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COVID-19 Update
March 27, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Iowa Update

Gov. Reynolds will hold a press conference today at 2:30 p.m. The press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page, You Tube, and Iowa PBS.
 
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 56 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 235 positive cases. There have been a total of 3,740 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 
 
According to IDPH, two Iowans with COVID-19 passed away last night, one elderly adult (81+ years) from Poweshiek County and one older adult (61-80 years) from Allamakee County. This brings the total COVID-19 deaths in Iowa to three.
 
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 56 individuals include:
  • Benton County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Black Hawk County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Butler County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Cedar County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Cerro Gordo County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Clinton County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Dallas County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Dickinson County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Dubuque County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)
  • Hardin County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Harrison County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Henry County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Iowa County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Johnson County, 2 adults (18-40 years),  5 middle-age (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 7 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Mahaska County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Monona County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Marshall County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Montgomery County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
  • Page County, 1 older (61-80 years)
  • Polk County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Tama County, 1 elderly adult (81+)
  • Washington County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Webster County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Winneshiek County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Woodbury County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Wright County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19. 
 
At her press conference yesterday, Governor Reynolds said she is expanding and extending and expanding business closures in place effective at 10:00 p.m. yesterday. Reynolds extended the timeframe for business closures another week and to expanded the closures to additional businesses including: bookstores; clothing stores; shoe stores; jewelry stores; cosmetic, beauty or perfume stores; florists; and furniture and home furnishing stores through April 7th. Nonessential and elective medical and dental procedures are to stop. Gatherings of over 10 people are still banned. Click here for the full proclamation.

The Governor said that right now, the state does not have enough information to know whether Iowa is “bending the curve” to slow the spread of the virus. They hope to start to see results of the actions taken by next week. Other updates included:
  • The National Guard is delivering supplies and PPE across the state where needed.
  • Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend spoke about the CARES Act passed by congress. It does provide unemployment benefits for sole proprietors and non-profits.
  • President Trump sent a letter asking Governor’s to rank high, medium and low risk counties for COVID-19.
  • She clarified for a reporter that local communities do not have the legal authority to implement shelter-in-place orders.
Federal Legislation

Supplemental III – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Timeline: After a party line vote rejecting the an amendment to limit some of the UI provisions the Senate passed the third coronavirus package by a unanimous vote of 96-0. The House plans to vote on the measure today. The House planned to convene at 9am and proceed to take up the bill. There will be two hours of debate (there are several Republicans who want to speak on the bill). After debate ends, there will be either a vote by unanimous consent or a voice vote. It is unclear whether there would be a quorum if a Member chooses to call for a quorum vote. In the event a Member calls for a vote, whether procedural or a roll call vote on passage, the vote will be held open for 24 hours, and more Members will have to fly back. House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn send around floor update advising Members that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote. The guidance encouraged Members to follow the advice of local and state health officials but encouraged Members who are willing and able to be in D.C. for the vote tomorrow. Additionally, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician released guidance for the vote, including procedures for voting in shifts if a roll call vote is called.

Process and Politics: While a unanimous vote in the Senate on a bill costing upwards of $2 trillion is certainly unusual (and perhaps unprecedented), many expected that would be enough momentum to pass the House by unanimous consent. However, there have been grumblings from both the progressives and conservatives about the bill, and passage by UC or voice vote is looking less guaranteed.

Late in the process negotiations shifted the bill in Democrats’ favor, leaving some Republicans frustrated. While this context might not matter for this bill’s passage, Republicans may be less willing to compromise and include Democratic priorities in later supplementals.

Policy:

Final text here.

BIO’s summary of specific provisions affecting biotech companies here.

Republican section by section here. Democratic summary here.

Committee summaries here:
  • Small Business Loans (Title I) – Committee section by section here and one pager here, minority one pager here
  • Individual Relief (Title II) – summary here
  • Business Tax Relief (Title II) – summary here
  • Health Care Infrastructure Support (Title III) – majority summary here, minority summary here
  • Education (also Title III) – majority summary here, minority summary here
  • Senate Finance Jurisdiction Health Provisions (still Title III) – section by section here
  • Economic Stabilization (Title IV) – summary here
    • See here for summary on specific worker protections
  • Appropriations – majority section by section here, minority summary here
Committees’ summaries below:
  • Senate Agriculture Committee minority summary here
  • Senate Banking Committee majority summary here, minority summary here
  • Senate Commerce Committee minority summary here
  • Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee minority summary here
  • Senate Committee on Indian Affairs summary here
  • Senate Judiciary Committee minority summary here
  • Senate Veterans Affairs Committee minority summary here
Supplemental IV and onward

Speaker Pelosi and others have agreed on drafting a fourth and fifth supplemental – unclear what will be included yet. However, Leader McCarthy has said that drafting a fourth supplemental may be “premature”. Speaker Pelosi has indicated that she aims to have the next COVID-19 bill focus on infrastructure and recovery. Rep. DeFazio (Chair T&I) had said that he wants to put an infrastructure bill on the floor in May.

Passed Legislation

Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)

Signed by the President. Bill text here. Factsheet here. Bill section by section here. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here.

Supplemental I – Coronavirus Supplemental

Signed by the President March 6. Text here, summary here.

Congress

House is in session and will reconvene tomorrow at 9am. Senate has recessed until April 20.

As of right now, the appropriations markup schedule is unchanged. Most House bills have subcommittee markup dates the weeks of April 21 and April 28, while the Senate has not yet set its markup dates.

