Coronavirus Skagit

Members of Skagit County’s congressional delegation agree that more COVID-19 relief funding is needed.

On a visit Tuesday to Skagit County, U.S. Rep Rick Larsen visited small businesses that benefited from federal Payroll Protection Program loans, and found they used the funding to put money in the hands of workers.

“All of them used it for the purposes of keeping people on staff,” he said.

And while he said he wasn’t certain another round of PPP loans would be necessary, he said Congress needs to come to agreement on some form of additional COVID-19 relief funding.

“The economy, I would say it’s stable, but it’s not going up,” Larsen said. “It needs another shot in the arm.”

House Democrats have passed legislation that would among other things extend enhanced unemployment insurance benefits and offer one-time stimulus money, but the Republican-controlled Senate has not put the bill up for a vote.

In a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene addressed questions on the federal response to COVID-19.

Both criticized the lack of federal funding for testing and personal protective equipment, calling this inaction unacceptable.

“This is a crisis created through inaction,” DelBene said.

Murray said Sen. Mitch McConnell hasn’t brought a counterproposal to the House bill to the Senate, so senators have nothing to debate.

She said a recent executive order from President Donald Trump “is in no way helpful,” because it focuses on studies over real financial aid.

“Time is of the essence,” she said. “We know what the issue is, and we knew what it was a few months ago.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in Skagit County continue to climb daily.

Four hospitalizations were reported Monday, bringing the total number of deaths to 21 and hospitalizations to 85.

Since Friday, 33 new cases have been recorded, making 891 since the beginning of the pandemic, and 108 since the beginning of August.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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