ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) toured Grady Memorial Hospital, looking at the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I really gained some insight into the adaptations that Grady has made so swiftly and smoothly,” he said. “Grady Hospital has a team of more than 7,000 who are working diligently, taking personal risks.”

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Grady Health System President and CEO John Haupert weighed in. “We’ve been able to discuss the issues facing hospitals in the era of COVID,” he said. “We also will be looking at how the ongoing pandemic will impact Grady, as well as other hospitals.”

Ossoff then gave an update on COVID relief legislation, referencing the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan proposed back in January. “I’ve been working alongside my colleague, Senator Reverend Warnock, to make sure all of our colleagues in the Senate understand how vital it is that the people get the relief that they need,” he said.

He says it’s now up to the Senate to pass their proposed bill to expand Medicaid, increase the healthcare workforce by 100,000 people and fund health centers in rural and underserved areas. The bill would also provide $8,200 for a family of four, as families and individuals anxiously wait for additional stimulus payments. “I am urging my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation,” Ossoff said. “What I am doing is urging all possible speed for the passage of this legislation, because Georgia families cannot wait for this financial relief.”

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In terms of Medicaid, the senators are proposing incentives they hope will encourage Georgia to consider expansion. “Georgia’s refusal to expand Medicaid has sentenced people to needless suffering and death,” said Ossoff. “The hang-up has been politics. This has to be a collaborative, bipartisan effort with Republican leaders in the State of Georgia.”

The limited supply of vaccines is also raising concern. “This legislation will include significant investment in making more vaccine available to the American people, so that by mid-summer, if not before, there are enough doses to get e everybody immunized.”

Governor Brian Kemp and other officials gave COVID and vaccine distribution updates. “We continue to see high death totals reported in our numbers,” said Kemp, referencing how the number of cases and hospitalizations is going down.

Kemp says while vaccine supply and demand continue to be an issue, the state is making gradual progress. “Next week, we expect to see 198,000 first doses sent to the state.”

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He says they expect to expand the eligibility criteria within two weeks.