Follow-Up: COVID-19 National Briefing Call with State-Local-Tribal Leaders (April 15) & Guidelines for Opening Up America Again!


Please see correspondence below from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs:

State, Local, and Tribal Leaders –

Thank you for joining the White House COVID-19 National Briefing Call with State, Local, and Tribal Leaders on April 15. To date, the White House has coordinated 165 briefings that have helped inform over 74,000 State, Local, and Tribal leaders. And we look forward to continuing the partnership and robust coordination and outreach with you. Below, please find a recap of the briefing call. We also want to highlight the recently announced Guidelines for Opening Up America Again!

Today, President Donald J. Trump unveiled the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again! (slide deck). Developed by the top medical experts from across the Government and based on verifiable metrics regarding the situation on the ground, the guidelines outline a phased return to reopening and include specific steps for State, Local, and Tribal officials to follow in tailoring their response. The criteria include showing a downward trajectory of COVID-like symptoms reported over 14 days in a given state or region, as well as a decline in documented cases or positive tests during the same 14-day window. They also set clear benchmarks on new cases, testing, and hospital resources for States to meet to proceed toward a phased reopening. State and local officials may need to tailor the application of these criteria to local circumstances (e.g., metropolitan areas that have suffered severe COVID outbreaks, rural and suburban areas where outbreaks have not occurred or have been mild). Additionally, where appropriate, the guidelines recommend Governors working on a regional basis to satisfy outlined criteria and to progress through the tiered phases. In the days and weeks ahead, the Administration plans to continue robust coordination and outreach with State, Local, and Tribal leaders as we collectively work to reopen the country. Find a Fact Sheet here: President Donald J. Trump Is Beginning the Next Phase In Our Fight Against Coronavirus – Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.

COVID-19: Important Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Officials

  • Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced updated Coronavirus Guidelines for America (Español), extending social distancing efforts through April 30. On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance recommending individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies, particularly in areas of significant community-based transmission. On April 8, CDC also provided guidelines regarding when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Additional information on critical infrastructure below.
  • Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – The Coronavirus Task Force holds frequent briefings, which can be viewed live here.
  • COVID-19 Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here. Guidance for Tribal Governments can be found here.
  • Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines: On March 16th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated critical infrastructure guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency. DHS issued revised guidance on March 28th (see Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response). The guidance, and accompanying list, is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard.
  • Rural Resource Guide: USDA and Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses, and communities. USDA developed a resource guide for State, Local, and Tribal leaders, and other stakeholders, which can be found here: COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.
  • Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website. The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams.
  • Social Media Resources: Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool. Follow the White House on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow HHS (Twitter/Facebook) and CDC (Twitter/Facebook) You can also find informational videos from Coronavirus Task Force members on mitigation, social distancing, etc. on the White House’s YouTube page.
  • Mental Health Resources: Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.
  • Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here. Each Federal Agency has also established a dedicated coronavirus website, where you can find important information and guidance. They include: Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Education (DoED), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

Thank you again for your partnership in this whole-of-government, All-of-America effort to defeat the coronavirus. The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (WH IGA) will continue to share pertinent information as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office if we can be of assistance. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and Local elected officials and Tribal Governments.

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

William F. Crozer
Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director
White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

