Congresswoman Wilson Hosts Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall

Congresswoman Wilson Hosts Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

SOUTH FLORIDA – Congresswoman Wilson hosted a telephone town hall for District 24 constituents on April 9 to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and resources available for individuals and small businesses.

She was joined on the call by panelists Roy Hawkins, senior vice president and CEO at Jackson Memorial Hospital; Dr. Lillian Rivera, former administrator/health officer for the Florida Department of Health; and Victoria Guerrero, district director at U.S. Small Business Administration.

“This is an unprecedented crisis and I know that my constituents are concerned for the health, economic security and well-being of both themselves and their families,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “That’s why I’ve brought together a panel of experts to answer questions about the response efforts of federal, state, and local authorities.

Panelists touched on a broad range of topics including relief for small businesses; unemployment benefits for workers and coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment.  Other topics discussed included the 2020 Census and voting by mail.

Jackson Memorial Hospital CEO Roy Hawkins reassured listeners that the hospital is well equipped to provide health care workers with necessary equipment despite rampant national shortages of PPE, ventilators and other medical supplies.

“Nationally, there is a lot of discussion about the lack of supplies and personal protective equipment at hospitals. At Jackson, we have enough supplies like N95 masks, face shields, and goggles. We also have controls in place to ensure that our supplies are used responsibly and not wasted. Our supply chain team continues to work aggressively on reordering even more supplies for future demand,” he said. “While there is so much uncertainty on how COVID-19 will impact Miami-Dade County over the next few weeks, we remain hopeful that our community continues to follow social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders to minimize the spread of this deadly virus. But our community should feel confident that they can count on Jackson today and always.”

Dr. Lillian Rivera stressed the importance of practicing good hygiene and urged listeners to stay at home. “This is a disease that does not have a specific medication we can use or a vaccine. In the future we may have therapeutics and a vaccine, but not now. In the future more testing modalities will come on board,” she said.

SBA District Director Victoria Guerrero provided an overview of SBA loan programs available to help small businesses stay afloat, such as: Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants, Paycheck Protection Program and the Bridge Loan Financing Program.

Several state and local officials also answered listener questions about a broad range of issues, such as stimulus checks, what to do if a family member or neighbor tests positive, unemployment benefits, and how to implement distance learning. These special guests included:

  • Rick Beasley, executive director of CareerSource South Florida
  • Esther Kahng, director of housing and insurance policy for the House Committee on Financial Services
  • Dr. Steve Gallon, Miami-Dade School Board member
  • Dr. Rosalind Osgood, Broward County School Board member
  • Representative Kionne Mcghee, Florida House Minority Leader
  • State Senator Oscar Braynon
  • State Senator Jason Pizzo
  • State Representative Barbara Watson
  • State Representative Sharon Pritchett
  • State Representative Dotie Joseph
  • State Representative James Bush
  • State Representative Shevrin Jones

To listen to the telephone town hall, click here.

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