Catching Up with Annie

Checking In & Keeping You Updated on COVID-19

Washington, D.C., March 24, 2020

Dear Friend,

What a difference a week can make in our topsy turvy lives! I hope you and your family are safe and practicing social distancing by working and studying from home if you are able. We honor those on the Coronavirus frontlines - nurses, doctors, first responders and child care workers - who are putting their lives at risk to protect us and our families. They are going to work to serve us. We must stay home to serve them and to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 so that our health care system is not overwhelmed by a tsunami of sickness. We appreciate the Granite Staters who are still going to work at grocery stores, in pharmacies, or providing other essential services. 

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This video helps to explain why social distancing and “flattening the curve” is so important.

As I warned from the beginning on February 26 when Secretary Azar and Dr. Fauci first testified before the House Health Subcommittee, “time is of the essence.” In the House, we acted swiftly to fund testing, medical supplies, equipment and personnel for a swift public health response. Here in New Hampshire, on March 2, Senators Shaheen and Hassan, Congressman Chris Pappas and I met with Governor Chris Sununu and state public health officials to discuss preparedness and prevention efforts. We learned of the first positive COVID-19 case and the containment plan to isolate the individual and those who had been in close contact.

As the virus has spread to every state, and now every county in New Hampshire, and we have tragically seen the first coronavirus-related death in the Granite State, the evidence is clear that we truly are all in this together. Like many of you, my husband Brad and I are working from home. Thanks to great science education in our public schools, our sons Zach and Travis were among the first to self-isolate and limit their close contact with others. My siblings and eight nieces here in New Hampshire and on the West Coast are coping with the wide variety of challenges you may be facing - working on the frontlines as health care professionals, juggling work at home with toddlers and young children, working to keep the economy moving forward as loggers and contractors, pregnancy and illness with doctor’s visits, treatment and recovery, mental and physical health, and plenty to worry about in the world around us. I hope you and your family are safe.

I have spent the past two weeks checking in on my “extended flock” of constituents across the Second District, hosting conference calls with nursing homes, hospital workers, health care providers, child care workers, addiction and mental health specialists, business leaders, elected officials and the Governor.

My role is to listen and learn about the challenges facing our communities and then to translate those concerns into tangible solutions with legislation and appropriation of funds. My goal is to keep you and your family safe from both harm and economic hardship. You can do your part by taking steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 including staying home when you can, frequent handwashing, and staying away from others if you are sick.

As my mother would say, “Keep your courage up!” Be kind to those you love. Be generous to those who need help. And together we will welcome better days ahead.

On a lighter note, please check out my Quarantine Cookbook at the end of our newsletter!

Working Together During this Difficult Time

This is an uncertain and difficult time for many of us, but we will work together to get through this. We can all do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the most vulnerable among our communities. My staff and I have been teleworking from home to practice social distancing and “flatten the curve.”

We continue to serve the people of New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District and my staff can be reached at Kuster.house.gov/contact, or call my Concord office at (603) 226-1002 or my Washington office at (202) 225-5206.

Keeping Granite Staters Informed

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On Wednesday at 5:15 p.m., Congressman Chris Pappas and I will hold a telephone town hall to discuss COVID-19 and take questions from New Hampshire residents. This will be my third joint telephone town hall with Rep. Pappas to discuss coronavirus alongside state officials and health experts. Dial (866) 478-3366 at 5:15 on Wednesday to join.

If you were unable to join our most recent tele-town hall on Friday, you can listen to our conversation here.

Check on Neighbors and Loved Ones

If you have neighbors, loved ones, or friends who may be elderly or at heightened risk, I encourage you to give them a call to check in to see how they are doing. If you are healthy and able, consider helping others with grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions for those who cannot do it themselves. This can be a lonely time for many of us, so let’s do our best to be there for each other and pick up the phone to check-in.

Blood Donors Urgently Needed

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At a blood drive at the Capitol in 2017

As a result of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, blood drives across the country have been canceled. Our nation is facing a serious blood shortage and donors are urgently needed. If you are eligible and healthy, please consider donating blood. You can find a location and make an appointment here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/

Working to Support Granite Staters and Americans Across the Nation

On Saturday, I called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to act immediately with a robust COVID-19 response package to support New Hampshire's health care system, workers, families and small businesses. The consequences of inaction could be dire -- we must pass legislation as soon as possible to strengthen the local health response, support small businesses, protect American workers, boost access to health care and telehealth, and increase oversight and accountability. Delay simply is not an option.

On Thursday, I wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell to request additional resources for rural health care providers during the COVID-19 outbreak in the third legislative package Congress passes to help our nation deal with this public health crisis. Last week, I wrote to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, urging the Bureau to take measures to protect consumers from unreasonable price increases on home-health products during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also joined my colleagues last week in sending a letter to House Leadership urging the advancement of policies that will support low-income families in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, specifically the inclusion of a Fully Refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Lookback Provision for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

It was good to see the President sign the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which we passed in the House earlier this month and the Senate last week. This bill is the second legislative package to aid America’s response to coronavirus and ensures COVID-19 tests are cost-free, expands paid emergency leave, provides enhanced Unemployment Insurance, and bolsters food security for American families, children, and low-income seniors. The next step is to pass legislation to provide direct financial support to American workers, small businesses and families. 

Resources for You

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) are the best resources to turn to during this public health emergency.

Additional information on COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus):
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
WMUR School Closings Page 

Quarantine Cookbook

While I have been working from home and practicing social distancing, cooking with my husband Brad has been a nice way to bring some joy and relaxation into our lives. We enjoy hosting dinners at our home so it's been difficult being away from friends and loved ones. This past weekend, we tried something new - we shared a recipe with our friends and each of us cooked the same meal, then we sat down to eat and spent time together through video chat. If you're away from a parent, a child, a grandparent, or a loved one, try having dinner together through FaceTime, Skype, or any other video call service. It's a great way to stay close while we all need to maintain our distance.

Check out what we’ve been making:

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Remember: Keep calm and wash your hands. If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider. If you live in NH and have questions about coronavirus, dial 2-1-1. Visit CDC.gov for more information.

Sincerely,