Readout from Vice President’s Governors Briefing on COVID-19 Response & Best Practices 19 August

Today, Vice President Mike Pence led a discussion with the chief executives of approximately 50 States, territories, and the city of Washington, DC, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss local, State, and Federal Coronavirus response and recovery best practices.

Vice President Pence provided an update on COVID-19 response and discussed best practices with our Nation’s governors on limiting Coronavirus spread, including encouraging Americans to adhere to state and local guidelines and to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained. The Vice President discussed the Federal governments support for nursing homes, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidance on encouraging schools to reopen in safe ways this Fall, and supporting States’ efforts at protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Additionally, Vice President Pence announced that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would be releasing updated Critical Infrastructure Workforce guidance to include those who teach and support our Nation’s children, to ensure they have a safe work environment.

Ambassador Birx provided an updated on trends and data and discussed her upcoming travel to West Virginia and recapped her other recent travel to Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Birx highlighted the efforts of Nebraska to protect seniors and of Kansas to utilize pool testing as schools begin to reopen.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Verma provided an update on actions to protect America’s most vulnerable and highlighted best practices in long-term care settings. Specifically, CMS will begin requiring nursing homes to test staff on a weekly basis, and advise nursing homes in communities with greater than 10% test positivity rate to test two times per week, if possible. Additionally, CMS will be releasing a national training video for nursing home staff that must be viewed in order for provider relief funds to be drawn down.

Admiral Giroir provided an update on testing support in nursing homes: nearly 3,600 antigen test machines have been distributed to nursing homes, and the goal of delivering an antigen test machine to every nursing home in the Nation will be completed by mid- to late-September.

Real Admiral Polowczyk provided an update on PPE supplies for nursing homes, including sending N95 respirators from the Strategic National Stockpile to nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar provided an update on Operation Warp Speed, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year. Operation Warp Speed is a strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

CDC Director Robert Redfield provided an update on school reopening guidance as schools across the country are beginning their fall semesters.

Federal Participants:
  • The Vice President
  • Secretary Azar, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
  • Administrator Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health, (HHS)
  • Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Joint Chiefs of Staff, DOD
  • Director Redfield, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since January 2020, the Trump Administration has led nearly 340 briefings – including 34 governors’ briefings – with over 155,000 State, local, and Tribal participants.

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