Information regarding the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

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WHAT IS HAPPENING?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus commonly referred to as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). It has resulted in more than 585,000 confirmed cases and over 26,800 deaths worldwide. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of international locations and the United States. On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this a pandemic, which refers to the speed at which the virus has spread.

COVID-19 has spread into U.S communities and there are over 93,500 confirmed cases, over 1,200 deaths. CDC continues to work with health systems, clinics, and public health officials, including the Maryland Department of Health and local health departments, to reinforce infection control principles and provide technical assistance.

The White House COVID-19 Task Force announced new recommendations for the public:

  • Work or engage in schooling FROM HOME whenever possible.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 people or more, even those in your own home.
  • Avoid eating or drink at bars, restaurants, and food courts- use drive thru, pickup, or other delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel- like shopping trips or social visits.
  • DO NOT visit nursing homes, retirement communities, or long-term care facilities.

CDC has also released specific recommendations for those at higher risk such as older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

Senator Cardin’s office continues to gather information from federal and state/local resources to share with constituents.


IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

There are now confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland. Cases are travel-related and from community spread. If you believe you or a family member may be experiencing symptoms, please contact your health provider by telephone first, before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, or hospital. This enables providers to prepare for your arrival and not endanger others in the waiting room. At this time, the Maryland Department of Health and commercials labs are providing testing for COVID-19. Again, contact your health provider before seeking testing.

The Maryland Insurance Administration has asked health insurance carriers to engage with beneficiaries on education and outreach regarding insurance coverage of medically necessary health services for COVID-19 prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Many insurance carriers have posted information about coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment as well as hotlines for beneficiaries to call. COVID-19 MD Insurance FAQ

The Maryland Health Connection announced an emergency special enrollment period for uninsured Marylanders from Monday, March 16th through Wednesday, April 15th. Please click here for more information. 

Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP have also released information on test coverage.


TRAVEL

The CDC currently recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Europe, including United Kingdom and Ireland, China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. For European travel guidance, please see the CDC’s list of countries included. CDC’s also recommend those at higher risk such as older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes refrain from all unnecessary travel.

Travelers returning from these countries with widespread transmission are asked to follow CDC guidance and stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left the area.

As of Friday, March 13, President Trump has instituted a travel ban between the United States and European Union countries for 30 days beginning Friday, March 13. On Saturday, March 14, President Trump extended the travel ban to the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning at midnight on March 16. If you, a family member or an employee are impacted by the travel ban, please check the State Department website for the latest requirements and contact your air carrier for options to cancel and/or reschedule your flights. Each carrier is different, so please check based on your own plans.


TELEWORK/SCHOOLS

The CDC has created guidance for both the public and private sectors to adopt telework and flexible sick leave policies, as well as how to respond if an employee is sick.

The CDC has developed guidance for childcare programs, K-12 schools, colleges/universities and businesses and employers to help them plan and prepare for a coronavirus outbreak in the community. Please visit the CDC Outbreak page stay up to date on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. 

Maryland Public Schools are providing three meals a day and a snack to students impacted by the statewide closure of schools. To find a meal distribution site near you please visit this link and type in your address.


YOU CAN HELP

Use common sense measures to keep you and those around you safe. The following are recommended:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do it regularly. If you don’t have access to water and soap, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Practice safe social distances by avoiding close contact and crowds, including handshakes and selfies.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow to minimize the spread of germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes nose or mouth.
  • If you don’t feel well, stay home for your protection and others.

MARYLANDERS

This is a rapidly changing situation and to keep up to date constituents should visit the Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus page. The website has a map with the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as well as information and guidance for clinicians, patients, and students. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Maryland Department of Health at (410) 767-6700 or the Maryland hotline at 2-1-1.

For those who would like to volunteer or donate blood or supplies please visit Maryland Unites to find out how you can help.


VISITING THE U.S. SENATE

In consultation with the Office of Attending Physician and following the guidance of DC Health, the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms have ordered limited access throughout the Capitol complex until 8:00AM on Thursday, April 1, 2020.

During this period, Senator Cardin’s Washington Office will not be accepting outside visitors. If you have a previously scheduled meeting with a member of Senator Cardin’s staff, please contact them by email or phone to discuss your issue or policy concern or to reschedule for a later date.