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Officials: Federal, local governments are prepared to handle coronavirus: ‘Making really good progress’

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MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin Congressman Bryan Steil said he is confident the federal government is doing all it can to address the coronavirus. Steil met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Tuesday, March 3 -- and shared the conversation with FOX6 News.

In a room typically reserved for war, 14 members of Congress met with the vice president to tackle a new enemy -- coronavirus.

"I walked away from the briefing far more confident that we are doing everything we can to address this disease," Steil said.

Rep. Bryan Steil

The number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. stands at nine. All of the deaths have occurred in Washington state.

In Wisconsin, one person has tested positive for the virus. Another test is pending.

"The risk profile right now is low. But we need to make sure we remain vigilant and have the resources to address this problem as it continues to develop," Steil said.

Congressman Steil believes the House will pass coronavirus-related legislation this week. It will include money and resources that will eventually make its way to state and local health departments.

"To not only a potential vaccine that we need to be working on and test kits, but also making sure at the state and local health officials who are on the front lines have the resources they need to be able to tackle this as it comes up," Steil said.

The City of Milwaukee has already set up a lab to test for coronavirus.

"We will be prepared," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Barrett said the virus has not arrived here yet. But if it does, Barrett said the Milwaukee Health Department will be ready.

"I think we are making really good progress," Steil said.

Congressman Steil is asking Wisconsin residents to help by practicing good hygiene -- and by trying not to panic.

Steil also said it is important to get information from a reliable source -- like the CDC.

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