Federal lawmakers on Wednesday approved an $8.3 billion package meant to fight the spread of coronavirus nationwide.
“Today, I voted in support of a bipartisan measure that will provide $8.3 billion in emergency funds to support efforts to immediately address the Coronavirus outbreak," said Rep. John Katko, a Republican who represents Central New York.
"I believe we must act swiftly, decisively, and in a bipartisan manner to develop treatments and contain the outbreak."
The bill's speedy approval was a rare example of bipartisanship in Congress spurred by the growing concern over the virus's spread as well as its effect on public health and the broader economy.
“Countless lives depend on an immediate and substantial response by the federal government to stop the spread of coronavirus," Rep. Paul Tonko of the Capital Region said. “The sheer scope and severity of this virus demands a coordinated and comprehensive course of action that gives municipalities across the country the resources needed to protect our communities."
The measure will provide for more tests, research, and support for state and local governments to respond.
The approval comes as 22 people in New York have tested positive for the virus, including a family and a neighbor of a man in New Rochelle who has been hospitalized due to underlying health issues.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday held three separate press briefings on the issue to provide updates. Hundreds of people have been asked to self-isolate to prevent any potential spread of coronavirus.
A synagogue the man attended will remained closed at least through the rest of the week and several schools have closed, including Yeshiva University.
At the same time, the state will begin to prioritize high-risk people, including older people and those who have had health issues in the past, when testing begins to ramp up to 1,000 a day, said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.