Negotiations are continuing in the Senate on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and as of this moment, Leader McConnell hopes to have a deal today in order to set up a possible vote tomorrow.  The Leader outlined his goals for the legislation in a statement last night, which you can review here.

House Republican leadership solicited ideas from members of Congress during the early stages of negotiations on the Senate bill.  Many of the ideas which are being included in that package came directly from our constituents.  We anticipate that the White House and Senate Republicans will wrap up negotiations with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer sometime late today, which would enable the chamber to have a final vote on the package sometime tomorrow.  Then it will be brought to the House for a vote.  All that said, there are some reports that Speaker Pelosi may prefer the House to write and vote on its own package.  If that happens, it will only delay a vote on a final package. Regardless, I'm confident that Congress will pass and the President will sign a bill that helps American workers, gives badly-needed assistance to our small businesses, and puts more resources into the hands of the hospitals and professionals on the front lines of the crisis. 

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration continues to work with the private sector to address the crisis.  Companies like General Motors have announced that they will now begin producing needed respiratory care products, and Hanesbrands has announced that it will begin modifying its facilities to produce medical masks.  These are just a few examples of the countless ways American private sector ingenuity and industrial capacity are being utilized to confront the outbreak.

The FDA has also approved the use of a new, much faster diagnostic test for COVID-19.  This test can deliver results in a matter of hours, instead of days — making tests much more accessible to Americans.  It will help to more quickly identify patients that need to be quarantined so that they are not unnecessarily exposing the virus to others and can be treated appropriately. 

The CDC has also posted some useful tips for parents with children who are home from school, as well.  You can help your kids protect themselves from the virus by teaching them to take the same steps that everyone else should be taking to keep themselves safe, like handwashing with soap regularly.  In addition, you should also:

  • Clean your own hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.  If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.  Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

Governor Cooper on Saturday issued an order that will improve access to childcare for first responders, emergency personnel, food preparers and others.  The order also takes steps to ensure proper social distancing at DMV facilities and postpones certain hearings that can reasonably be delayed in the crisis.  Learn more about the Governor's order here.

As we begin the week, it's worth remembering the simple steps we all can take to control the spread of the virus.  I've included the President's guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus below.

As always, stay tuned to and the NC Department of Health and Human Services' website for the latest on the crisis.