CDC updates COVID-19 transmission webpage to clarify information about types of spread

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 17:50
CDC actively reviews our website to make sure the content is accessible and clear for all types of audiences. As a result of one such review, edits were made to the organization of the COVID-19 transmission page, including adding a headline in an attempt to clarify other types of spread beyond person to person. This change was intended to make it easier to read, and was not a result of any new science.

CDC Releases Recommendations for Communities of Faith

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 14:45
Across America, states and localities are experiencing different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many state and local officials have determined to begin moving gradually and strategically toward reopening their regions. Today, CDC published guidance to help prevent exposures to COVID-19 in facilities used by communities of faith and to keep their staff and attendees as healthy as possible as they exercise their faith.

CDC Health Scientist wins 2019 Arthur S. Flemming Award

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 13:45
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Control (CDC) health scientist Duncan R. MacCannell, PhD, has been named a winner of the 2019 Arthur S. Flemming Award.

Museums, Sports Arenas Step up to Help Fill Blood Needs During Pandemic

American Red Cross - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:51

We are so grateful to the many organizations who have stepped up to help host blood drives during this pandemic. Instead of museums and sports arenas swarming with visitors and sports fans, they have been filled with generous (and socially distanced) blood donors for the past couple of months. This kind of support and compassion has helped us collect lifesaving blood donations during this coronavirus pandemic for patients in need.

Since March, tens of thousands of blood drives have been canceled because people have been working remotely and practicing social distancing. More than 80% of blood donations are made at blood drives, which is why blood drive hosts like these play an important role in helping us ensure blood is available for patients at about 2,500 hospitals across the country.

See how communities, organizations and sports teams across the country have come together to support patients during COVID-19 and learn how you can host a blood drive of your own.

The Red Cross was front and center, ready to meet blood donors that filled the Los Angeles Football Club in Los Angeles, CA to donate blood. Generous donors sat close to the field as they made lifesaving blood donations in Atlanta, GA.  Photo credit: Jim Blackburn The Navy Pier in Chicago, IL lent its space and its Ferris wheel to the Red Cross to ensure blood needs are met during this pandemic. Blood donors were welcomed in the sanctuary of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC to roll up a sleeve and donate blood. Sports fans became blood donors during a recent blood drive at Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN. Views of artifacts and life-size elephants were on display during a recent blood drive at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. We’re All in This Together

During these uncertain times, it’s important to rally for patients in need – we’re all in this together! Come give blood May 15-31 and receive a Red Cross T-shirt by mail, while supplies last!* If you are feeling well, please make an appointment to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

*Offer applicable to presenting donors May 15-31, 2020, while supplies last. Offer subject to availability of donation opportunities in your area. Instructions on how to receive your T-shirt will be sent to the email address provided on your donor record approximately 14 days after attempted donation.

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National Missing Children’s Day 2020

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 02:00
In recognition of National Missing Children’s Day on May 25, we highlight the successful recovery of a missing Washington girl in Mexico as just one example of the work the FBI does every day to bring missing kids home to their families—and we couldn't do it without the public’s help.

CDC Investigation Notice - Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 15:20
A CDC investigation notice regarding a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry has been posted https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-05-20/index.html.

CDC releases resources to assist states to open

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 12:50
Across America, states and localities are experiencing different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have chosen to begin moving gradually and strategically toward resuming civic life. To help states, tribes, localities, and territories, as well as businesses and community organizations operate as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC released two new resources to aide in reopening.

Preparing the Nation for the 2020 Hurricane Season

FEMA - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:56
Author:  Administrator Pete Gaynor

Since March 18, FEMA has led the whole-of-America response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have worked with state, local, tribal and territorial partners, as well as non-governmental organizations and the private sector to fight COVID-19. We have helped deliver millions of supplies, provided over $1.6 billion in disaster relief funds and expanded testing capabilities across the country. The lessons we have learned along the way are essential to the new challenges we face as we enter the hurricane seasons.

Our agency has been making extensive efforts not only to continue normal disaster preparations, but to also prepare for those disasters while the COVID-19 response continues. These efforts may look different as we practice social distancing and continue to slow the spread. To prepare for these new challenges, we released the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season. This guidance will help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for the upcoming hurricane season while continuing to respond to COVID-19.

The guidance outlines the anticipated challenges to disaster operations posed by the pandemic and highlights planning considerations based on those challenges. It also outlines how we plan to adapt response and recovery operations to create a shared understanding of expectations between FEMA and emergency managers. It includes guidance, checklists and resources to support emergency managers as they adapt their response and recovery planning during this COVID environment.

While the document focuses on the 2020 hurricane season, most planning considerations can be applied to any disaster operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as, flooding, wildfires and more.

