Headline News

COVID-19 News Updates for August 24, 2020


White House Updates

·       President Donald J. Trump Is Protecting America’s Food Supply Chain and Ensuring No Family Goes Hungry (FACT SHEET)

·       Remarks by President Trump on Farmers to Families Food Box Program Distribution (HERE)

·       Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing | August 23, 2020 (HERE)

·       Executive Order on Targeting Opportunity Zones and Other Distressed Communities for Federal Site Locations (HERE)

·       President Donald J. Trump Approves Emergency Declarations (MSLACAPRTX)

·       Readout from the Launch of the “Building the Movement Exhibit: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage” (HERE)

·       Readout from the Reopening of the White House Rose Garden (HERE)

·       The Trump Administration Is Advancing Clean, Reliable, and Affordable Hydropower (HERE)

Trump Administration Adds Health Plans to June 2020 Plasma Donation Guidance (HERE)

·       Today, under the leadership of President Trump, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued amended guidance on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers (e.g., hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories) and health plans to contact their patients and beneficiaries who have recovered from COVID-19 to inform them about how they can donate their plasma containing antibodies (known as “convalescent plasma”) to help treat others with COVID-19.

Secretary Alex Azar on Expanding Access to Childhood Vaccines During COVID-19 (HERE)

·       HHS Secretary Alex Azar highlights the expansion of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act to increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Home if Someone has COVID-19 (HERE)

·       Follow these tips for cleaning and disinfecting your home.

Shopping for Food and Other Household Essentials (HERE)

·       Protect yourself when shopping during COVID-19.

I Think or Know I had COVID-19, and I had Symptoms. When Can I Be With Others? (HERE)

·       If you have or think you might have COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from others. When you can be around others depends on different factors for different situations.

CMS Issues Informational Bulletin on Medicaid Reimbursement Strategies to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Facilities (HERE)

·       Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a Medicaid Informational Bulletin (CIB) that provides guidance to states on flexibilities that are available to increase reimbursement for nursing facilities that implement specific infection control practices, such as designating a quarantine or isolation wing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Convalescent Plasma as Potential Promising COVID–19 Treatment, Another Achievement in Administration’s Fight Against Pandemic (HERE)

·       Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded, as outlined in its decision memorandum, this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product

FDA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update Daily Roundup – August 24, 2020 (HERE)

·       The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to announce actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FEMA Announces Lost Wages Grant for Rhode Island (HERE)

·       FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor approved Rhode Island for a FEMA grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow Rhode Island to provide $300 per week – on top of their regular unemployment benefit – to those unemployed due to COVID-19.

FEMA Announces Lost Wages Grant for Kentucky (HERE)

·       FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor approved Kentucky for a FEMA grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. The grant funding will allow Kentucky to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $400 per week ($100 in state funds, $300 in federal funds), on top of their regular unemployment benefit. 

IRS: Deadline to Return Distributions to Retirement Accounts is Aug. 31 (HERE)

·       The Internal Revenue Service today reminds IRA owners, beneficiaries or workplace retirement plan participants who received a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) this year that they have until August 31 to rollover or repay the distribution to avoid paying taxes.

Trump Administration Invests $46 Million in Rural Community Facilities in 16 States (HERE)

·       The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $46 million to improve critical community facilities to benefit 363,000 rural residents in 16 states.

ICYMI: U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Help American Workers and Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic (HERE)

·        Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor took a range of actions to aid American workers and employers as our nation combats the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Department Of Labor Issues Guidance to Clarify Employers’ Obligations to Track Teleworkers’ Compensable Hours (HERE)

·       With telework arrangements expanding in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) today issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-5 to clarify an employer’s obligation to track the number of hours of compensable work performed by employees who are teleworking or otherwise working away from premises controlled by their employers.

Florida Restaurant Chain Pays $115,966 in Back Wages After Coronavirus Closures Lead to Missed Payroll (HERE)

·       After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Hurricane Wings Management LLC – a restaurant chain based in West Palm Beach, Florida – has paid $115,966 in back wages to 160 employees for minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at two locations.

Secretary DeVos Fully Implements President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum Extending Student Loan Relief to Borrowers Through End of Year (HERE)

·       Acting on President Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Memorandum signed August 8, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today directed Federal Student Aid (FSA) to extend the student loan relief to borrowers initiated by the President and Secretary in March 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Secretary DeVos Issues New Distance Learning Regulations to Spur High-Quality Distance and Competency-Based Programs, Better Serve Diverse Population of Higher Education Students (HERE)

·       U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued final rules today that govern distance learning in higher education and promote educational innovation to better serve the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students. While work on the Distance Learning and Innovation regulation started more than a year ago, the COVID-19 national emergency underscores the need for students to have access to high-quality remote learning options.

U.S. Department of Energy Issues Small Business Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement (HERE)

·       Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued its first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) subject to Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations. DOE recognizes the important role that small businesses play in driving innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy.

Trump EPA Approves First-Ever Long-Lasting Antiviral Product for Use Against COVID-19 (HERE)

·       Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a groundbreaking development in the Trump Administration’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus. In a first-of-its kind step, EPA has issued an emergency exemption to the state of Texas permitting it to allow American Airlines and Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine to use a new product that kills coronavirus like the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces for up to seven days.

U.S. Department of Commerce Continues to Invest Cares Act Funding to Boost Economic Development Programs Critical to Helping Communities Respond to Coronavirus (HERE)

·       EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

VA rolls out new patient-appointment tool, as part of electronic health record modernization transformation (HERE)

·       The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a new appointment scheduling tool Aug. 21 at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System to make medical visits more efficient for care providers and Veterans. A critical component of VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) effort, the Centralized Scheduling Solution (CSS) will be implemented at all VA health facilities to expedite patient-care coordination throughout the department.

For the most up-to-date information, please see the CDC’s website: www.coronavirus.gov.