Finkenauer Asks HHS for Coronavirus Information for Iowans

February 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asking for clarity on how local governments should prepare for a potential Coronavirus outbreak.

So far, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Iowa. This week, during a Centers for Disease Control  briefing, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, said she told her own family, “While I didn’t think that they were at risk right now, we as a family need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives.”

“It is clear, in listening to our top experts, that this is not a time to panic but we absolutely must be prepared for Coronavirus to spread in our country,” Congresswoman Finkenauer said. “We have to take this seriously, and a big part of that is ensuring the federal government is working with our community leaders and health care professionals in Iowa. We need to make sure that our state and local governments, as well as our hospitals, have what they need now to properly prepare for a possible outbreak.”

In the letter to HHS Secretary Azar, Finkenauer requested the following information:

  • How can local hospitals identify and prepare to quarantine affected individuals? What resources are available to help them to successfully contain the virus if a case is confirmed in their community? What resources can they expect?
  • How is the Department and the Administration’s task force currently offering guidance and assistance to state and local governments to prevent and contain an outbreak?
  • What outreach and training for state and local partners has occurred to-date?
  • How can our congressional office best position ourselves to help local governments and hospitals prepare themselves against the virus?

Finkenauer requested a timely response from the secretary.

Finkenauer is a freshman congresswoman representing Iowa’s First Congressional District which includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls. The district is also home to the University of Northern Iowa and Grinnell College.