White House COVID-19 National Briefing Call Readout
April 15, 2020

Recovery and Response Update

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • FEMA, HHS, and federal partners work with state, local, tribal and territorial governments to execute a whole-of-America response to COVID-19 pandemic and protect the health and safety of the American people.
  • FEMA has all 10 emergency response regions activated. President Trump has approved major disaster declarations for every State in the country. The President has also approved 43 Title 32 requests for the National Guard providing 100 percent federal cost-share for States. These actions have opened up unprecedented resources and capabilities for States to respond to COVID-19.
  • Wednesday, FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor issued a letter to the nation’s emergency managers outlining lessons learned from the first 30 days of FEMA leading the “Whole-of-America” response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • FEMA continues to coordinate the transportation of critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) across the country through Project Air Bridge. The air bridge is helping reduce the time it takes for U.S. medical supply distributors to receive PPE and other critical supplies into the country for health care professionals and other key professionals, including law enforcement. From March 29 to April 15, Project Air Bridge has completed 52 flights with an additional 50 scheduled. Total supplies delivered to the U.S. and into the private sector supply chains include more than 530,000 N95 masks, 451 million gloves, 25 million surgical masks, 5 million gowns, 74,000 face shields, and 80,000 thermometers. Project Air Bridge deliveries are in addition to the PPE that has been distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Topline: As of April 15,  the State/Local Public Health Laboratories, Commercial Laboratories, Hospital Laboratories, CDC, and VA have performed approximately 3.5 million COVID-19 tests. In order to strengthen and expand our testing across the U.S., the White House Coronavirus Task Force is coordinating a major interagency initiative to strengthen our national diagnostic infrastructure. This effort includes working with the States, Territories and Tribal communities and test manufacturers to expand our ability to maximize available testing platforms and increase our diagnostic assay inventory.    
  • CDC International Reagent Resource (IRR)
    • The CDC IRR is distributing COVID-19 diagnostic tests, reagents and associated supplies to state and county public health laboratories. This has provided states with the flexibility to obtain diagnostic materials, specifically items needed for diagnostic sample collection, extraction and then diagnostic testing, through the IRR first, and while simultaneously retaining the option to procure needed supplies through the commercial marketplace.
    • HHS is working to stand up the CDC IRR for this purpose by ensuring  adequate inventory of diagnostic materials to support the needs of state and public health laboratories and working with manufacturers of diagnostic supplies (equipment and reagents) to bolster the supply chain to meet the needs for U.S. testing. 
    • Commercial and academic/hospital diagnostic laboratories not registered with the IRR currently can and should procure through their normal mechanisms via the commercial market.
  • Abbott ID NOW Diagnostic Instruments
    • As part of the federal government’s response to COVID-19, HHS provided 6,000 ID NOW instruments and tests for distribution to Public Health Laboratories (PHLs), the Indian Health Service (IHS) and other key partners.In April, PHLs began to receive their instruments and test kits.
    • 250 Abbott ID Now machines and kits for 10,000 tests were provided to the Indian Health Service, for dissemination to Indian Country.
    • PHLs can obtain additional ID NOW COVID-19 test kits through the CDC IRR.
  • Serological Diagnostic Testing
    • Serological diagnostic testing, or evaluating sera through blood collection or finger sticks for evidence of an immune response to COVID-19 infection, provides an exciting opportunity to broaden the diagnostic testing capacity in the United States.
    • As of April 15th, The FDA has issued three EUA’s for serological tests for COVID-19 as of April 15. Serological testing will be an important part of testing strategies for COVID-19 moving forward.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • The Indian Health Service has distributed a total of $734 million from COVID-19 supplemental appropriations. On April 3, IHS began distributing $600 million of CARES Act funding to IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian Organizations. On March 27, the IHS distributed $134 million in the first round of Coronavirus response funding, this includes the full $64 million provided in the second supplemental appropriation for COVID-19 testing.  95% of the funds allocated to tribal and urban Indian organization health programs have been obligated. More here.
  • The IHS received 250 Abbott ID Now analyzers, and has distributed them through area offices to federal and tribal health care facilities throughout Indian Country. This test allows for medical diagnostic testing at the time and place of patient care, provides COVID-19 results in under 13 minutes and expands the capacity for coronavirus testing for individuals exhibiting symptoms as well as for healthcare professionals and the first responder community. More here.
  • The IHS has expanded telehealth across the agency. Telehealth services means patients can stay home and reduce their risk of infection and also keep healthcare workers and others in waiting rooms and emergency departments safe from COVID-19.
  • Find a recent Public Service Announcement from Rear Admiral and HIS Director Michael Weahkee here – A Message to Indigenous Peoples (Youtube / Twitter); Thanks to HIS (Youtube / Twitter)
  • For more, visit the HIS Coronavirus website here:

