Updates

Tribal Health Programs and Urban Indian Organizations Choose How They Will Access the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Department of Health and Human Services is laying the necessary groundwork for the distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by ensuring that all tribal health programs and urban Indian organizations (UIOs) have the choice on how they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Tribal health programs and UIOs had the option of receiving the vaccine either through the Indian Health Service or their respective state.

Identity Verification During the Age of COVID-19

Face masks have become a way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic: wearing them nearly everywhere – at grocery stores, on public transportation, in schools, at work. One of the challenges the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate is now working to address is how to verify someone’s identity while maintaining overall safety. 

FLIR Systems Acquires Altavian, Inc.

FLIR Systems Inc. announced that it has acquired Altavian, Inc., a privately held manufacturer of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for defense and public safety customers. Altavian’s airframes integrate multiple sensors, including FLIR thermal technology, to provide users with decision support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.

NIST “Playbook” Helps Communities With Resilience Planning

The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Playbook identifies key actions that communities of any size can take to better position themselves to deal with potential hazards, natural and otherwise. It complements the two-volume NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Physical Infrastructure Systems.

FEMA Releases National Risk Index: New Online Data Shows Natural Hazards Risks for Communities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the Phase 1 rollout of the National Risk Index, a new online resource that helps illustrate communities most at risk from natural hazards. This online mapping application analyzes risk factors from 18 natural hazards. Additionally, to provide a holistic view of community risk, the application includes expected annual losses, social vulnerability, and community resilience layers.

NACCHO Releases Public Health Priorities for the Biden-Harris Transition Team and 117th Congress

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, released a transition document providing recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress.

BARDA Partners With Invirsa to Develop a Treatment for Ocular Conditions Associated With DNA Damage, Including Sulfur Mustard Injury

The Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is partnering with Invirsa to develop the company’s investigational product INV-102 to treat ocular conditions associated with DNA damage to include sulfur mustard injury. Sulfur mustard is a type of chemical warfare agent that causes blistering of the skin and mucous membranes on contact. There are currently no FDA-approved drugs to treat sulfur mustard ocular injury.

Upcoming S&T Guidance Will Improve Critical Infrastructure Resilience

It is easy to understand the importance of “critical infrastructure,” such as telecommunications, energy, transportation, and emergency services, but what is often overlooked are the underlying technologies that enable them. One such technology is Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Resilient PNT Conformance Framework addresses this, and is planned for public release by the end of the year.

USGS Unveils Mobile Flood Tool for the Nation

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather, and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. The new USGS National Water Dashboard (NWD) provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers, and the public during flood events, informing decisions that can help protect lives and property.

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Partnering With Schools

On any given day, educational institutions house more than 20% of the U.S. population. This equates to more than 60 million students, faculty, and staff. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department Advanced Practice Center created the Pandemic Influenza School Planning Toolkit to assist local public health agencies in partnering with schools within their jurisdictions for pandemic emergency preparedness planning.