In addition to providing guidance, we are actively preparing our workforce and putting plans in place to support state, local, tribal and territorial partners in responding to disasters. These efforts include:

  • Sheltering: We are working with partners on their locally implemented, state-managed, and federally supported sheltering planning efforts to ensure the safety and security of all.
  • Establishing virtual operations: We have established virtual Joint Field Offices and National and Regional Coordination Centers. These virtual response centers allow us to serve communities after a disaster while still practicing social distancing.
  • Inspections: Whenever possible, we will conduct virtual inspections for the agency’s Individual Assistance grants. In addition, joint Preliminary Damage Assessments for Public Assistance may also be conducted remotely.
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance: In coordination with state, local, tribal and territorial partners, we will determine the use of Disaster Recovery Centers or Disaster Survivor Assistance teams in accordance with the phased reopening of an impacted area. We may use online and phone registration, as well as virtual assessments to ensure program delivery.

Our team is more prepared than ever to face new and old challenges, to work with our government and non-government partners and to plan for disasters. We are ready. We are FEMA.

HHS Delivers Funding to Expand Testing Capacity for States, Territories, Tribes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Mon, 05/18/2020 - 17:10
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delivering $11 billion in new funding to support testing for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC's existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement.

Five Questions in Five Minutes with Ryan Wallace, EMS Instructor

American Red Cross - Mon, 05/18/2020 - 13:53

This EMS Week 2020 (May 17 – May 23), we want to recognize emergency medical services (EMS) workers who help carry out our mission by providing assistance during disasters and lifesaving training. We also want to thank these first responders for all they are doing to help during the COVID-19 crisis, and highlight that important work.

We reached out to Ryan Wallace, a paramedic and a Red Cross Instructor, to learn more about his work as an EMS provider. Here he answers five questions in five minutes.

How did you get involved in this profession?

“I come from a family of public servants. My stepdad is a cop and my mom is a paramedic. They met at the scene of a car accident. At 16, my mother signed me up for a certified first responder class. The anatomy, physiology, operations and teamwork were very appealing to me as a teen, and I’ve held a certification ever since.”

What do you think would surprise people about the EMS profession?

“EMTs and paramedics are highly trained and highly motivated. You can’t just hop on an ambulance and start driving. The foundation of our education is a semester-long, 6 credit plus lab college course that covers medical and trauma emergencies. I find that EMS is a gateway into healthcare; many EMS providers are often moving toward the next step in their career, be it nursing, firefighting, physical therapy or med school, to name a few.”

Ryan and his then infant son, who visited him at work. Have you ever saved a life?

“I’ve probably been on somewhere in the range of 5,000 calls and, like most EMS providers, have spent most of my time sustaining a patient until we transfer care or offering psychological first aid.

I had an interesting cardiac arrest call many years ago. I was in a rural area so there were only two of us in the rig – the driver up front and me in the back with the patient. She was having chest pains and the electrocardiogram (EKG), a test that measures the electrical activity of someone’s heartbeat, was difficult to interpret. About a third of the way to the hospital, she experienced cardiac arrest. I immediately started ventilations and CPR. With just one of us available to do CPR, she wasn’t going to last until the hospital, so we stopped at a fire department with medics who helped continue CPR as I defibrillated her. We got a pulse back and by the time we went to the hospital she was pushing the mask off her face. Then we finished our paperwork and went on to the next call.”

What goes through your mind as an EMS provider working through a pandemic?

“We are fighting an enemy we can’t see. As an EMS provider, you don’t know what you’re walking into. There are protocols in place, but at the end of the day, you have minimal information and are putting yourself at risk on every call. You’re in other people’s homes and around many people. Your family could get exposed. I worry about the physical and mental health of those providers, and I try to support them as much as I can.”

How can we support EMS providers?  

“As I’ve gotten further in my career as a healthcare provider, I have more appreciation for EMS Week. This is a good week to sign up for first aid and CPR training. Learn how to use an AED. Download the Red Cross First Aid App. You can use this knowledge not only to help someone who might need it, but to support the work of EMS providers when they arrive on the scene.”

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Police Week 2020: A Video Message from FPS Leadership

Department of Homeland Security - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 11:21
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Each year during Police Week, we gather to pay tribute to our fallen law enforcement officers. May 15 is National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day I personally hold near to my heart because it reflects the perseverance and very real sacrifice of law enforcement officers across America.

We typically mark this day of remembrance by gathering for a wreath-laying ceremony in the National Capital Region. As you know, this year has so far been anything but typical. While we cannot be together, that does not impact our ability or desire to pay our respects to FPS’ fallen. 

I encourage you to watch the following video message of myself and Principal Deputy Director Cline honoring the memories, devotion to duty, and ultimate sacrifice of the six FPS officers who died in the line of duty.


Our law enforcement officers continue to be on the front lines, protecting lives and securing federal facilities, regardless of what threats they may face, natural or manmade, physical or cyber.

