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Source: United States House of Representatives – CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES (4th District of Connecticut)

This page will be frequently updated as we learn more about the virus.

The government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is constantly evolving, so please stay up-to-date on information from verified sources. Learn more online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the State of Connecticut. By phone, you may contact 1-800-CDC-INFO, call 2-1-1, or text “CTCOVID” to 898211 for more information. To receive updates about the virus and how the government is responding to it, you may subscribe to the CDC’s Subscription Service or sign up for my newsletter.

I’ve heard from many of you who are concerned about the coronavirus, and I want to answer some of your frequently asked questions. 

What is Congress doing?

On March 5, Congress passed a bipartisan bill that appropriated $8.3 billion in funding to improve the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act includes: 

  • $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus;

  • $2.2 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies for prevention, preparedness, and response;

  • Nearly $1 billion to purchase pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, in support of healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;

  • $61 million for the Food and Drug Administration to respond to coronavirus, including developing medical products;

  • $1.25 billion to prevent and respond to the outbreak abroad;

  • $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture producers that have suffered financial losses stemming from the outbreak. The Small Business Administration could provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities using this funding. Please visit the Small Business Administration’s website for further information about Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus; and

  • Measures to ensure that the government can purchase vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics at a fair and reasonable price.

You can review a section-by-section summary of the bill here.

What precautions should I take to avoid COVID-19?

According to the CDC, you should:

  • Practice social distancing by avoiding close contact with others.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Only use a facemask if you are showing symptoms.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

  • Avoid, cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more.

For more information on the precautions you take, please visit the CDC’s website here. The CDC also offers answers to FAQs for Individuals and Families here.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus may include:

In comparison, common flu symptoms may include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

I feel sick. What should I do? Where can I get tested?

Please read the CDC’s detailed recommendations here. If you are suffering from symptoms associated with the coronavirus or believe you’ve been exposed to someone carrying the disease, the CDCs recommends that you:

  • Stay home except to get medical care 

  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor 

  • Wear a facemask

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes 

  • Avoid sharing personal household items 

  • Clean your hands often

  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

  • Monitor your symptoms

For further instructions, contact a medical profession or a community health center. These resources can share information on how and when you can leave self-isolation safely. To prevent the potential spread of the virus, you should not show up to a treatment facility unannounced.

Veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call their VA medical facility or MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3) before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

What should I do to care for someone who has or is afraid that they may have coronavirus?

Please view the CDC’s recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers.

What assistance is available for businesses and nonprofits?

The Small Business Administration launched a page dedicated to providing Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus. 

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Lamont requested that Connecticut receive such assistance, which the SBA approved for Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties.

  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • The information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on the SBA’s website:

  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Loans are available at extremely low-interest rates. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

  • For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

What consumer protections are in place in Connecticut?

  • Attorney General William Tong announced that the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority has granted an emergency moratorium on electric, natural gas, and water utility shut-offs.

  • The Connecticut Department of Labor has answers to FAQs about COV-19’s impact on workers and employers.

  • A Connecticut court issued a stay against all evictions and ejectments until at least March 27, 2020.

  • Report your concerns about price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General by calling 860-808-5318 or online here. During an emergency disaster, sellers cannot charge prices that would be unjustifiable during normal business operations.

  • The Connecticut Insurance Department instructed insurers to accommodate travel cancellation requests under certain terms and conditions. 

  • The Federal Communications Commission launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to ensure internet service providers support Americans impacted by the coronavirus.

  • Click here for more information about Emergency Orders issued by Governor Lamont and State Agencies.

    • The state will temporarily prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more and direct gyms, movie theaters, and casinos to close. Restaurants and bars will also be limited to take-out/delivery service only.

What assistance is available for taxpayers?

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the IRS will grant taxpayers a 90-day delay in making payments. Find more information from the IRS.

  • The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is granting an extension of filing deadlines for certain annual tax returns for businesses.

My child relies on Food and Nutrition Service programs to eat. What assistance is available?

On March 6, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released guidance for how schools, child care institutions, and community organizations can continue to deliver reimbursable meals to food-insecure children during coronavirus-related school closures. 

States that receive waivers from the USDA can work with partner organizations to provide meals at safe, designated non-school sites or in congregate settings to limit disruption for children in need of food assistance. The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) received these waivers from the agency. More information is available here.

Families with school-aged children concerned about food security view the following town-by-town information to learn more: 

For more information about the USDA’s response to the coronavirus, please click here.

Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about if you qualify from the Connecticut Department of Labor. View the Department’s guidance for workers and employers here

I’m a healthcare professional and am concerned about the availability of equipment. Where can I go?

Please contact the Connecticut Department of Health.

How will the coronavirus impact travel?

What information is available about the travel ban?

  • Foreign citizens who have traveled to any of the following countries within the last 14 days will not be allowed into the United States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

  • Americans who have traveled to these countries within the last 14 days will be granted entry, however.

  • Americans who have traveled to impacted countries will be required to enter the country through one of 13 predetermined airports that have the capacity for enhanced screening and testing procedures.

  • Green card holders will be allowed back into the United States. DHS policy states that legal permanent residents are exempt from the travel restrictions and will be granted entry back into the United States. Green card holders, like all American citizens returning from these countries, may be redirected to one of the 13 airports with enhanced screening procedures.

  • If an American citizen returns to the country and shows symptoms of COVID-19 after testing at an airport, he or she will receive treatment and be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • Generally, immediate family members of legal permanent residents will be granted entry into the country and will be subject to the same screening and testing procedures.

How will the pandemic affect my travel to Washington D.C.?

The U.S. Capitol, White House, and several other federal buildings are temporarily suspending public tours. Re-schedule a tour or submit a new request online here.

Further Reading

Other Questions?

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions. We’re in this together.