The House today passed an $8.3 billion funding package for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness and response. The bill (H.R. 6074) includes:

  • $950 million to help states, localities, territories and tribes conduct activities such as virus surveillance, lab testing and infection control;
  • More than $3 billion for research and development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; and 
  • Provisions that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to waive certain Medicare telehealth restrictions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today updated guidance for persons under investigation that allows clinicians to “use their judgement to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”  

At a House Appropriations Committee hearing today, Anthony Fauci, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, said the U.S. should be actively testing citizens for the virus. The Food and Drug Administration and CDC are working to make tests available and to allow other companies to manufacture tests. He also said the CDC has implemented broad testing in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

The CDC said U.S. health systems have found at least 80 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 12 states, with Washington state and California containing the most. With the 49 repatriated citizens who tested positive for COVID-19, the total U.S. cases sit at around 130. At least 11 people who tested positive have died.

“While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases.” CDC said yesterday in a media release.

CDC’s Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity will host a call Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on what clinicians need to know to prepare for COVID-19. For the latest information and resources, visit AHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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