I want to share information, links with details on COVID-19 -- also known as coronavirus -- and what can be done to minimize risk to exposure. If you have questions or concerns about federal preparations and response, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. For more updates on the coronavirus and what's happening in Congress, subscribe to my newsletter.
- Florida Department of Health
- Citrus County Health
- Hernando County Health
- Lake County Health
- Marion County Health
- Sumter County Health
Assistance for Families, Workers and Small Businesses
The Cares Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides help for hardworking Americans, assistance for small businesses, help for harmed industries and protects access to healthcare.
- Help for Small Businesses
- Increased Unemployment Benefits
- Tax Rebates for Individuals, Families, and Seniors
- Paid Sick and Family Leave
Medical professionals have said that if you are in good health, even if you contract COVID-19, it is unlikely you will suffer serious complications. As of March 24, the United States had tested more individuals in the last 8 days than South Korea did in eight weeks. In Florida, as of March 26th, more than 28,000 have been tested with more than 24,500 Florida residents testing negative.
The CDC has provided updated guidance that expands testing to more symptomatic patients and has encouraged clinicians to work with state and local health departments to coordinate testing. Older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. CDC recommends avoiding crowds, cruise travel and non-essential travel, while keeping away from those who are sick, liming close contact and washing hands often.
Access to testing is continuing to grow. Private labs are able to test for COVID-19 with an order from a physician or other authorized healthcare provider. If you are feeling sick and believe you have been exposed to the virus, contact your local healthcare provider or county health department.
On March 10, following a meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence, insurance representatives agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans.
New Tax Filing Deadline
The April 15th tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15th. Additionally, all eligible taxpayers qualify for a deferral of their tax payment until July 15, 2020 with no penalties or interest. Relief applies to estimated quarterly tax payments due April 15. The IRS encourages all taxpayers that expect to receive a refund to file as soon as possible
For latest information on VA's response and services provided relating to this coronavirus outbreak, visit www.va.gov/coronavirus
On March 13. the Trump administration announced that federally held student loans would automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for at least 60 days. Each borrower also has the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to give them financial stability during this national emergency. Borrowers seeking to defer payments need to contact their loan service provider and ask for " loan forbearance."
The Department of Education has directed all loan service providers to grant forbearance to anyone requesting one at this time. For more information on forbearance for students- and borrowers visit this link.
Looking for resources as your K-12 aged child is at home. We’ve compiled free learning resources from organizations and institutions across the state and country, check them out here.
The Trump Administration has announced Medicare patients will now be able to be evaluated, receive preventative health screenings, and other services without leaving home. This increase in flexibility is not diagnosis specific, this allows Medicare beneficiaries to use telehealth for various healthcare concerns. This helps them avoid unnecessarily entering a healthcare facility while still getting their healthcare needs met. This is important to allow individuals to access healthcare while practicing social distancing and other guidance from the CDC to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Click here for FAQs, including a list of providers who can provide this service.
- More information is available in a fact sheet posted at bottom of this page.
Last month, FL Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared a public health emergency, in part to help unlock additional resources. Under Governor DeSantis’ direction, the Florida Department of Emergency Management issued an emergency order to protect our older population. Under this order, nursing homes and assisted living facilities will restrict for two weeks visitors who have symptoms of any respiratory infection, are sick, travel internationally, have been on a cruise chip, visited an area with community spread of the virus or living in an area with community spread.
Florida Department of Health has an online dashboard that reports number of COVID-19 cases in our state.
What You Can Do
Wash your hands! One of the simplest prevention measures one can take is proper hand-washing.
The CDC does not recommend people in good health wear a respirator or surgical mask when going about everyday life. The primary users of these masks at this time are healthcare professionals who come into direct contact with sick patients and by individuals who show symptoms of the virus to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. Health officials are not recommending that healthy people buy masks at this time.
President Trump has expanded the temporary travel ban that initially applied to foreign nationals who had traveled to China and Iran to include the 26 European Union Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Ireland. Americans coming home from one of these countries will be directed to specific airports for screening. Please heed the Department of State and CDC travel advisories before planning or embarking on any international travel. If you recently traveled, please consult the CDC's recommendations.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
This legislation provides paid sick leave, free testing of COVID-19, and assistance for states and those who are food insecure.
- $1 billion this year for emergency administration grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions. $500 million of that is for states that experience a 10% percent increase in unemployment.
- $500 million is allocated for WIC and allows adult care centers to provide meals to go to eligible individuals.
- $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to serve approximately 25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the Senior Nutrition programs in their communities.
- The Department of Agriculture is empowered to approve state plans to provide emergency EBT food assistance to households with children who would otherwise receive free or reduce-priced meals if not for their schools being closed due to the coronavirus emergency. Floridians can text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 to find their closest participating Summer BreakSpot location, and can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator 24 hours a day for additional locations.
Fact Sheets and Letters
Please download and share these fact sheets from the CDC with additional information. Also included below is a letter from the Florida Delegation to President Trump requesting resources be prioritized for Florida given our uniquely largely senior population and high tourism.
- Leave Chart.png (254.7 KBs)
- Rep Webster Children & Elderly COVID19 Info Sheet 2020.pdf (496.8 KBs)
- COVID-19 - Infected Instructions.pdf (120.0 KBs)
- COVID-19 Factsheet.pdf (111.7 KBs)
- Medicare Telemedicine Factsheet 3.17.2020.pdf (428.7 KBs)
- Florida Division of Emergency Management Issues Emergency Order to Protect Residents in Nursing Homes Assisted Living Facilities and Other Long-Term Care Facilities.pdf (186.8 KBs)
- FL Delegation Coronavirus Letter 04 March 2020.pdf (4.9 MBs)