by ANDREW NEAL
U.S. Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11) spoke with the Gazette Friday to provide an update on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re in an unprecedented moment,” Rep. Stevens said. “We are working to expand testing and availability of medical care to everyone in the state. The governor is doing a fabulous job clearly communicating the executive orders of the state at this time to secure the health and safety of all Michiganders.”
Last week, Rep. Stevens voted in favor of providing cash assistance of $1,000 to Americans to help stem the financial strain brought on by the crisis.
The congresswoman also echoed advice on how every person can help prevent the spread of the virus.
“We are encouraging everybody to social distance to stop the spread: stay six feet apart, not be in large gatherings, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands, and check in on your loved ones.”
Michigan has barred guests from visiting senior living centers in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus to those that are most vulnerable to suffering from severe health issues.
“Certainly, what’s in place with our nursing homes and senior living centers is a dramatic change for many families,” Stevens said. “And so we’re finding new ways to connect with loved ones. Make sure that they have everything they need in those living places.”
One executive order the governor did implement last week was the closing of all bars and restaurants with the exception of take-out orders. The governor has issued 14 executive orders relating to COVID-19 including banning gatherings of more than 50 people, expanding unemployment insurance and child care, and extending the deadline for delinquent property taxes.
The order to close public gathering places has left many Michiganders out of work. When asked what the government is doing to help people and businesses stem the financial strain caused by this crisis, Rep. Stevens pointed to unemployment insurance, SBA loans, and cash assistance.
“My message to everybody and every business is: we’re not going to let you fail. We’re not going to let you fail as individuals, medically or financially. And we’re not going to let the economic fabric of our society and our state unravel as a result of this pandemic.”
“I’m taking bipartisan steps to ensure that no individual is left behind financially at this time,” Rep. Stevens said.
As we enter ominous weeks ahead, our healthcare system will be put to the test. Hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies, healthy workers, and other essentials will be in short supply. Stevens shares the concern of most Americans on whether our healthcare infrastructure will be able to handle the burden of this pandemic.
“I am concerned about the needs being met. And I am working cohesively with my colleagues in the Congress, particularly in the Michigan delegation, to ensure that needs are met and that testing is expanded,” Stevens said.
“I believe that we are going to use the full weight of our government to ensure that needs are met.”
“And I’m also working with the executive branch and requesting assistance from them as well.”
Congresswoman Stevens also wants people in the 11th District – which includes Troy, Rochester Hills, Birmingham, and Bloomfield Hills – to know that she wants to hear from you.
“We are encouraging everybody to share experiences and their needs.”
“And so I have been putting out regular calls for people to do fill out a form on my website and social media to share what they are going through medically or financially or what’s on their mind.”
“We will get through this.”
“Focus on the positive. Take a minute, every single day to engage in something that makes you happy, makes you laugh. Connect with people, as much as you can over technology and through practicing social distancing. Have faith. Have hope. Your congresswoman is working for you. She will not let you fail and we are going to do everything we can to see our community through this crisis and on the other side, stronger, resolved, and better for it.”