President Donald Trump addressed the country Friday, March 13, declaring a national emergency and offering some new rules and guidelines to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. By making such a declaration, the president said the action opens up $50 billion via the Stafford Act to fight the illness. The Act also allows states to cost share up to 75% on medical expenses with the government.
First on the list of topics was the screening and voluntary 14-day self-isolation of traveling Americans returning to the country. Trump urges every state to set up emergency offices immediately and every hospital to activate its emergency preparedness plan – and to limit the stay of patients not infected to 96 hours.
The commander in chief spoke about Telehealth, a program that allows for remote doctor visits and hospital check-ins. It will also make it possible for doctors from different states to be able to assist nationwide, something that wouldn’t be possible otherwise without a license from each state.
The White House has formed a new partnership with the private sector for testing for COVID-19. The president said the FDA has approved the new tests and that about 1.4 million will be available next week as well as another five million or so within a month.
Also, Google is developing a website that should be live soon. Its purpose is to allow visitors to check their symptoms to see if they need to be tested for the virus. If so, it will direct them to the nearest drive-through testing site.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1,629 cases of the virus in the U.S. at the time of writing this article. There have been 41 total deaths. New York and Washington states have the highest infected numbers (421 and 400, respectively). Across the nation public events are either being canceled or rescheduled.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.