Remote voting: Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell have both voiced opposition to members’ voting remotely, but as more members of Congress have begun self-quarantining and the pandemic makes travel more treacherous, in-person voting may become more difficult. Remote voting is being discussed to some extent in both chambers. On Monday, the House Committee on Rules Majority released a staff report on voting options. The report discusses unanimous consent, proxy voting, as well as the logistics (and security concerns) of remote voting. Additionally, the Attending Physician of Congress is working on a plan ensure members are able to vote on the floor safely. Similarly, in its notice of the vote Sunday, the Senate Cloakroom encouraged members to socially distance during votes. In the Senate, Sens. Durbin, Portman, and Klobuchar working on a way for Senators to vote remotely, but Leader McConnell, as of right now, is not supportive. 

While most hearings and markups for the next week or so have been cancelled, some committee staff are working to see whether holding hearings virtually is possible. The Senate Armed Services Committee has developed a “paper hearing” in lieu of in person hearings.

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Tested Positive (3): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

Currently Self-Quarantined (31): Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)

Completed Quarantine (4): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

Other Federal Actions
  • FEMA has a “How to Help” website for COVID-19 which includes donations, volunteering, and private sector subcategories.
  • The EPA is relaxing enforcement of multiple environmental regulations because of worker shortages and travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, per a memo circulated today. This has caused a stir in the environmental activism community as many facilities benefiting from the relaxed standards are still operating under full capacity.
  • President Trump sent a letter to America’s governors today saying the federal government hoped to provide a risk assessment for individual counties in conjunction with increased testing capabilities. In the letter, the President says that counties will be classified as high, medium or low risk to help local policymakers make decisions about whether to maintain, increase, or relax social distancing standards.
  • NIAID’s Dr. Tony Fauci said today the Phase I vaccine trials have begun and that he hopes larger Phase II or Phase III trials can begin by the middle of summer.
  • HHS banned the hoarding or price-gouging of N95 respirator masks, ventilators, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. The hoarding ban includes hydroxychloroquine after reports of the drug selling out at pharmacies. The list of banned materials can be found here.
  • The House Committee on Homeland Security compiled this resource guide for DHS’s response to COVID-19.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (D-UT) are still the only members of Congress who have tested positive for COVID-19; however, 26 other members are now in self-quarantine. Four members have completed a self-quarantine.
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 68,440  travel-related: 636  “close contact”: 1,074 The CDC now updates data Monday through Friday and data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The CDC is reporting 994 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19. Since these numbers close out the day before reporting, deaths in the U.S. have now exceeded 1,000.
  • Despite some optimism yesterday, New York’s hospitalized patient population increased by 40 percent in one day. Of those hospitalized, about one-fifth were in intensive care.
  • The Ohio legislature moved the official primary date to April 28th and created a new plan, under which approximately 7.8 million registered voters in Ohio will receive postcards with instructions for applying for a ballot. Ballots postmarked by April 27th will be counted in the primary. Voters who are disabled or who do not have a permanent address will be allowed to vote in person at their local elections boards.
  • COVID-19 “hot spots” are popping up in Midwestern cities like Detroit and Chicago.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has issued a statewide stay at home order, and has also signed an executive order to limit evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections to provide relief to Coloradans affected by COVID-19.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
International Affairs
  • The U.S. now has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally (more than both China and Italy).
  • The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has tested positive. He has mild symptoms and is self-isolating in Downing Street.  
  • China has closed its borders to foreign nationals who live there starting Saturday at midnight. The government announced that it would suspend entry for nearly all foreign nationals holding valid visas and residence permits, including all visa-free transit policies. It does not apply to visas issued to diplomats or flight crew, or to people traveling to China for “necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs.”
  • Minors from Central America who arrive alone at the U.S. border are being turned away without the usual legal process under the new locked-down border policy in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new policy, issued as a public health measure under the legal authority of the surgeon general, bans tourist traffic along the borders with Mexico and Canada, and says that migrants who cross illegally or who present themselves for asylum can be returned to their countries immediately, without access to the legal process they would have gone through in the past.
  • Spain had to send about 9,000 faulty test kits back to China after they did not meet required criteria. The test kits originally came from an unlicensed company.
  • G20 members committed to strengthen WHO’s mandate in coordinating the pandemic response and called for full funding of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan after WHO Director-General called on the G20 to “fight, unite, and ignite” against COVID-19. The G20 also pledged to work together to increase research and development funding for vaccines and medicines. The leaders promised to spend $5 trillion on the world economy to soften the blow to social, economic, and financial markets.  
  • Global Cases:  462,684    Total Deaths:  20,834
Featured Resources
  • Free Webinar: Dickinson Law will hold a free webinar today at noon on mandated emergency leaves for companies with 500 or less employees. Register here.
     
  • Financial assistance for targeted small businesses: A fund has been created to support Targeted Small Businesses (TSB) with zero employees that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible small businesses grants ranging from $5,000-$10,000 to businesses that are single owners with no employees that are also TSB certified, or have an application submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) by April 10, 2020 to become TSB certified.

    This program will continue to process applications on an ongoing basis until all funds are exhausted. Applications are processed in both order of receipt of application and submission of all required documents and Targeted Small Business certification approval. 

    Iowa Center for Economic Success will review grant applications for eligibility and determine the grant amount by the level of impact including loss in sales revenue and employees. The Iowa Center for Economic Success will also provide recommendations of award decisions to IEDA. IEDA will verify and/or finalize the applicant’s TSB certification and notify the applicant of the award decision.
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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