Economy/CARES Act Update

U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Economic Impact Payments
    • Economic Impact Payments have gone out to upwards of 80 million Americans. More here.
    • On April 15, Treasury and the IRS launched the “Get My Payment” web application. The app allows individuals to track the status of their payment. It also allows taxpayers who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019, but did not provide their banking information on their return, to submit direct deposit information.
    • Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns will automatically receive economic impact payments. More here.
    • Treasury is also investigating ways to effectively get Economic Impact Payment funds into the hands of the unbanked. 
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund
    • The Coronavirus Relief Fund provides $150 billion to States, Localities, and Tribal Governments. $8 billion is dedicated for Tribal Governments.
    • Treasury is developing guidance in advance of funding release regarding reimbursable expenses.
  • Main Street Business Lending Program and Municipal Liquidity Facility
    • Treasury launched a Main Street Business Lending program and a Municipal Liquidity Facility to support the flow of credit to American workers, businesses, States, counties, and cities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) will provide up to $500 billion in direct financing to states, counties, and cities to help ensure they have the funds necessary to provide essential services to citizens and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. More here. MLF term sheet and guidance can be found here.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Paycheck Protection Program
    • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched on Friday, April 3. The PPP program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses with under 500 employees. As of Wednesday, April 15, more than 1.2 million loans totaling over $268 billion across nearly 4,800 lenders have been approved. In total, the SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days.
    • The Employee Retention Credit is available for businesses not eligible for the PPP. This is a refundable credit of up to $5,000 per employee, who is retained instead of being laid off. More here.
    • Updated guidance and frequently asked questions can be found here. A new lender application form can be found here.
    • More information on the Paycheck Protection Program here.
  • SBA Regional Offices: SBA maintains district, regional, and field offices throughout the country. Individuals with questions about the PPP, disaster loans, and other SBA programs are encouraged to contact one of these offices.
Wraparound Services Update
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is a component within the Executive Office of the President which works to reduce drug use and its consequences by leading and coordinating the development, implementation, and assessment of U.S. drug policy. ONDCP coordinates the federal government’s antidrug efforts by developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy which aims to reduce substance use through public health and public safety measures.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has created countless challenges for those delivering care to our most vulnerable populations. People with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) are especially at high risk suffering complications from COVID-19.
  • ONDCP released a fact sheet that contains information on Federal actions to expand telemedicine and e-prescribing, to increase flexibility for treatment with methadone and buprenorphine, to improve access to prescribed controlled substances, and to expand assistance to rural areas. More here.
  • For additional information, please visit ONDCP’s website here.
Office of the Administration of Children and Families (OCC)
  • The Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care (OCC) administers the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is the largest dedicated federal funding source for child care in the country ($8.7 billion federal funds, $11.7 billion total if counting matching and maintenance of effort funds, and funds transferred from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program).  This funding goes out as a block grant to state, territory, and tribal governments, and is allocated by formula. 
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $3.5 billion in supplemental CCDF funds to State, Territory, and Tribal governments to help address COVID-19 impacts.  The funding was distributed to State, Territory, and Tribal government grantees onApril 13, 20.  The funds have two main purposes: 1) First, provide child care to emergency/essential workers across the income range, and 2) Second, invest in the retention of child care workers and businesses so they will be there when the health crisis is over. More here.
  • ACF worked closely with CDC to develop specific guidance for child care settings on policies and practicesto betteraddress safety and virus spread concerns.  The CDC child care supplemental guidance can be accessed here.
  • ACF developed and released a State-by-State guide to help emergency/essential workers find child care.
Administration for Community Living (ACL)
  • The Administration for Community Living brings together various components for increasing access to community supports while focusing attention and resources on the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities across the lifespan.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $955 million in supplemental funding to support these populations. Funding will be distributed across various programs, including:
    • $480m to expand home delivered meals
    • $100m to support family caregiver training, education and respite
    • $85m to support independent living and community transitions for people with disabilities
    • $20m to support services for Native Americans
    • $50m to expand information systems to help families and individuals access services
    • $200m to expand home and community based services to assist with supply acquisition, transportation, chore service and other needed activities to support living at home.
    • $20m for the Ombudsman program which oversees care quality in nursing homes
  • ACL developed guidance for older adults and caregivers on COVID-19. ACL also published a list of frequently asked questions to provide guidance to the ACL recipient community.
  • ACL maintains the Eldercare Locator, a public service connecting elder Americans to services for older adults and their families. The Eldercare Locator can be accessed here and via phone at 1-800-677-1116.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
  • The White House and Administration are committed to providing Americans with vital mental health resources and services, especially through expanding telehealth services. Under the President’s leadership and at the direction of the White House Task Force, the Trump Administration has taken historic steps to expand Americans’ access to telehealth so that patients, particularly our Medicare beneficiaries, can receive a wider range of services without having to travel to a healthcare facility (read more from Surgeon General Jerome Adams and CMS Administrator Seema Verma – Telehealth Plays Big Role in Coronavirus Cure). States are also examining their own policies to determine if there are undue barriers to maximizing telehealth service delivery for their residents in this time of national emergency. States have broad authority to deliver and reimburse Medicaid covered services through telehealth modalities, and additional federal approval is often not required to do so. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance on telehealth reimbursement and coverage options in the Medicaid program here.
  • Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Read more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.
  • SAMHSA is allowing flexibility for grant recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis. These flexibilities are available during this emergency time period. Flexibility may be reassessed upon issuance of new guidance by the Office of Management and Budget post the emergency time period. Read more here.
  • On April 3, SAMHSA announced $110 million in emergency grants to provide treatment for substance use disorders/serious mental illness during the coronavirus pandemic. The grants were available to State governments, the District of Columbia, Territories, and Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes. More details here.
  • For additional information, please visit SAMHSA’s coronavirus website here: