Dear fellow South Carolinians, Thank you for subscribing to my weekly e-newsletter, and please remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
My Office Status In an effort to ensure the health and safety of my staff and their families, all of my offices in the state are now teleworking along with my Washington office. Serving South Carolinians remains our top priority, and we will continue to do everything within our power to assist you and answer any questions we can. We are frequently checking each office’s voicemail box and will return calls as quickly as possible. You are also able to send an email through my website at https://www.scott.senate.gov/contact/email-me.
I, too, am working remotely and conducting tele-meetings. Last week, I video conferenced with the South Carolina Hospital Association, several South Carolina Chambers of Commerce, and pastors from across the state to learn more about how my office can meet the needs of healthcare workers and facilities, small-businesses, non-profits and other individuals throughout the state.
COVID-19 Health Updates In the event you have missed any of the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings (or Governor McMaster’s briefings), I am posting summaries and updates of each one on my Facebook page. My office and I are committed to keep South Carolinians as informed and up-to-date as possible. The more we know about the current situation, the more we can do to protect one another and stop the spread of this virus.
Here are some highlights from last week’s conferences:
The CDC is strongly advising the use of non-medical cloth masks in public as an additional voluntary health measure to prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the virus.
Governor McMaster has ordered that more of the state’s non-essential businesses including clothing, shoe, jewelry, and craft stores, department stores, florists, and furniture stores must close by today at 5:00 p.m. Grocery stores, gas stations, hardware and home improvement stores will remain open.
People coming to South Carolina from certain “hot spots” New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans must quarantine for 14 days and may not stay in short term rental properties such as hotels, timeshares, Airbnb lodging, etc. Violators could face a criminal penalty of up to 30 days in jail or $1,000 in fines.
As of April 5, South Carolina has identified 2,049 cases of COVID-19, which have tragically resulted in 44 deaths. The state’s hospital bed capacity is at 52%. You can visit scdhec.gov for regular updates.
Protecting Our Seniors As this virus continues to disproportionately affect the lives of older citizens, I am determined to put every safeguard in place to ensure their health and safety. Last Friday, Senator Warner (D-VA) and I wrote a bipartisan letter to Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma, encouraging both HHS and CMS to consider solutions to protect Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and to provide safe access to care.
The letter requests that they “ensure beneficiary access to Part B drugs, provide appropriate payment for these drugs, and sufficiently reimburse for administration services rendered when provided in the home setting.” You can read the full letter here.
United in Prayer Our nation has already experienced so much loss due to COVID-19, and health officials are now predicting that April could be the most disastrous month yet. That is why, along with Senator Coons (D-DE) and U.S. Representatives Cleaver (D-MO-05) and Walker (R-NC-06), I am joining in a bipartisan call for April to be designated a National Month of Prayer. We ask that anyone who would like to participate lift up private, non-denominational prayer at noon each day for the health of our nation. Specifically, we are asking God for protection for our health care professionals and first responders, for strength for the families that have someone infected, and to heal those who have lost someone to coronavirus. We are also praying for clarity and strength for the Coronavirus Task Force members and state public health officials.
Be it after the shootings at Mother Emanuel church or the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001, in times of tragedy, our country often turns to faith and prayer to unite us in common resolve. With the projected death toll from coronavirus currently estimating at least 100,000 people, we can all do our part from social distancing and washing our hands to keeping those on the frontlines of this battle in our prayers each day.
Resources If you are feeling ill, click here for information from the South Carolina Hospital Association on telehealth options. More complete information on resources for South Carolinians is also available on my website or my Facebook page.
For your own safety and the safety of others, don’t forget to wash your hands for 20 seconds, use cloth masks in public, and stay home when at all possible. More CDC guidelines and other helps are available at www.coronavirus.gov.
These are challenging times for us all, but I want to encourage you not to lose heart. My many talks with individuals across the state have confirmed what I know to be true: South Carolinians are resilient, resourceful, and more unified than ever. Together, we will make it through.
Lowcountry 2500 City Hall Lane 3rd Floor Suite North Charleston, SC 29406 Phone: (843) 727-4525 Fax: (855) 802-9355
Midlands 1901 Main Street Suite 1425 Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 771-6112 Fax: (855) 802-9355
Upstate 104 South Main Street Suite 803 Greenville, SC 29601 Phone: (864) 233-5366 Fax: (855) 802-9355
Washington, DC 104 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-6121 Toll Free: (855) 425-6324 Fax: (202) 228-5143