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COVID-19 News Updates – March 24, 2020

COVID-19 News Updates from March 24, 2020

Statement by Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Essential Financial Services Workers (HERE)

·       “I strongly support the Department of Homeland Security’s recent guidance identifying financial services sector workers as essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response emergency.”

DOL Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HERE)

·       Today, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration CDL Waiver (HERE)

·       FMCSA grants, until June 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. You can find the Enforcement Notice here.

HHS Awards $100 Million to Health Centers for COVID-19 Response (HERE)

·       Today, HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded $100 million to 1,381 health centers across the country with funding provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.

CMS Approves Medicaid Section 1135 Waivers for 11 Additional States in Response to COVID-19 (HERE)

·       The waivers were approved within days of states’ submitting them, and offer states new flexibilities to focus their resources on combatting the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries in their states. These waivers support President Trump’s commitment to operating a COVID-19 response that is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.

FDA Takes Action to Increase U.S. Supplies Through Instructions for PPE and Device Manufacturers (HERE)

·       Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took action to increase U.S. supplies to support the U.S. response to COVID-19 by providing instructions to manufacturers importing personal protective equipment and other devices.

Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 FAQs (HERE)

·       In food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments, an evaluation should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation. However, social distancing to the full 6 feet will not be possible in some food facilities.

FDA Helps Facilitate Veterinary Telemedicine During Pandemic (HERE)

·       As part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing commitment to combatting the coronavirus pandemic and providing flexibility across FDA-regulated industries, the agency announced today that it intends to temporarily not enforce certain requirements in order to allow veterinarians to better utilize telemedicine to address animal health needs during the pandemic.

FDA and EMA Collaborate to Facilitate SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Development (HERE)

·       On March 18, the FDA and the European Medicines Agency jointly chaired the first global regulators meeting to discuss regulatory strategies to facilitate the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

FHFA Moves to Provide Eviction Suspension Relief for Renters in Multifamily Properties (HERE)

·       Today, to keep renters in multifamily properties in their home and to support multifamily property owners during the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is announcing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus.

FHFA Directs Enterprises to Grant Flexibilities for Appraisal and Employment Verifications (HERE)

·       Today, to facilitate liquidity in the mortgage market during the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through May 17, 2020.​

DOJ and FTC Announce Expedited Antitrust Procedure and Guidance for Coronavirus Public Health Efforts (HERE)

·       The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission today issued a joint statement detailing an expedited antitrust procedure and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses working to protect the health and safety of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOAA Fisheries Issues Emergency Action to Waive Observer Coverage on a Case-by-Case Basis (HERE)

·       Today, in response to the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries issued an emergency action to provide the authority, on a case-by-case basis, to waive observer coverage, some training, and other program requirements while meeting conservation needs and providing an ongoing supply of fish to markets.

DOD Aims to Fill Medical Gaps with Military While States, Cities Ramp Up (HERE)

·       The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy will go to Los Angeles to help relieve pressure on hospitals there so they can focus more on COVID-19 patients, Secretary Esper said. Esper said in the next couple of weeks, the USNS Comfort, currently at Norfolk, Virginia, will head to New York City for the same purpose. The crew and staff there, he said, are preparing for that mission.

Esper Lists DOD’s Top Priorities During COVID-19 Pandemic (HERE)

·       Protecting the Defense Department's people, maintaining military readiness and supporting the whole-of-government interagency response are DOD's top three priorities amid the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary Esper said.

Department of State’s Global Effort to Bring Americans Home (HERE)

·       As of today, we have repatriated more than 9,000 Americans from 28 countries. Our teams, working around-the-clock in Washington and overseas, will bring home thousands more in the coming days, from every region of the world.

After OPM Action, VA Invites Retired Medical Personnel Back to Work (HERE)

·       The Office of Personnel Management approved a request from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), March 19, to waive a section of federal law that governs retired VA workers. The waiver makes it easier for the department to rehire retired VA health care workers and will help VA health care facilities bolster their medical staffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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