Jamie Holt, acting special agent in charge of internal security investigations, immigration and customs department, which manages about 130 employees in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, shared his thoughts on the work environment during the pandemic with Government executive Wednesday: “It was difficult to navigate because it was constantly evolving.” However, like many other agencies, Holt stressed the importance of the need for flexibility and said a positive aspect of the pandemic was learning that her team could work effectively. in a remote work environment.

As for investigations into COVID-19, Holt said most were ongoing, so she could not reveal details, but said “we have seen the counterfeit items, [personal protective equipment] sending to the United States, fake tests, all that stuff, financial fraud related to that. “Here are some of the other recent titles you may have missed.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed a recommendation for children ages 5 to 11 to receive a Pfizer / BioNTech booster, after the Food and Drug Administration approved it earlier this week. IN The CDC also announced he “reinforces his recommendation that those aged 12 and over who are immunocompromised and those aged 50 and over receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after the first. The last month has seen a steady increase in cases, with a sharp and significant increase in hospitalizations for older Americans.

The FDA on Monday authorized the first over-the-counter COVID-19 test to detect influenza, and rrespiratory syncytial virus (common respiratory virus). Dr Jeff Schuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Device and Radiological Health, said that “the rapid progress in consumer access to diagnostic tests, including the ability to take a sample at home for flu and over-the-counter RSV, brings us one step closer to testing for these viruses, which can be performed entirely at home.

The federal government provided a third round of free tests for COVID-19 this week. The White House again called Congress provide more funding for the coronavirus because “the administration cannot continue to make the types of federal investment needed to maintain production capacity for internal testing, and this could jeopardize the federal government’s ability to provide free testing in the future.”

The FDA has taken various actions to increase the availability of COVID tests in the United States since September 2021, such as the use of law enforcement judgment, which means that “do not object to the use of these COVID-19 tests by laboratories before the FDA allow them “, but must develop a policy to use this for to prepare for future public health emergencies, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. “After hundreds of tests were reviewed and authorized for use in emergencies, the risks of using unauthorized tests outweighed the benefits,” and the FDA eventually took action to mitigate that risk in the current pandemic, the report said. “However, until the FDA develops a policy on the use of law enforcement at discretion for unauthorized tests in a future public health emergency – including the conditions under which the FDA will initiate and terminate such judgment – the agency may face unauthorized testing to be used for an extended period of time, even when there are a sufficient number of permitted tests. “

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Besera tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday while traveling to Germany for G7 meetings for health ministers. “He has been fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms” and “will continue to serve as Secretary of the HHS, working in isolation“Said Sarah Lowenheim, HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. The president is not considered close contact with the secretary, she added.

IN This was announced by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases on Wednesday awarded about $ 577 million to establish nine centers for the detection of antiviral drugs for pandemic pathogens. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for new antiviral drugs, especially those that can be easily taken by patients at home while their symptoms are still mild,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, in a statement. the press. “Decades of previous research on the structure and vulnerabilities of coronaviruses have significantly accelerated our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope that such research focused on antiviral drugs will better prepare us for the next pandemic.

The White House and other federal public health officials held their first briefing on COVID-19 in six weeks on Wednesday, warning of a recent increase in cases. Dr Ashish Ja, the new White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said he and Fauci had collectively made 50 media appearances in the last five weeks, “but we want to do more than these briefings and I am committed to continuing to make these briefings on an ongoing basis.

The Internal Revenue Service quickly introduced pandemic-related tax breaks for employers (which changed several times between 2020 and 2021), but may better mitigation of compliance risks, according to a report released by GAO on Tuesday. “The unusual nature of COVID-19 loans, rapid implementation and the many changes in loans have created a unique environment for compliance risk,” the report said. “While [the] The IRS is addressing some of these risks for which we have identified opportunities [the] The IRS should strengthen its compliance planning to better manage risks. ”

Help us better understand the situation. You are a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency handles the coronavirus? Send us an email at newstips@govexec.com.


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