By Piper Blake
Assistant Web Content Manager
March 14, 2020-7:55 p.m. Information has been updated since President Donald Trump’s address.
SAN MARCOS, Texas— Today, President Donald Trump held a press conference, on the actions being taken by his administration to lessen the effects of COVID-19, in which he declared the outbreak a national emergency.
Trump said, “To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort, today I am officially declaring a national emergency.”
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Pursuant to section 201 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1621), I hereby report that I have exercised my authority to declare that the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States constitutes a national emergency. This declaration invokes section 1135 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1320b–5, to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to exercise the authority under that section to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
I am enclosing a copy of the proclamation I have issued.DONALD J. TRUMP
This action will give the government access to up to $50 billion to aid states, territories and localities in fighting against the virus. Trump is also urging every state to set up emergency operation centers.
“The emergency orders I am issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services [HHS],” Trump said. “The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospital — all hospitals — and healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients.”
This includes the following critical authorities:
- The ability to waive laws to enable tele-health, a fairly new thing that’s happened in the in the not-so-distant past. It allows for remote doctors’ visits and hospital check-ins.
- The power to waive certain federal license requirements so that doctors from other states can provide services and states with the greatest need.
- The ability to waive requirements that critical-access hospitals limit the number of beds to 25 and the length of stay to 96 hours.
- The ability to waive the requirements of a three-day hospital stay prior to admission to a nursing home.
- The authority to waive rules that hinder hospitals’ ability to bring additional physicians on board or obtain needed office space.
- The authority to waive rules that severely restrict where hospitals can care for patients within the hospital itself, ensuring that the emergency capacity can be quickly established.
Trump said that the government will remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver the people the care that they need.
“No resource will be spared,” Trump said.
The FDA also approved a new test for the virus. Trump expects up to a half a million additional tests will be available early next week.
“We’ll be announcing locations probably on Sunday night,” Trump said.
The plan for the United States right now is to get pharmacies and retailers to make drive-thru tests available in critical locations designated by public health professionals. The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car.
Google is developing a website where people can take a quiz to see whether a COVID- 19 test is warranted and where to get tested nearby.
Update: In President Donald Trump’s national emergency and response plan address Monday, he said that Google is creating a website for people to be able to quiz themselves to see if they need to be tested for COVID-19. Google Communications tweeted today saying that Verily, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is in the “early stages of development” of a “tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing” but that the triage website is not available to the public or up and running. When it becomes active, the site will only direct people to “pilot sites” in the San Francisco Bay Area with the “hope of expanding more broadly over time.”*
Some emergency executive actions that have been taken as of today are the waived interests on student loans held by federal government agencies until further notice and the purchase of large quantities of crude oil for storage in the United States Strategic Reserve.
These actions will help save citizens money and provide resources to make it through this pandemic.
The full transcription of President Donald Trump’s speech is provided by The White House’s official website. Here is a resource provided by The White House giving a list of actions taken in today’s press conference.