WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), John P. Sarbanes (MD-03), Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), and David Trone (MD-06) heard from Maryland Secretary of Health Robert Neall and Deputy Secretary, Public Health Services Frances B. Phillips, R.N., Tuesday for an update on Maryland’s readiness and response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The discussion, which took place via conference call instead of the planned in-person meeting due to related meetings in Annapolis, also covered how the federal government can best assist Maryland and other states during this public health emergency.
“The health and security of my constituents remains my number one priority, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear from Maryland Secretary of Health Robert Neall this morning about our state’s response to the coronavirus,” Congressman Hoyer said. “The Congress has provided $8.3 billion to assist local communities, states, and federal government agencies in responding to this public health emergency, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to take whatever additional steps are necessary to meet this challenge to our state and our nation.”
“Our number one priority is the public health. Team Maryland is working together seamlessly to protect the health of everyone in our state. To that end, we are incredibly proud of the Maryland institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins University and other partners who are doing incredible public service working toward a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19,” said Senator Cardin. “Our second concern is that many working families and small businesses do not have the capacity to weather such a severe crisis. While we work to ensure the public health issues are addressed fully, we also will be asking for more help for those caught up in protective measures to keep our communities safe.”
“Today’s update from Secretary Neall on Maryland’s coronavirus response provided us with new information to help support the State’s efforts,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We are working to expedite the State’s request to the CDC for additional testing kits so we can maximize our ability to test Marylanders as quickly as possible. We will continue to check in daily on the state’s needs and how the delegation can help.”
“It is absolutely critical that we communicate regularly and work together on the federal, state and local levels as we prepare for what could be a widespread outbreak of the Coronavirus virus,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “Team Maryland is united in agreement that this effort must be apolitical. We stand ready to do whatever we can to help our medical professionals do their jobs.”
“Maryland has taken some important, initial steps to protect public health and manage this public health emergency,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Working closely with our partners at the state and local level, the Maryland Congressional Delegation will continue to provide the information and resources necessary to keep Marylanders safe.”
“I thank Maryland Health Secretary Dr. Neall and Deputy Secretary Phillips for updating the congressional delegation on our state’s readiness and response to COVID-19,” said Congressman Raskin. “I look forward to hearing from Dr. Fauci of the NIH, Dr. Redfield of the CDC, and other top agency officials testifying at tomorrow’s House Oversight Committee hearing about our nation’s readiness and the Administration’s response to this public health crisis. We continue to work for the most unified and effective government response possible.”
“My priority is to keep working together with my colleagues at the federal, state and local levels to ensure our communities have the resources they need to respond to and contain this virus and that we’re minimizing the economic burden on working families. We must be united to do everything we can to tackle this public health and economic crisis,” Congressman Brown said.
“It’s important that we coordinate at the federal, state, and local level to make sure people get tested and our hospitals and health care professionals have the capacity they need to handle the coronavirus outbreak,” said Congressman Trone. “Tomorrow I’ll be speaking with hospitals and county public officials in my district to ensure we in Congress provide the best resources to our communities so they are prepared to handle the situation.”
“The Maryland Department of Health is closely monitoring all COVID-19 developments and is working side-by-side with our federal, state and local partners to mobilize response capacity,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Our network of established health, communications and emergency response professionals are working around the clock to help keep Marylanders safe and healthy.”