As America responds to confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), I wanted to share the most comprehensive, up-to-date safety information for our community.
Symptoms and Prevention
It is important to note that the risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19 remains low for most New Jerseyans. However, it is possible to exhibit no symptoms of the virus and still pass the virus onto others, particularly to populations such as older adults and individuals with underlying health problems.
Please contact your primary care provider if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- And you have had close contact with a person known to have COVID-19
Additionally, if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, contact your health care provider.
If you believe you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, do not go to the emergency room or your doctor without contacting them first. This could expose more people to COVID-19 unnecessarily.
How you can prevent the spread:
Healthy habits can go a long way in preventing novel coronavirus transmission:
- Wash your hands: Regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of transmission. If soap and water is not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
- Avoid close contact: Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick, limit the use of handshakes, and practice social distancing.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes: Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes with either the inside of your elbow or a tissue that is immediately thrown away.
- Disinfect: Be sure to clean and sanitize surfaces frequently touched surfaces.
- Self-Isolation: If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you are sick and live with other people, try to restrict yourself to a separate bedroom and bathroom as much as possible and limit contact with pets.
- Facemasks: If you are not sick, please refrain from wearing a face mask to ensure that the supply is available for health care workers and individuals who need them.
Federal, State, and Local Resources
**UPDATE** The State Department has raised the global travel advisory to a level 4. All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all international travel and if possible, U.S. citizens who are abroad and live in the U.S. are advised to arrange for immediate return. Country-specific information can be found here.
The State Department has also set up hotlines for Americans abroad that have been impacted by the outbreak. If you are in the U.S. or Canada call 1-888-407-4747, if you are overseas call 1-202-501-4444.
- CDC Central Resource Guide
- Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities
- Information for Travelers
- FAQs About COVID-19
The CDC has a 24-hour hotline for COVID-19 related questions at 1-800-232-4636.
New Jersey has partnered with 211 to provide information to the public:
County and Municipality Resources
- In Bergen County you can call the BCDHS Health and Safety Hotline at 201-225-7000 (201-785-8505 after hours and weekends) or visit their COVID-19 information page here.
- Essex County's COVID-19 update page can be found here.
- Hudson County has set up a COVID-19 information page with updates here.
- Union County has an information page with FAQs, updates on county operations, information for local health departments, and more here.
- Hoboken has set up a hotline for general inquiries related to COVID-19 at 201-420-5620 and for senior specific inquiries at 201-420-5625.
Please feel free to reach out to my office in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-7919 if you have further questions or need assistance.
More on Coronavirus
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires, Co-Chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, released the following statement thanking President Tsai Ing-wen for pledging to send two million surgical masks to the United States, including 100,000 for New Jersey:
Recently a number of towns in the 8th District received grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), funds locally developed projects with the goal of creating more affordable housing and enhancing our community’s resources. The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), supports homeless individuals and families, provides rapid re-housing, and ensures they do not become homeless again. ESG funds also go towards providing essential services in homeless shelters.
At the end of last week, Congress passed the CARES Act, to provide desperately needed relief to American families, individuals, industries, health care systems, and businesses. However, as the country faces an escalation of COVID-19 cases around the country, I continue to advocate for assistance that will address the needs of my constituents and the country. Expanded access to health care services, coverage, and ensuring adequate resources for our health care providers is a top priority for me and many of my colleagues.
The CARES Act provides historic economic relief as our nation fights the COVID-19 outbreak. Through new loan programs, like Paycheck Protection Plan, and protections for existing loans, like the Small Debt Relief Program, resources are available for small businesses to navigate this public health emergency.
The following is a resource for small business owners to find the best strategy to meet their needs.
The CARES Act, which the House passed on Friday and the President signed into law over the weekend, expands and extends unemployment compensation programs as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19. Through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide a supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This payment will be in addition to and at the same time, although not necessarily in the same check, as regular state or federal unemployment benefits.
On Friday afternoon, I was at the Capitol to ensure the House of Representatives was able to pass desperately needed stimulus legislation. Our country is battling through an historic crisis and the federal government must continue to respond quickly to our community’s needs.
I have received your letters and emails detailing exactly where help is needed. I wanted to share with you some of the specifics of the bipartisan package, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the bipartisan package that was signed into law this weekend.
The recently passed CARES Act includes provisions to provide direct financial assistance to millions of Americans across the country. These payments, or rebates, will come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and for those who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, processing will be based on the payment and address information already on file. The payment for each adult is $1,200, or $2,400 for joint filers, and $500 for each qualifying under the age of 17.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires went to the House Floor in Washington, D.C. to help overcome a procedural roadblock and pass the CARES Act, which will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.