5/1 Weekly Update: Coronavirus Updates and Information
COVID-19 Updates and Information
For the most up-to-date information and resources for COVID-19, please visit my website here.
Announcing NY-21 COVID-19 Working Groups: Protecting North Country Public Health and the Path Forward for Gradual Reopening of the North Country Economy
Since I have been appointed to serve on the President’s Task Force to Re-Open America and a Bipartisan NE Congressional Delegation Task Force focused on the COVID-19 crisis, I am launching NY-21 Working Group Listening Sessions to gather input and recommendations from community leaders across the district. I’m honored to serve on President Trump’s Bipartisan Task Force on Reopening the Economy, as well as the Bipartisan Northeast Congressional COVID-19 Regional Recovery Task Force. Since my office announced my position on these Task Forces, we have been inundated with suggestions and policy proposals to address all aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. Gathering input directly from my constituents and local public health officials and community leaders is the most effective way to create solutions on the federal level to protect public health and gradually get the North Country back to work safely. Our North Country public health officials, hospitals, county and local elected officials, small businesses, farmers, and school officials will have a seat at the table in these critical policy solutions as we work our way through this challenging time. The purpose of these working groups is to gather input and recommendations directly from NY-21 public health officials, hospitals, county and local elected officials, small businesses, farmers, and school officials on the path forward to protect public health and tackle the significant economic challenges in the North Country. Additionally, these calls will provide strong information sharing venues for creative solutions as our region continues to tackle this crisis.
Protect Yourself from Scams
Congress recently passed the CARES Act for COVID-19 relief to help individuals and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have raised concerns about scammers and fraudsters that impersonate federal employees and ask you to verify personal account information in order to receive a payment. Here are some helpful security facts:
To protect your personal information:
Be diligent and ask yourself: Why would your financial institution or the government need to contact you for personal information to make or receive a payment—they already have it! Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of my offices if you have questions or concerns.
Announcing Over $33 Million in HHS Funding for North Country Hospitals
This week, I announced over $33 million in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services has been released to NY-21 hospitals. The amounts below are the estimated district impacts from the latest $50B general pool disbursements to hospitals pursuant to the CARES Act. This includes the original $30B disbursement made on April 10, 2020, plus a new $20B disbursement made on Friday, April 24, 2020. Our hospitals and healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, and they need funding now. I worked to include millions in funding for our North Country hospitals in the CARES Act to support their critical efforts to serve our communities during this incredibly difficult time. I will continue to work on the federal level to deliver funding and results for our hospitals, healthcare workers, and county health departments as we combat COVID-19.
Joining State and Local Electeds Seeking State Guidance for Summer Camps
This week, I sent a letter along with state and local elected officials, requesting guidance for counties and municipalities on operations of summer camps. The letter outlines the importance of summer camps to creating jobs and stimulating local economies, and how guidance should be issued to local and county elected officials in order to help them establish their own plans. Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo failed to respond to my letter with state and local elected officials requesting public health guidance for summer camps amid COVID-19 during his press conference on Thursday. For someone who lectures every day about not being political, Governor Cuomo needs to take his own advice and instead of politically attacking me during his press conference, he should issue public health guidance for summer camps. This letter was signed not just by me, but by state, county and local elected officials who are working closely with our county public health offices and North Country hospitals to address the path forward for summer camps. Governor Cuomo dismissed our regional concerns about summer camp public health guidance and instead responded by attacking me and falsely claiming that the federal government had yet to provide the State with any money. The CARES Act provided $7.5B of funding for New York State. The NY Congressional Delegation has been united across party lines working to deliver additional funds to state and local governments. The North Country is home to many summer camps that attract families from afar and serve as economic drivers for our communities. I am working with our local elected officials to seek guidance from New York State and establish a plan for summer camps to ensure the protection of public health. We will continue to work to provide clarity to our North Country communities and county public health officials throughout this crisis. Watch more here and above.
County Public Health Resources
Statement on Saratoga Race Track 2020 Season
I am concerned about comments from the Governor that Saratoga Race Track could be fully cancelled due to COVID-19. I share these concerns with my bipartisan State elected colleagues who also represent portions of Saratoga County and I believe any potential decision to cancel is premature since the races do not begin for another eleven weeks. Local Saratoga-based community organizations as well as NYRA are proposing ideas to ensure that we have a safe 2020 summer at the track given public health concerns related to COVID-19. The Track and the equine industry are significant economic drivers for the Saratoga County and Upstate economy and I believe we should be exploring options for the Race Course to reopen for the Meet with updated operations based on public health recommendations. I believe that the State should partner with local leaders and organizations, including the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, the Saratoga County Public Health Department, Saratoga Prosperity Partnership, and the New York Racing Association, to proactively plan the best path forward that protects public health but also ensures there is a way for the Meet to move forward in a modified capacity to protect the public’s health. Read more here.
