For the most up-to-date information from the United States Government on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 site.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Updated 3.17.20)
CDC is implementing its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts, including providing specific guidance on measures to prepare businesses and communities to respond to local spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Latest key guidance: CDC recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the U.S.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (Updated 3.16.20)
In response to the administration’s national emergency declaration, HHS is authorized to waive certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program program requirements and conditions of participation under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act once the president declares an emergency through the Stafford Act or National Emergency Act, and the secretary declares a Public Health Emergency.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued a PHE on January 31, 2020. As a result of this authority, CMS will activate blanket waivers, which will ease certain requirements for impacted providers.
These waivers will allow CMS to take several key administrative actions in response to the national emergency declaration:
Waivers and Flexibilities for Hospitals and other Healthcare Facilities: CMS will temporarily waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP requirements.
CMS will also issue several blanket waivers and the CMS Regional Offices will review other provider-specific requests. These waivers provide continued access to care for beneficiaries.
Provider Enrollment Flexibilities: CMS will temporarily suspend certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements including site visits and fingerprinting for non-certified Part B suppliers, physicians and non-physician practitioners.
In addition, CMS will allow licensed providers to render services outside their state of enrollment.
Flexibility and Relief for State Medicaid Agencies: The national emergency declaration also enables CMS to grant state and territorial Medicaid agencies a wider range of flexibilities under section 1135 waivers.
States and territories are now encouraged to assess their needs and request these available flexibilities, which are outlined in the Medicaid and CHIP Disaster Response Toolkit.
Examples of flexibility available to states under section 1135 waivers include the ability to permit out-of-state providers to render services, temporarily suspend certain provider enrollment and revalidation requirements to promote access to care, allow providers to provide care in alternative settings, waive prior authorization requirements, and temporarily suspend certain pre-admission and annual screenings for nursing home residents.
Suspension of Enforcement Activities: CMS will temporarily suspend non-emergency survey inspections, allowing providers to focus on the most current serious health and safety threats, like infectious diseases and abuse.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Updated 3.16.20)
CFPB has established guidance for individuals experiencing difficulties meeting financial obligations as a response to COVID-19.
Department of Agriculture (Updated 3.16.20)
USDA announced proactive flexibilities to allow meal service during school closures to minimize potential exposure to the coronavirus.
During an unexpected school closure, schools can leverage their participation in one of USDA’s summer meal programs to provide meals at no cost to students. Under normal circumstances, those meals must be served in a group setting.
However, in a public health emergency, the law allows USDA the authority to waive the group setting meal requirement, which is vital during a social distancing situation.
USDA has already begun to issue waivers to ease program operations and protect the health of participants. As of today, USDA has been asked to waive congregate feeding requirements from Connecticut.
Department of Defense (Updated 3.16.20)
DOD issued a travel ban on both international and domestic travel. Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist signed a memorandum halting all domestic travel, to include permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11.
The ban is in addition to restrictions on all DOD military and civilian personnel and their families traveling to, from, or through areas for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice.
That policy also stops PCS and TDY travel through May.
As of today, the Level 3 countries are: China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.
Department of Health and Human Services (Updated 3.16.20)
HHS has issued various guidance in response to COVID-19, including travel bans and mass gatherings.
This interim guidance is intended for organizers and staff responsible for planning mass gatherings or large community events in the United States.
A mass gathering is a planned or spontaneous event with a large number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event, such as a concert, festival, conference, or sporting event.
Department of Homeland Security (Updated 3.16.20)
DHS has provided direct support to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention efforts by conducting enhanced health screening at 11 major airports.
At and between all air, land and sea ports of entry, CBP officers, and Border Patrol Agents continue to identify and refer individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or a travel history to China or Iran in the past 14 days to CDC or local public health officials for enhanced health screening.
Department of Labor (Updated 3.16.20)
DOL has issued guidance related to preparedness in the workplace, Fair Labor Standard Act, Family Medical Leave, and unemployment insurance.
Department of State (Updated 3.16.20)
The administration is deploying the full range of U.S. resources to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 not just at home, but also across the globe.
The U.S. is prepared to spend up to $100 million in existing State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funds to assist affected and at-risk countries to contain and combat the virus.
USAID has already committed $37 million in assistance and protective equipment for more than 25 countries around the world.
Additionally, the U.S. has offered to provide humanitarian assistance and medical supplies to the Iranian people, who, as of March 3, have suffered from the largest number of deaths outside of the PRC.
The U.S. Department of State has facilitated the delivery of medical supplies internationally to stem the spread of the disease, including transport of 17.8 tons of donated relief supplies to Hubei province in China.
Environmental Protection Agency (Updated 3.16.20)
EPA has issued guidance on disinfectants effective in protecting individuals from COVID-19.
EPA has also issued a report on illness not affecting the water supply or contamination.
Federal Aviation Administration (Updated 3.16.20)
FAA has assisted DHS in issuing a Notice of Arrival Restrictions outlining the process for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home after recently visiting certain European countries, China, and Iran.
These European countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Effective for flights taking off at 11:59 pm EDT on Friday, March 13th, Americans returning from all restricted countries will now be required to travel through the following 13 airports:
- Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
- Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
- Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where they will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.
Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Updated 3.16.20)
Federal financial institution regulators and state regulators today encouraged financial institutions to meet the financial needs of customers and members affected by the coronavirus.
The agencies recognize the potential impact of the coronavirus on the customers, members, and operations of many financial institutions and will provide appropriate regulatory assistance to affected institutions subject to their supervision.
Food and Drug Administration (Updated 3.16.20)
FDA issued a new policy for certain laboratories seeking to develop diagnostic tests for coronavirus in order to achieve more rapid testing capacity in the U.S. FDA has been working with various labs to expedite testing kits.
Internal Revenue Service (Updated 3.17.20)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said March 17 taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve to file their 2019 income tax returns.
The IRS will also give filers 90 days to pay income taxes due on up to $1 million in tax owed, which impacts many pass-through entities and small businesses.
Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in taxes owed.
During that three-month deferral period, taxpayers will not be subject to interest and penalties.
The IRS advised that high-deductible health plans can pay for 2019 Novel COVID-19 related testing and treatment, without jeopardizing their status.
This also means that an individual with an HDHP that covers these costs may continue to contribute to a health savings account.
Health plans that otherwise qualify as HDHPs will not lose that status merely because they cover the cost of testing for or treatment of COVID-19 before plan deductibles have been met.
The IRS also noted that, as in the past, any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care and can be paid for by an HDHP.
The notice applies only to HSA-eligible HDHPs.
Employees and other taxpayers in any other type of health plan with specific questions about their own plan and what it covers should contact their plan.
Small Business Administration (Updated 3.16.20)
As of March 16, Connecticut small businesses are eligible for up to $2 million in U.S. Small Business Administration emergency relief loans.
Small businesses that do not have credit elsewhere can apply for loans at a 3.75% interest rate and receive flexible payback terms up to 30 years. The rate is 2.75% for nonprofits.
Small businesses can learn more about the loans here or by calling the SBA at 800.659.2955.