I am humbled and proud of what our officers achieve day in, day out. I thank all of you for your service.

L. Eric Patterson, Director
Federal Protective Service​​

Topics: Homeland Security Enterprise, Law Enforcement Partnerships
Keywords: Federal Protective Service (FPS), Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Partnership, Police Week

Communities on the Frontline: Week of May 11

FEMA - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 06:30
Author:  FEMA Office of External Affairs

Around the world, communities are using innovative approaches to support coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts. Each week, FEMA is highlighting these extraordinary efforts so that other others can learn from and expand on them. This week focuses on how some communities are providing contactless or virtual solutions to new everyday problems.

Mobile Wi-Fi Vans

In San Antonio, vans equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi networks are dispatched to various locations in the city to enhance internet capabilities for students. The mobile hotspots provide free internet within a range of 100 to 200 feet. City residents accessing the network must observe social distancing guidelines. Vans are deployed based on an assessment of various factors. Some of these factors include student population in the area and areas that lack broadband internet access.

Virtual Tour App

In the Faroe Islands, a territory of Denmark that greatly relies on tourism, virtual visitors unable to travel during the coronavirus pandemic can use a free mobile application to visit the islands by "controlling" a local tour guide to create their own sight-seeing route. Camera-wearing locals will respond to sight-seeing commands from people at home. The tour guide app also has the capability to provide commentary.

Social Media Influencers Team Up with The Red Cross

The International Federation of the Red Cross recently announced that it is collaborating with social media influencers around the world to combat the spread of misinformation on COVID-19. Influencers who partner with the Red Cross will incorporate verified information and messaging into their creative content.

Drone Donation

A software company is donating dozens of drones to emergency responders across the country as part of its emergency response program. These drones can be used by police and fire departments to assess situations from afar and gain situational awareness. The company is also providing free training and support for the use of these drones.

These stories are part of the FEMA Best Practice initiative, which focuses on compiling the best practices and lessons learned from communities fighting COVID-19.  To see more stories like this, visit the Best Practices page.

Police Week 2020: DHS Leaders Run to Honor Law Enforcement

Department of Homeland Security - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:20
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The 2020 National Police Week 5K was held virtually in compliance with the recommendations of the CDC and other public health organizations. Senior leaders throughout the Department of Homeland Security ran to show support for our law enforcement partners across the country.


Topics: Border Security, Homeland Security Enterprise, Law Enforcement Partnerships, Preventing Terrorism
Keywords: Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), Police Week

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

FEMA - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 05:49
Author:  G. Keith Bryant, U.S. Fire Administrator

We are all adjusting to new schedules and routines due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One thing many of us have in common is we are spending more time at home which makes it especially important to prepare and protect our homes. As hotter, drier weather of summer approaches, the risk of wildfire increases.  While practicing social distancing, FEMA encourages you to make sure your home and your family are prepared for wildfires.

The United States Fire Administration promotes simple ways to prevent a fire from affecting your home and community, including:

  • Reduce amount of flammable materials and brush that can burn around your home by removing pine needles, dry leaves or other highly flammable materials.
  • Protect your roof: Trim branches that overhang your home and remove any leaves, needles, and sticks from your roof and gutters. 
  • Move wood piles and small propane tanks away from your (and your neighbor’s) home, 30 feet or more is best.
  • Embers from a burning fire can get under an unprotected porch or through vents. To prevent this, install a wire mesh screen with openings no larger than 1/8th inch.
     

Be prepared in case you need to evacuate:

  • Keep important documents in a fireproof safe, on a USB drive, or store password protected documents online.
  • Check your home insurance to make sure your policy protects your current home value and includes wildfires.
  • Give yourself time and evacuate early if possible. If you can’t leave, designate a room that can be closed off from outside air in case air conditions become hazardous.
  • Make your household emergency plan and go-kit.  When making plans, don’t forget the needs of pets.  Make sure that you know more than one way out of your neighborhood.
  • Sign up to receive emergency alerts and notices for your community.
  • Ready.gov offers vital safety tips on what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Another important thing to consider is buying flood insurance. After a wildfire, flood risk increases due to the inability of charred vegetation and soil to absorb water. Rainstorms after a wildfire lead to increased runoff down slopes and into channels, streams, and rivers.  Flooding after fire can be fast, severe, and include mudflows as runoff picks up debris, ash, and sediment from the burn scar. Flood insurance can protect property owners from catastrophic financial impacts of flooding following a wildfire.

Wildfires can develop and spread quickly, leaving little time to get somewhere safe. Know what to do to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe and take steps now to protect your future.

 

Health Care Fraud Ring Busted

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 02:25
A youth football coach and his co-conspirators have been sentenced for stealing millions of dollars from Medicaid by using children’s information to bill for fake mental health treatments.