Requesting Expanded Telehealth Services Through TRICARE for Servicemembers Experiencing Mental Health Issues
This week, I sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs requesting expanded telehealth services through TRICARE for veterans and servicemembers experiencing mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, during the COVID-19 crisis. Currently, TRICARE only permits military members and their families who are battling serious mental health illnesses access to intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. The letter specifically asks that veterans and servicemembers who are experiencing less severe mental health issues have access to telehealth appointments and services covered by TRICARE. Our military servicemembers and veterans can be especially vulnerable to mental health struggles due to the nature of their courageous service to our country. The COVID-19 crisis has caused an increase in stress and poor mental health for many people across the country, and members of our military are certainly not excluded from this uptick. This letter urges the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to expand availability of telehealth services for veterans and servicemembers experiencing mental health struggles in light of COVID-19. I will always advocate for increased health care access for our military and veterans – who sacrifice daily for our nation. Read more here.
Urging Leadership to Include Support for Charitable Non-Profits in Next Relief Package
This week, I sent a bipartisan letter with my colleagues to House Leadership urging them to include support for charitable non-profits in the next COVID-19 relief package. Charitable non-profits serve their communities daily and will need funding relief in order to be able to continue their services. Many communities in the North Country are depending on charitable non-profits for services during the COVID-19 crisis, Our food banks, churches, shelters, domestic violence shelters, and more are ready and willing to serve our hardworking families, but they need federal relief to be able to continue to do so. I sent this letter with a group of my bipartisan colleagues to urge Leadership to include our charitable non-profits in the next relief package. I am so grateful to all of the organizations in my district that continue to go above and beyond to serve our communities while so many are suffering. The letter specifically requests expanding access to relief for non-profits organizations by providing flexibility on PPP loans, guidance for lenders to prioritize non-profits, and the development of a distinct reserve dedicated to non-profit loans, raising the reimbursement rate for unemployment costs for self-funded non-profits to 100%, and strengthening charitable giving incentives by allowing donations through July 16 to be claimed above the line on 2019 tax returns. Read more here.
Announcing HUD Funding for North Country Communities
This week, I announced that several North Country communities will be receiving $267,232 in federal HUD assistance. The CARES Act provided $1.25 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, which funds the Housing Choice Voucher program, including $400 million for increased subsidy costs and $850 million for administrative and other expenses incurred by public housing authorities (PHAs), including activities to support or maintain the health and safety of assisted individuals and families, and costs related to retention and support of participating owners. Funding will be awarded as below:
I am pleased to announce that the recently passed CARES Act is providing important funding to our North Country communities during this challenging time. These funds will be used to support the Section 8 housing program, assisting public housing agencies who work hard to provide for many low-income residents. I will continue to advocate for our North Country communities to receive federal support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Announcing $49,473 in American Battlefield Protection Funding for Fort Ann
This week, I announced that the Fort Ann Battlefield will receive $49,473 to fund the acquisition of 40.84 acres of the core and study area of the Battle of Ft. Ann in Washington County. The battle, fought on July 8, 1777, was an engagement between Continental Army forces in retreat from Fort Ticonderoga and the British Army early in the Saratoga campaign of the Revolutionary War. The Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant program, administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program, provides up to 50% in matching funds for state and local governments to acquire and preserve threatened Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War Battlefield land through the purchase of land in fee simple and permanent, protective interests in land. The North Country is proud to be home to many rich historical areas, including our battlefields,. Every year, I am proud to advocate for Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant Funding at the federal level, as it has significant impact my district. This funding will allow for the protection and preservation of the Fort Ann Battlefield, and I look forward to seeing the results of this program continue to conserve the beautiful historic areas in my district. Read more here.
In Case You Missed It - Local Media Round-up
Watertown Daily Times: Stefanik, members of Congress discuss COVID-19 in virtual Town Hall
Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik on new task force to reopen Northeast region
myChamplainValley.com: Upstate New York Congressional leaders participate in COVID-19 virtual town hall
Press Republican: Stefanik to host groups to inform reopening
On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the incredible leadership, courage, and resilience of so many at this difficult, unprecedented time as we work together to combat and beat COVID-19.
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