Gottheimer Stands With Bergen County Executive, Teaneck Mayor, Hospital Leaders, and North Jersey Officials, to Provide Update on Steps to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak, to Support Doctors and Frontline Medical Professionals

Mar 15, 2020
Press

Local leaders announce Teaneck residents to self-quarantine

Above: Gottheimer addresses North Jersey community members, hospital leaders, and public officials. 

HACKENSACK, NJ – On Sunday, March 15, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) stood with Bergen County Executive James Tedesco, Holy Name Medical Center President & CEO Michael Maron, Holy Name Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Jarrett, Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, and Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci to update North Jersey residents on joint efforts to combat the coronavirus, including self-quarantining, closing schools, ongoing coordination between local hospitals, working to ensure our frontline medical professionals have the supplies they need, and providing childcare to North Jersey doctors, nurses, and health care staff.

“Right now, more than ever, we must come together as a country and as a community. This virus does not see gender, religion, race, or political party. We are all in this together,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “The self-quarantining in Teaneck and the decision to close our schools will help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. These proactive approaches will help stem the rising tide of this virus.”  
 
Gottheimer continued, “These are trying times, but here, in the greatest country in the world, we are stronger when we all come together — as one Bergen, as one Teaneck, as one New Jersey, and as one nation under God. Stay healthy — stay safe — and continue to take into consideration the health and safety of all those around you.”

Ten days ago, the House passed its first bipartisan emergency legislation to invest in a robust response to the crisis. This included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses. This bipartisan bill was then passed by the Senate and signed into law.  

On Saturday, the House the House passed a second bipartisan bill to continue addressing the coronavirus crisis, to keep families across our country safe, and to stimulate the economy. This bipartisan legislation provides coronavirus testing free of charge to all patients, emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months of paid family and medical leave, enhanced Unemployment Insurance to protect furloughed workers, increased federal investment to help state and local governments and health systems respond to the virus, and strengthened food security programs for children, school students, seniors, and food banks.  

The Senate will be voting on this bill early this week and it will then head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Today, Gottheimer called on the Administration to activate the U.S. Public Health Service strike team to help assist Teaneck and other towns in Bergen County.
 
Watch video of today’s press conference HERE.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

I know that residents throughout our communities in North Jersey and right here in Teaneck are on high alert, and I truly appreciate everything that is being done here on the ground and across my district and the county. From the residents who are self-quarantining to the excellent leadership from our state, county, and local officials, our hospitals, our first responders, and front-line health care workers – our doctors, nurses, and lab technicians.  

I want to thank the Mayor of Teaneck, the Deputy Mayor, the Township’s Council, and Bergen County Executive James Tedesco for their superb leadership and for helping make sure the proper steps are being taken to curb the spread of this virus.

The self-quarantining in Teaneck and the decision to close our schools will help mitigate the spread of the virus. These proactive measures will help stem the rising tide of the virus. Given the shortage of tests, we must do everything we can to contain the virus. I also encourage everyone, who is not self-quarantining, to practice smart social distancing – no handshakes, no large group meetings, no hugging, and teleworking, where possible.

Right now, more than ever, we must come together as a community and as a country. This virus does not see gender, religion, race, or political party. We are all in this together. Now is not the time to look backward, it is the time to look forward and to take the appropriate measures to stop the virus and solve the problem. I want to recognize those have stepped up, including the continued coordination between our hospitals and providers throughout North Jersey, and I want to thank Holy name for your leadership. Those working to ensure our medical professionals have the supplies they need… and our teachers, superintendents, and parents for ensuring that our children will still get a great education our schools are closed.

On the national level, ten days ago, the House passed its first bipartisan emergency legislation to invest in a robust response to the crisis. This included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for small businesses. That bipartisan bill was then passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president.

Then, very early on Saturday morning, after working closely with both Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, and with the Administration, the House passed a second bipartisan bill to continue addressing the coronavirus, to keep families across our country safe, and to help address the economic impact.

This bipartisan legislation provides coronavirus testing free of charge to all patients, emergency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months of paid family and medical leave, enhanced Unemployment Insurance to protect furloughed workers, increased federal investment to help state and local governments and health systems respond to the virus, and strengthened food security programs for children, school students, seniors, and food banks.

This includes investment in meeting increased demand at local food banks, additional investment to deliver meals to seniors who may be home-bound, and we’re helping school-aged children continue to receive free meals even if they’re not in school. And it goes without saying that we must get people tested – not just swabbed, but get the results back – and much faster than the current multi-day turn-around time. We are obviously far behind in that regard, but I’m hoping we’ll catch up in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it’s why self-quarantining is so important.

The United States Senate will be voting on the legislation the House passed early this week and the President has indicated he will sign it straight away.

We must also address the economic impact of the virus on all of our businesses, not only those in tourism like airlines, but all of those small and medium sized businesses that are dealing with a massive slowdown.

Extreme health measures will require extreme economic measures.

I’m hoping that the paid leave and enhanced unemployment we just passed will help, and we’ve asked the IRS to delay this year’s tax filing dates for businesses and individuals. But I know the virus is affecting a lot of jobs, especially for hourly workers, and we need to keep people employed, and help our businesses stay afloat.  Many of us in Congress are already working on those legislative measures.

Finally, I will continue to be in touch with our hospital executives and chief medical officers all across the Fifth Congressional District about what resources they need.

I know you all are constrained, and I am in touch with the Administration and the Governor’s office to figure out how to access reserves of masks, gowns, goggles, swabs, and other materials that you need.

Just yesterday, the New Jersey Department of Health received and distributed 13,000 gloves, 4,500 masks, 2,200 face shields, and 1,400 gowns. This is a helpful start, but our hospitals and frontline health care workers need much more of these supplies and they need them fast.

Our local hospitals and health departments need additional access to the Strategic National Stockpile of reserve medical supplies. And many of us have been in touch with the Administration, including as early as this morning.

We also have to help ensure that our frontline health care workers stay healthy. They’re working around the clock as we’ve heard. They are exposed and many have been quarantined.

Now, with the national state of emergency declared, we are hoping this will allow for greater flexibility at the national, state, and local level to respond to this crisis and tap into a reserve of federal disaster investment from FEMA.

FEMA can help our local communities respond to this crisis by assisting with transportation needs, mobile medical units, and logistical support.

I am also calling on the Administration to activate the U.S. Public Health Service strike team to help assist Teaneck and other areas in North Jersey that have been hit particularly hard. The Public Health Service strike team has served on the front lines of other major public health crises including Ebola, Zika, and SARS, and I believe they can help us here.

All of these steps are incredibly important. They are vital for keeping our residents safe.

These are trying times, but here, in the greatest country in the world, we are stronger when we all come together — as one Bergen, as one Teaneck, as one New Jersey, and as one nation under God.

Stay healthy — stay safe — and continue to take into consideration the health and safety of all those around you.

May God bless you and God bless these United States of America.

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