Media Statement from Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Director; Dr. Steve Hahn, FDA Commissioner; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 13:05
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have together determined that government entities working in support of the COVID-19 response efforts are providing essential services and the current guidelines for critical infrastructure workers apply.

CDC scientists honored as 2020 Service to America Medal Finalists

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fri, 05/08/2020 - 07:20
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Control (CDC) scientists Dr. Vikram Krishnasamy, and Dr. Peter Briss and the 2019 Lung Injury Prevention Team, have been named finalists in the Partnership for Public Service's annual Service to America awards.

IC3 Marks 20 Years

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Fri, 05/08/2020 - 06:30
The crimes catalogued by the Internet Crime Complaint Center mirror the evolution of the web across two decades—growing in sophistication and number as the internet grows ever more essential to our lives.

Preparing for Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

FEMA - Fri, 05/08/2020 - 05:36
Author:  Carlos J. Castillo, Acting Deputy Administrator of Resilience

As you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to stay prepared for other disasters. Hurricane season begins on June 1, and the time to prepare is now.

FEMA continues to coordinate with state, local, tribal, and territorial officials, along with the private sector, to share operational guidance and to encourage hurricane planning that reflects public health guidelines. While many preparedness tools available to you are the same, certain actions may look different while COVID-19 remains a concern. FEMA has updated guidelines for preparing for hurricane season.

Know Your Evacuation Route

Check with local officials about updated evacuation shelters for this year. You should note that your regular shelter may not be open this year due to COVID-19. If you evacuate to a community shelter, follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you are able, bring items that can help protect you and others in the shelter from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old and people who have trouble breathing should not wear cloth face coverings. While at the shelter, be sure to wash your hands regularly. If possible, be sure to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet of space between you and people who aren’t members of your household.

Gather Supplies

Have enough food, water, and other supplies for every member of your family to last at least 72 hours. Consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors and prescription medications. In addition, it is recommended that you add two cloth face coverings per family member and cleaning items to your kit, like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Preparing now ensures that you are well-equipped to stay safe if you need to quickly grab your go kit and evacuate to a community shelter.

As you prepare, be mindful that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips and help to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently.

Make an Emergency Plan

Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Discuss the latest CDC guidance on COVID-19 and how it may affect your hurricane planning. Don’t forget a plan for the office, kids’ daycare, and anywhere you frequent.

Download the FEMA mobile app

Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. Available in English and Spanish, the app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

Visit Ready.gov for more tips. Disasters won’t wait. Neither should you.

You Can’t Control the Weather, but You Can Prepare for it

FEMA - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 06:00
Author:  Paul Huang, Assistant Administrator, Federal Insurance Directorate

As part of the National Weather Services’ Hurricane Preparedness Week, now is a good time to Get an Insurance Check-Up. With the 2020 hurricane season quickly approaching, FEMA encourages you to renew or purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to protect your home and belongings ahead of the next storm.

Where it can rain, it can flood.

The NFIP understands that a home is a safe structure. Now more than ever, it is important that you keep your home safe and secure for your peace of mind. 

A property does not have to be near water to flood. In fact, people outside of high-risk flood areas filed 40% of all NFIP flood insurance claims between 2015 and 2019. Floods can result from storms, hurricanes, changes to the landscape as the result of new construction or wildfires and urban drainage systems overwhelmed by excessive water flow.

Just one inch of water in an average-sized home can cause $25,000 of damage. Without flood insurance, most residents have to pay out of pocket or take out loans to repair and replace damaged items.

Prepare for the Next Weather Event

The NFIP understands that a home is a safe structure. Now more than ever, it is important that you keep your home safe and secure for your peace of mind. 

Flood insurance is a key piece of the preparedness puzzle. It’s important to remember that homeowners or renters insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage. Flood insurance helps cover the cost of flood damage and allows you to recover. This is true whatever the cause of the flood — heavy rains, a blocked creek, inadequate drainage or an overtopped levee.

Typically, it takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to go into effect so it’s important to act now. If you have flood insurance, now is a good time to review your coverage with your insurance agent to be sure you have the coverage you need.

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

 

Plan Ahead

Natural disasters are often unpredictable. You should take the necessary precautions to reduce the potential for flood damage to your home. 

  • Keep important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.) in a safe, dry place.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts, make sure basements are waterproofed and ensure the sump pump is working.
  • Reduce the risk of damage from flooding by elevating critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances and heating systems. 

You can’t always predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it by purchasing a flood insurance policy from the NFIP. To learn more about the benefits of flood insurance, or to find a local flood insurance provider, visit FloodSmart.gov.

The NFIP understands that a home is a safe structure. Now more than ever, it is important that you keep your home safe and secure for your peace of mind.