By Rep. Tom Reed
I hear fear and anxiety from upstate New Yorkers as I see or meet them by phone or computer. Many are afraid of catching the Covid-19 virus. Others worry about losing businesses or jobs due to the health and economic crisis we are facing.
We are here and are reaching out. Hearing your concerns and ideas is vital as we fight the virus together.
While taking appropriate preventative action, we cannot live in fear. Data shows that the overwhelming majority who get the virus do not require hospitalization. Most healthy people have only a mild illness or don’t even know they have it.
Everyone must continue taking necessary precautions – staying home, social distancing, washing hands – until the virus runs its natural course. This protects all of us today and tomorrow.
Upstate health care systems are rising to this challenge. We talk daily with our local hospitals and those in Albany and Washington to be sure upstate's voice is being heard and we have the capacity to take care of both those sickened by the virus and other health issues as well.
We are laser focused on making sure local and regional facilities are equipped and their supply chains are fully functional to meet the challenges of "surge capacity" should a hot zone arise in our region.
Beyond the immediate health crisis, people are suffering significantly because the economy shut down without warning. People have lost jobs. Businesses have closed doors, worried if they will reopen.
That is why we ensured bipartisan support for relief and recovery packages adopted by Congress, including billions in immediate aid, paid time off, food assistance and unemployment benefits. We passed incentives and assistance for businesses of all sizes to keep people employed and keep money in their checking accounts.
Next, we must be sure our health care system is prepared for the next challenge and reinvigorate our region. We are bringing together local and national leaders to provide for our health care and rebuild the upstate economy after the storm passes.
Partisan politics has no place in this fight – the virus doesn't care if we are Republicans or Democrats. All Americans have a role in rising stronger together from this.
Keep supporting our health care workers and those allowing us to have food in refrigerators. Remember first responders keeping us safe. Help neighbors, especially those alone, out of work or less fortunate. Support small businesses.
Helping each other, we will succeed. I believe in the people of New York. These clouds will clear, and the sun will shine again.
If you are in need of help or need more information, please visit Reed.House.gov. We are always here for you.
Tom Reed, R-Corning, represents New York's 23rd Congressional District.