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COVID-19 Update
March 25, 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
Governor Kim 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 and on YouTube as well as Iowa PBS.
 
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 21 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 145 positive cases. There have been a total of 2,578 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. 
 
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 21 individuals include:
  • Allamakee County 1 middle-aged adults (41-60 years)
  • Benton County, 2 middle-aged adults (41-60 years)
  • Hancock County, 1 middle-aged adults (41-60 years)
  • Johnson County, 4 adults (18-40 years), 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Polk County, 3 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Poweshiek County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Scott County, 2 middle-aged (41-60 years)
  • Washington County, 2 adults (18-40 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.
 
Yesterday Governor Reynolds held a press conference to cover the latest on COVID-19 and mitigation measures. There is currently no shelter-in-place order, and Department of Public Health discussed how it is making decisions and stated the mitigation strategies may become stricter or recommendations for restrictions might be dialed back, at any time. The Governor said she won’t speculate on how long the state will recommend schools and businesses stay closed. They expect to see the number of cases to continue to expand.
 
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) learned yesterday of the first death associated with COVID-19. The individual was an older adult, 61-80 years of age, and a resident of Dubuque County. A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here.
 
Businesses and organizations are urged to donate personal protective equipment, or PPE, by contacting their local public health department and the county emergency management agency. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging Iowa businesses and organizations to donate extra personal protective equipment to assist health care providers and health care facilities responding to COVID-19.

"This is an unprecedented public health disaster, and stocks of personal protective equipment for health care providers are being used rapidly," said Ken Sharp, division director of Acute Disease Prevention, Emergency Response and Environmental Health. "Any organizations that have extra PPE supplies that aren't immediately needed should consider donating them to help those on the front lines of this disease."  

Any type of health care PPE will be welcomed, especially gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks. Local public health and local emergency management officials can work to address needs locally and beyond. 

To donate PPE, please contact your county public health department or local emergency manager.  Local health department contact information can be found at https://idph.iowa.gov/lphs/local-public-health-agencies, county emergency management agency information can be found at https://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/documents/county/COORD_Public_List.pdf
 
Business Resources
Iowa
Several Iowa Programs are now in place to assist small businesses you can find more information here:
 
IOWA SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF GRANT PROGRAM & TAX DEFERRAL-
https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/programDetails?pid=136&ppid=26
 
Federal
  • The IRS recently went live with a website that provides tips for taxpayers and tax pros.  You can find that site here
    • Small and midsize businesses. Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to promptly and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
       
  • The IRS also recently pushed FAQs regarding this year’s tax filing deadline extension. You can find that site here
Legislation
 
Supplemental III – “COVID-III”
Timeline: After a day of many sports metaphors about the status of a deal on the package, Senators indicated that they wanted to vote last night. The hope continues to be that a deal can come together, that a time agreement can be reached, and that the Senate can vote expeditiously. This morning news outlets are reporting a deal was announced so a vote is expected yet today.
 
If the Senate passes the package today, the House could pass by unanimous consent on Thursday. If unanimous consent isn’t achievable, the fallback is the suspension calendar on Friday. 
 
Process and Politics: Multiped caucus conference calls were held yesterday and it seemed that both caucuses were attempting to marshal their members toward acceptance of passing the bill by unanimous consent in the House. Speaker Pelosi and other House leadership have indicated they would be willing to pass the bill in the House under unanimous consent, but only if the end product is acceptable.
 
Policy: Multiple updated drafts of the bill have been circulated. As with previous big deals, nothing is final until everything is final. All policies previously discussed continue to be on the table and could be part of a final deal. CARES text (as of yesterday) here. Latest information indicates a final bill may include the following:
  • $1,200 in direct payments, $500 per child with income limitations and restriction;
  • Early withdrawals from retirement accounts without penalty;
  • Expansion of unemployment insurance (includes eligibility to self-employed, contract employees) for 4 months;
  • Delay in payroll taxes by one year, payable over two years;
  • Net Operating Loss from tax years 2018, 2019, or 2020 may be carried back five years;
  • Small business bridge loans to companies with 500 employees or fewer with a maximum loan of $10 million, administered by 7(a) lenders;
  • $100 billion for hospitals with $50 billion in extra support for combatting COVID-19;
  • Expansion of HSAs to cover over the counter medicine;
  • Telehealth flexibility;
  • Suspension of the Medicare sequester through December 31, 2020. 
  • Liability protections for doctors practicing across state lines;
  • Treasury-administered loans for distressed industries, including $50 billion for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo carriers, $10 billion for AIP, with restrictions and a certain amount of oversight (unclear what that is until we see text).
The following links are from the bill as released Sunday so do not reflect where negotiations are currently. Section by section here. One-pager here. FAQ on proposed unemployment compensation here. FAQ on economic assistance payments here.
 
