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COVID-19 News Updates – March 21, 2020

The following are major news updates about COVID-19 for March 21, 2020.

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak (HERE)

  • Following President Donald J. Trump’s emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

FDA provides guidance on production of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help boost supply, protect public health (HERE)

  • As part of the FDA’s ongoing commitment to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has issued two guidance documents to communicate its policy for the temporary manufacture of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products.

FDA allows expanded use of devices to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely (HERE)

  • Today, as part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak, the agency issued a new policy that allows manufacturers of certain FDA-cleared non-invasive, vital sign-measuring devices to expand their use so that health care providers can use them to monitor patients remotely.

CMS Approves Washington State’s Request for 1135 Medicaid Waivers (HERE)

  • Today, CMS approved an 1135 Medicaid waiver request for the state of Washington.  The state submitted its request for 1135 waiver authority on March 15, 2020 and in keeping with CMS’s commitment to ensure our state partners have the tools they need to combat COVID-19, the agency acted within days to approve a wide variety of Medicaid flexibilities.

Joint Statement on US-Canada Joint Initiative: Temporary Restriction of Travelers Crossing the US-Canada Land Border for Non-Essential Purposes (HERE)

  • The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.

Joint Statement on US-Mexico Joint Initiative to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic (HERE)

  • Recognizing the robust trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, we agree our two countries, in response to the ongoing global and regional health situation, require particular measures both to protect bilateral trade and our countries’ economies and ensure the health of our nations’ citizens. We agree to the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along our shared border. 

Defense Health Officials Detail COVID-19 Aid Effort (HERE)

  • Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Navy Surgeon General Rear Adm. (Dr.) Bruce L. Gillingham told Pentagon reporters today that the military medical establishment is looking at all ways to support Americans.

USDA: Secretary Perdue Salutes the Heroes in the U.S. Food Supply Chain (VIDEO)

  • “And for all you people from the people who are stocking those shelves, from the people who are driving the trucks to get this food to us, the people who are processing the food and the people who grow the food and all the vendors that supplied our farmers to help them grow this food whether it’s fertilizer or feed or seed or any other input. Thank you so much for what you’re doing.”

Helping Students Adversely Affected by School Closures, Secretary DeVos Announces Broad Flexibilities for States to Cancel Testing During National Emergency (HERE)

  • Secretary DeVos announced today students impacted by school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year.

Delivering on President Trump's Promise, Secretary DeVos Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest During National Emergency (HERE)

  • Secretary DeVos announced today that the office of Federal Student Aid is executing on President Donald J. Trump's promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency. 

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to States

Administrator Wheeler Meets with Disinfectant Manufacturers Highlighting Agency Work to Fight Coronavirus (HERE)

  • Today, EPA Administrator Wheeler hosted a series of conference calls with large and small disinfectant manufacturers, including members of the Consumer Brands Association and the Household & Commercial Products Association. On the calls they discussed the agency’s expanded and expedited work in response to the outbreak under the Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides.

In Case You Missed It: Secretary Carson Applauds Governor for Taking Action To Protect Homeless (HERE)

  • Today, Secretary Carson praised California Governor Gavin Newsom’s actions to provide unsheltered homeless populations with emergency housing options to protect them and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

VA national cemeteries to adjust operations in response to COVID-19 (HERE)

  • All U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs national cemeteries are open and will continue to provide interments for Veterans and eligible individuals. However, effective March 23 — as part of the agency’s response to the coronavirus — committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors will discontinue until further notice.