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COVID-19 News Updates – March 27, 2020

News updates on COVID-19, March 27, 2020:

White House COVID-19 Updates

  • President Trump Signs the CARES Act (Remarks, Bill Announcement, Statement by the President, Video)
  • EO on Delegating Additional Authority Under the DPA with Respect to Health and Medical Resources (HERE)
  • EO to Order the Selected Reserve and Certain Members of the Individual Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty (HERE)
  • Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding General Motors Company (Text, Statement)
  • President Trump Declares Disaster Declaration in Puerto Rico and South Carolina

Statement by Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on the Passage of the CARES Act (HERE)

“I am pleased that Congress has passed the CARES Act, the largest economic relief package in history for hardworking Americans and businesses that, through no fault of their own, have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.”

Secretary Azar Statement on President Trump's Signing of the CARES Act (HERE)

  • “Congress has responded to the President’s call for ambitious legislation to support our economy and bolster our pandemic response. The CARES Act will protect Americans’ health and economic well-being during these uncertain times by providing broad support for families, individuals, and businesses that are facing hardship.”

 Secretary Perdue Statement on Coronavirus Rescue Package (HERE)

  • “The passage of the Coronavirus response legislation will provide much needed relief to Americans across this country, especially workers and small-business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19. President Trump has made the safety and security of the American people a top priority during this national emergency, and this bill will help make Americans more financially secure.”

 CDC Statement on Self-Quarantine Guidance for Greater NYC Transportation and Delivery Workers (HERE)

  • When we issued the self-quarantining guidance for greater New York City residents leaving this area, it was out of an abundance of caution to help protect U.S. areas with lower levels of COVID-19 spread. In line with our recommendations for other essential critical infrastructure workers, this guidance does not apply to critical transportation and delivery workers who are desperately needed for New York residents to continue their daily lives and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 Trump Administrations Approves 34th State Request for Medicaid Emergency Waivers (HERE)

  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved its 34th state Medicaid waiver request under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act.  Granting these waivers is made possible by the President’s national emergency declaration to ensure that CMS is providing state partners with the maximum flexibility needed to care for Medicaid beneficiaries during the coronavirus public health emergency.

 FDA Takes Action to Help Increase U.S. Supply of Ventilators and Respirators for Protection of Health Care Workers, Patients (HERE)

  • The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow for the emergency use in health care settings of certain ventilators, anesthesia gas machines modified for use as ventilators, and positive pressure breathing devices modified for use as ventilators (collectively referred to as “ventilators”), ventilator tubing connectors, and ventilator accessories that the FDA determines meet specified criteria for safety, performance and labeling. FDA’s daily roundup for 3/27 can be found here.

 FEMA Administrator March 27, 2020, letter to Emergency Managers Requesting Action on Critical Steps (HERE)

  • The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed our daily lives and our profession in a matter of weeks. Together with our public health colleagues, we work as a team to battle the nationwide effects of this virus.

 DOL: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers (HERE)

  • As provided under the legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor will be issuing implementing regulations. Additionally, as warranted, the Department will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.

 State Department: Important Announcement on H2 Visas (HERE)

  • In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. 

 U.S. Foreign Assistance in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (HERE)

  • The U.S. government has rapidly mobilized unprecedented resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, both at home and abroad. Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has made available nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding. Along with the U.S. private sector, the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic.

 Department of State Coronavirus Repatriation Statistics (HERE)

  • The Department of State is rising to meet the historic challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, every day, all over the world. The U.S. Government has no higher priority than the protection of American citizens.

 The United States Is Leading the Humanitarian and Health Assistance Response to COVID-19 (HERE)

  • The U.S. Government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are mobilizing all necessary resources to respond rapidly, both at home and abroad.

Secretary Perdue Applauds State Department’s H-2 Decision (HERE)

  • USDA has been directly engaged with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure minimal disruption in H-2A and H-2B visa applications during these uncertain times. This Administration is doing everything possible to maintain continuity of this critically important program. These flexibilities will allow our farmers and ranchers to utilize workers they have used in the past, or those who are already in the U.S., to get our food from the farm to our tables.

Rural Development COVID-19 Response (HERE)

  • USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

EPA Announces Steps to Protect the Availability of Gasoline during COVID-19 Pandemic (HERE)

  • EPA intends to provide additional flexibility to the marketplace to transition from winter-grade, high volatility gasoline to summer-grade low vapor pressure gasoline. Due to the steep fall-off in gasoline demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, gasoline storage capacity is limited and more time is needed to transition the distribution system in order to come into compliance for the summer driving season.

EPA Urges States to Support Drinking Water and Wastewater Operations during COVID-19 (HERE)

  • Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Governors in all 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C. urging them to ensure that drinking water and wastewater employees are considered essential workers by state authorities when enacting restrictions such as shelter in place orders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

VA Releases COVID-19 Response Plan (HERE)

  • The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made public, March 27, the COVID-19 Response Plan it is executing within its medical facilities to protect Veterans, their families and staff. VA deems the plan a valuable tool that’s useful for the nationwide medical community.

Army Leaders Detail Efforts Against Coronavirus (HERE)

  • Army leaders detailed how the service is deploying field hospitals to New York and Seattle, and what the Army is doing to ensure its missions continue.

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