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Weekly Update: DHS Response to COVID-19

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its weekly update, detailing individual component’s latest efforts against COVID-19:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

As of July 9, CBP had referred 419,725 travelers at the 15 funneling airports to CWMD for enhanced health screening since February 2.

CBP continues to enforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Title 42 authorities, which allow the agency 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.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

On July 7, 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)

As of July 10, FEMA and HHS have obligated $133.6 billion in support of COVID-19 efforts. As of July 10, 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.

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 13, 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)

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

Science and Technology (S&T)

On June 10, S&T 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)

Between July 5 and July 11, 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.

On July 7, TSA Administrator Pekoske held an employee town hall from Boston Logan International to thank TSA employees for their hard work and spotlight the agency’s “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign. The 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)

As of July 10, 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)

ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations’ (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 10, 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 include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD)

CWMD contract personnel are continuing to support CDC with enhanced screenings for travelers through 15 specially designated airports. As of July 11, CWMD has processed more than 435,019 travelers for enhanced screening, including 1567 who were referred to CDC for further medical evaluation.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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