Here is today’s COVID-19 update:

  • Some important, encouraging news: the Food and Drug Administration announced it has issued an emergency use authorization for a new COVID-19 saliva test that doesn’t require invasive nasal swabs and returns results much faster – in as little as three hours in many cases.  Use of this new test could dramatically expand testing capacity nationwide and provide an extra measure of confidence that more businesses can reopen safely.

  • Here’s an update from the White House on ways the Trump Administration is supporting the people of North Carolina through the crisis:
    • So far, more than 1.3 million N-95 masks, 1.6 million surgical and procedural masks, 110,000 eye and face shields, 590,000 surgical gowns and 1 million pairs of medical gloves have been shipped to the state through private sector, federal and state collaboration.
    • The federal government has directly supported 11 community-based testing sites in North Carolina, and is providing more than 600,000 testing swabs to help meet the state’s testing needs in August alone.
    • 51 North Carolina Medicaid-certified and Medicare-certified nursing homes are receiving federal support for point-of-care testing, which is so important to helping keep seniors safe and keep the virus out of nursing homes and memory care facilities that treat Alzheimer’s patients and similar conditions.  
    • The Administration has coordinated delivery of almost a thousand cases of Remdesivir, with 40 vials of the drug per case, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide.
    • North Carolina hospitals and other care providers have received more than $3 billion in federal aid to help support healthcare expenses.
    • More than 120,000 small businesses in North Carolina have received greater than $12.2 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration via the Paycheck Protection Program.
    • More than 5 million CARES Act stimulus payments were made to North Carolina taxpayers, totaling $8.5 billion directly into the pockets of middle class families.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would partner with McKesson, Inc. as a key part of the distribution network for future COVID-19 vaccines and related treatment.  It’s the latest sign of progress as part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which seeks to have the building blocks in place to rapidly manufacture and distribute a COVID vaccine the moment it receives approval from the FDA.

  • New Hanover County’s Resilience Working Group has created a Working From Home Resource document to help families that are juggling virtual education and careers as school begins to start back up for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • An update from the National Personnel Records Center, where military veterans’ service records are stored by the National Archives:
    • "The NPRC is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies and burials.  As of August 10th, we have widened our scope to include VA Home Loan and Employment cases.  If your request is not urgent, please consider delaying it until we are past this national emergency."

  • Pender Long-Term Recovery is hosting drive-up Hurricane Preparedness Events on Saturday at two locations: Topsail Baptist Church in Hampstead, 18885 US Highway 17 North, from 9 – 11 a.m., and in Burgaw at the Gateway Community Church, 416 W Bridgers St., from 12 – 2 p.m.  Attendees from Pender County can receive information about hurricane preparedness and useful items for your “go kit” in the event of an emergency.
  • Here’s an update from the IRS for constituents that have still not received their CARES Act stimulus payments: while the IRS does not normally call taxpayers, if you have been working with my constituent service caseworkers on getting your stimulus payment, you may receive a call from the agency.  
    • When the IRS calls, they should be stating that "this is in regards to an inquiry you submitted with Congressman Rouzer’s office."  
    • You’ll then be asked to verify your identity.  In order to verify you are indeed talking to a legitimate IRS representative, you can ask something from your privacy release you signed with our office – “what date did I sign the privacy release?" would be one question to ask.  
    • Again, note this is only for constituents who have been working directly with my office (or with the offices of either Sen. Tillis or Sen. Burr) to resolve the issues preventing them from receiving their payment.

For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting Paul Phillips of Leland, who received more than 100 cards from friends, family and fellow veterans as he marked his 93rd birthday.  Paul served on the USS North Carolina and fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  Thank you for your service and happy birthday, Paul!

As always, stay tuned to Coronavirus.gov and the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest on the outbreak.