(KTXL) — Congressman Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, hosted a telephone town hall Tuesday night to provide an update on the federal response to COVID-19.
The local lawmaker who represents California’s seventh district was joined by public health experts as they took the time to answer community questions about what’s being done to protect people both physically and financially.
“This is a time for us to come together, not just as a community but a country and a world,” Rep. Bera said.
Bera called for unity at a time of physical separation just hours before the first rent and mortgage checks under a mandatory stay-at-home order were due.
“Hang in there,” Bera said. “The reason why we passed this stimulus bill is we know millions of Americans all across this country are going to be impacted by this.”
He reassured Californians that their relief checks are on the way, urging them to be patient and to continue following social distancing guidelines.
“I really do think it’s making a difference,” he said. “Now, we can’t drop our vigilance here and we really do have to stay at home a few weeks longer and see how this plays out.”
At Tuesday’s town hall Sacramento County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson gave an update on where the county stands in the coronavirus fight. It is closing out the month of March with exactly 300 confirmed cases and eight deaths.
He said as public health experts work to save lives, there are two areas still lacking, starting with test kits.
“Even though we’re doing a few hundred tests a day, we can certainly be doing thousands a day, and this is vital to both know what percentage of people in Sacramento County are affected,” Dr. Beilenson explained. “And the second thing that we really need is the PPE, the personal protective equipment.”
It’s safety gear he said hospitals are burning through at fast rates.
Rep. Bera committed Tuesday to advocate for those needs on Capitol Hill as he and other leaders plan for what’s expected to be a steady rise in cases in the U.S.
“We may not have seen the worst of this yet, it may still be coming,” Bera said. “Let’s be prepared, let’s look after one another. We are all in this together and if we stick together, we will get out of this together.”
Bera agreed California needs to ramp up diagnostic testing, as well as focus on serological exams, which determines who has defeated the novel coronavirus and developed an immunity.