate passes, H.R. 6201, Coronavirus Phase II legislation, by a vote of 90-8.

March 22, 2020 – Speaker Pelosi blows up bipartisan negotiations on Coronavirus Phase III legislation in order to introduce the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act,” which includes far-left provisions like:

  • Funding for a Department of Transportation study into climate change mitigation efforts.
  • Permanently requiring all publicly traded companies to disclose board of director diversity statistics.
  • All businesses receiving federal aid for coronavirus must permanently raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • Opening up funding to sanctuary cities.
  • Requiring early voting and same-day voter registration. 
  • Modifying retirement plans for community journalists.

March 25, 2020 – The Senate passes Coronavirus Phase III legislation, H.R. 748, the CARES Act, by a vote of 96-0. This legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Provide grants and loans to small businesses to meet payroll and pay rent.
  • Send direct checks to individual Americans of up to $1,200.
  • Allow regulatory relief so banks can grant loan forbearance for otherwise healthy businesses struggling while business has been shut down.
  • Provide Treasury and the Fed the ability to provide several trillion in assistance to distressed industries, including airlines, through guaranteed loans while also including strong accountability protections.
  • Rush resources to hospitals, doctors and other front line providers. 
  • Expand the use of Telehealth medicine to surge capacity to diagnose and treat patients in a safer and faster environment.
  • Temporarily expand unemployment insurance to provide a lifeline for those who have lost their jobs.
  • Provide tax policy incentives, such as fixing key technical corrections from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including QIP and NOL.
  • Provide liability protection for providers who volunteer (Good Samaritan).
  • Allow HSAs to be used to purchase over-the-counter medicines.
  • Extend expiring health extenders to November. 

March 27, 2020 – The House passes the CARES Act, Coronavirus Phase III legislation, by voice vote. 


BOTTOM LINE: While Democrats continue to blame President Trump for the global coronavirus pandemic, the record shows that the United States government has been forceful and responsive to the pandemic. Congress will continue to work with the Trump Administration and our public health experts on next steps.


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