Coronavirus Update for Friday, March 19

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 19.

White House

Provider Relief Fund

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS announced that it will spend $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan to increase COVID-19 screening and testing to help schools reopen, increase testing in underserved populations, and provide new guidance on asymptomatic screening testing in schools, workplaces, and congregate settings.  Learn more from this HHS news release.  The CDC will administer $2.25 billion of this sum to increase testing in underserved populations; learn more about its plans in this CDC news release.
  • HHS announced that it will spend $150 million to increase access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments for patients in vulnerable communities across the country.  Assistance may include additional staffing, improved infusion center capacity in traditional and non-traditional health care settings, and equipment to administer intravenous infusion treatments. The effort also will seek to improve awareness among health care providers and patients about the treatment options available, including where and how to obtain them.  Learn more from this HHS announcement.

HHS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response sponsors COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice that are interactive virtual learning sessions that seek to create a peer-to-peer learning network in which clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes.  These webinar topics are covered every week:

  • EMS:  Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Critical Care:  Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Emergency Department:  Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)

Go here for information about signing up to participate in the sessions and go here for access to materials and video recordings of past sessions.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Government Accountability Office

  • The GAO has published a new report, “COVID-19 in Nursing Homes,” in which it notes that HHS has taken steps in response to the pandemic but that several GAO recommendations have not been implemented.  See the report’s highlight and the entire report itself.