Protecting the health and safety of all Nevada’s communities, from Searchlight to Winnemucca, is my number one priority as your United States Senator. I’ve been working closely with Nevada’s state, local and tribal leaders as well as dedicated public health professionals at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and Southern Nevada, Washoe and Carson City Health Districts to coordinate a robust response to the coronavirus and keep our communities informed and safe. While urban residents may be more at risk for person-to-person spread of the disease, rural communities face their own set of unique health care challenges, which is why I’m working to ensure all Nevadans have the resources and information they need to protect their communities and loved ones.
I was proud to support the $8.3 billion emergency funding package that President Trump recently signed into law. This legislation includes $3 billion for the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine and therapies to treat coronavirus, $2 billion to help federal, state, local and tribal governments prevent the spread of the disease and respond to cases, as well as another $1 billion to help local community health centers and small hospitals procure medical supplies like protective masks and gowns. To protect communities from the potential economic disruptions caused by the outbreak, the legislation provides $1 billion to support small businesses. It also includes a telehealth expansion for public health emergencies, allowing Medicare beneficiaries in remote areas to receive care from physicians and other practitioners in their homes.
I also voted in support of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides critical food security investments for seniors, students, and working families, and relief for workers who may find themselves out of a job, working reduced hours or struggling to make ends meet. I’m especially focused on supporting our small businesses and workers in industries including agriculture, education, tourism, gaming and those working hospitality jobs that rely on these industries that are so vital to Nevada’s economy.
Nevada health departments, hospitals and local governments are also working to prepare Nevada’s rural communities to respond to the coronavirus. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has established guidelines for assessing, testing and reporting coronavirus cases in rural Nevada. The Nevada DHHS recommends that, if possible, rural Nevadans experiencing coronavirus symptoms, including a high fever, cough or shortness of breath, call their primary care physician or community health clinic prior to arriving at any health care facility to discuss symptoms.
General testing should be conducted at an outpatient clinic if coronavirus is suspected, and thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, the vast majority of insurance plans – including employer-sponsored insurance, TRICARE, and both Medicare and Medicaid will cover coronavirus tests at no cost to the patient. Keeping non-life threatening presumptive cases out of the Emergency Room ensures resources are available for the most severe cases.
Nevadans not experiencing any symptoms and at a low risk for contracting the virus should still follow Governor Sisolak and the CDC’s recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition to avoiding large gatherings and unnecessary travel, there are numerous everyday preventative actions that are especially important for those with an increased risk of coronavirus complications, including older Americans and those with underlying medical conditions. Avoiding contact with people who are sick, refraining from touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can all help reduce exposure and keep communities healthy.
I’ll be working tirelessly on behalf of Nevada, along with my colleagues in the congressional delegation to ensure the state has every possible resource, and support necessary to manage public health needs. I’ll also be fighting to ensure that rural health providers like hospitals and community health centers have the necessary resources and support they need so they’re not overwhelmed or forced to shoulder high costs for providing health treatments to impacted Nevadans. Nevadans can continue to stay updated on the best practices to prevent disease and protect themselves, their loved ones and their community by visiting my website at cortezmasto.senate.gov or reviewing the guidance from the State of Nevada at nvhealthresponse.nv.gov. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control’s website CDC.gov/coronavirus is a valuable resource for prevention tips and guidance for Nevadans experiencing school and workplace closures. Together, we can replace panic with preparedness and keep our communities safe.
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