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Weekly Update: DHS Response to COVID-19

Release Date: 
July 13, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security and its committed workforce cross more than a dozen offices. As we continue to remain focused on security and safety for the American people, components have been working in concert with the White House to execute an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“CBP continues to tackle and take decisive action to respond to the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including enforcement of CDC’s Title 42 authorities, which allow us to immediately expel illegal border crossers. These actions allowed CBP to immediately remove nearly 90 percent of illegal border encounters, minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19, therefore protecting and saving American lives,” said Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez of U.S. Custom and Border Protection.

Below is a list of some of DHS’s efforts against COVID-19 last week:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Getting American Citizens Home Safe. As of July 9th, CBP had referred 419,725 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to CWMD for enhanced health screening since February 2nd.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Continued Support in Federal Response. On July 7th, CISA continued to share the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) ransomware poster information with 911 Administrators from across the country. The poster provides comprehensive information to stakeholders on how to protect public safety answering points (PSAPs) and emergency communications centers (ECCs) from ransomware.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Providing Critical Funding and Personal Protective Equipment. As of July 10th, FEMA and HHS have obligated $133.6 billion in support of COVID-19 efforts. As of July 10th, FEMA and HHS have coordinated the delivery of 102.9 million N95 respirators, 159.3 million surgical masks, 16.9 million face shields, 74.5 million surgical gowns/coveralls, and 139.4 million gloves.

Supporting Administration’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy. FEMA continues to source and procure testing material – specifically, testing swabs and transport media – to support the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Administration’s Testing Blueprint. As of July 13th, FEMA has procured and delivered 32.9 million swabs and 25.2 million units of media. The FEMA-sourced material began shipping in early May to states, territories, and tribes for a limited duration to help increase testing capacity in support of individualized state, territorial, and tribal plans and distribution strategies.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

COVID-19 Updates. On July 6th, in an effort to keep staff, participating organizations and students informed, FLETC shared their weekly updated COVID-19 report. The report outlines the positive COVID-19 cases across the FLETC enterprise and guidelines to resume safe training.

Science and Technology (S&T)

Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On June 10th, Science and Technology updated its Master Question List (MQL) a compilation of available research on operationally relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. A new entry refers to work that USAMRIID research published in bioRxiv, which shows that aerosol exposure of three primate species (African green monkeys, cynomolgus macaques, and rhesus macaques) via a Collison Nebulizer resulted in mild clinical disease in all animals with doses between 28,700 and 48,600 PFU, and phylogenetic and clinical analysis suggests that a specific mutation in a protein is associated with higher rates of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but there was no change in clinical severity in infected patients. To date, access of MQL has exceeded 46,000 views.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between July 5th and July 11th, TSA screened more than 4,838,988 passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection while on duty at the checkpoint and the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system, in support of air travel and all other modes of transportation.

Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On July 7th, TSA Administrator Pekoske held an employee town hall from Boston Logan International to thank TSA employee for their hard work and spotlight the agency’s “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign. This campaign outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and support healthy and secure summer travel.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of July 10th, the USCG is tracking 67 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with 14,702 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 244 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 37 vessels The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of July 10th, as part of OSP, the agency has made 46 criminal arrests, analyzed 48,256 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $6.9 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 42 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,156 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 66 search warrants and made 857 COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more. COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD)

Enhanced Screenings at Airports. CWMD contract personnel are continuing to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with enhanced screenings for travelers through 15 specially designated airports. As of July 11th, CWMD has processed more than 435,019 travelers for enhanced screening, including 1567 who were referred to CDC for further medical evaluation.

Additional Information

 

Last Published Date: July 21, 2020
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