Supplemental IV and onward
Leadership has agreed on drafting a fourth and fifth supplemental – unclear what will be included yet.
 
Passed Legislation
Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)
The Senate passed the bill 90-8 Wednesday afternoon and the President signed the bill into law that evening. 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 currently in recess but will be called back when votes are needed on the next supplemental (with 24-hour notice). House Democratic leaders have said that members will not have to return until after a deal the supplemental is reached.
 
Senate is in session. Leader McConnell has said the Senate will stay in session until a third supplemental has passed.
 
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.
 
Other federal actions:
  • Experts from the White House Coronavirus Task Force have advised anyone leaving New York to self-quarantine for two weeks. New York is now considered an epidemiological “hot zone,” with case counts doubling every three days.
  • The CDC has launched a COVID-19 symptom self-checker. According to the CDC, the purpose of the self-checker, a bot named Clara, is to help make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. But the system is not meant to diagnose or provide treatment options for COVID-19 or other conditions.
  • The FDA announced multiple actions taken in its ongoing response effort to COVID-19.
  • The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority allows the FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections against CBRN threats by facilitating the availability and use of MCMs needed during public health emergencies. Click here for a list of current EUAs.
  • Today, the FDA took action to increase U.S. supplies to support the U.S. response to COVID-19 by providing instructions to manufacturers importing personal protective equipment and other devices.
  • The FDA is allowing veterinarians to examine animals virtually to encourage social distancing. 
  • The FDA labeled Gilead Sciences’ experimental drug Remdesivir an orphan drug, which provides a seven-year market exclusivity period as well as tax and other incentives for the drug company. Remdesivir is seen as a promising potential treatment for coronavirus.
  • HHS ASPR is providing $100 million to support the National Special Pathogen System (NSPS), which will leverage infrastructure set up for the U.S. Ebola response in order to assist health departments and hospital systems across the country. 
  • CMS approved Medicaid Section 1135 waivers for 11 states, bringing the total number of states approved for waivers to 13. The waivers offer states flexibilities to focus their resources on combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lightizer and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross urging expedited processing of tariff exclusion requests and temporary suspension of tariffs on certain goods. The letter states tariff relief will provide support to the healthcare system and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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 other States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are total cases: 44,183  travel-related: 479  “close contact”: 569 The CDC now updates data Monday through Friday and data closes out the day before reporting.
    • The CDC is reporting 544 deaths in the U.S. related to COVID-19.
    • New York has close to 25,700 cases and at least 157 deaths.
  • There are now school closures in all 50 states. This site maps school closures across states in counties.
  • A teenager in California is believed to be the first juvenile in the U.S. to die from COVID-19.
  • In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that someone in the state had tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a “coronavirus party.”
  • Louisiana has reported more than 500 new cases since the weekend, leading Gov. John Bel Edwards to encourage President Trump to issue a federal major disaster declaration.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed an executive order today which bans gatherings of more than 10 people, dine-in services at restaurants, and visits to hospitals/nursing homes, while also directing businesses to allow employees to work from home.
  • Governors all over the country are frustrated with their constituents who seem to be ignoring “stay at home” mandates. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said today, "We must have 100 percent compliance. This is about public health and it's about people's lives. Your employee's lives, their families' lives, and your life.”
  • This document provides a more comprehensive list of state declarations, executive orders, and school closures (additions to the document are ongoing). 
International Affairs
  • The WHO has delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of COVID-19 response measures. The shipment is the seventh sent to Iran since they first reported cases in February. Read more here.
  • After grounding all domestic flights yesterday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ordering all 1.3 billion people in the country to stay in their homes for three weeks. Modi said, “If you can’t handle these 21 days, this country will go back 21 years.”
  • Almost 14 percent of Spain’s cases are medical professionals.
  • Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said all visitors inside the country will be banned from walking outside and taxi drivers will be prohibited from transporting them anywhere starting today. Tourists staying in private homes will be moved into hotels in an effort to protect visitors and the locals renting out their houses. Hotels are under strict surveillance and will be screening employees and tourists for symptoms twice daily.
  • The Hubei province in China will begin easing its two-month lockdown restrictions tomorrow. Wuhan will remain sealed off until April 8th, but the public transportation system will be up and running again within a day.
  • Global Cases:  372,827    Total Deaths:  16,231 
Helpful Articles/Media 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. Speaker Pelosi circulated a Dear Colleague last week stating that the House will “adjust our voting procedures in order to follow the CDC’s recommendations.” Yesterday, 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. Remote voting is being discussed to some extent in both chambers.
 
Virtual hearings: 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.
 
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 (26): 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)
Completed Quarantine (4): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)
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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