DHS CWMD is aiding the aggressive interagency response to detect and mitigate the virus and minimize risk to the Homeland.
As part of the Department’s mission of protecting the homeland against communicable diseases and other health security threats, DHS CWMD implemented a capability to provide enhanced entry screening at multiple airports throughout the country in response to the Ebola virus threat emerging from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018. Through these efforts in preparedness and readiness, the Department was able to leverage this capability to quickly address COVID-19 in support of CDC’s current entry screening operations at key U.S. airports. By making contingencies for Ebola that could also be adapted for responding to other infectious diseases, DHS was well-prepared to support CDC’s COVID-19 screenings through a whole-of-government approach.
DHS CWMD’s early involvement in the COVID-19 screening process helped ease the burden on CDC medical professionals who would be tasked with medical screening. DHS CWMD-contracted medical personnel are currently conducting enhanced entry screenings at 13 U.S. airports, ensuring there are trained, vetted, and badged personnel supplementing CDC’s efforts to screen incoming passengers. DHS CWMD’s enhanced screening capability may be expanded to other locations based on need. DHS will continue monitoring this evolving situation and provide necessary support to continue protecting the American people.
The DHS CWMD National Biosurveillance Integration Center continues to maintain close coordination with DHS component agencies and the Department’s USG partners. NBIC generates and distributes daily updates to thousands of federal, state, and local partners to apprise them of the situation, allowing them to make informed decisions. NBIC further supports CDC and CBP operations by analyzing passenger travel data relevant to the movement of persons out of impacted areas globally. Further, NBIC is engaging with the interagency and academic modeling community to provide insight into travel patterns into the U.S., and to learn the potential impacts of COVID-19 on homeland security.