FEMA ADVISORY --- May 2021

COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery

To address the challenges of managing disaster response and recovery efforts as our nation enters the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is releasing the “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from COVID-19.

The guidance can also be used by private sector and non-governmental organizations to gain an understanding of the government’s posture, planning and readiness efforts. This updated document takes an all-hazards approach and builds on guidance provided in last year’s "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season."

Response and Recovery Operations Amid COVID-19

The guide provides actions emergency managers and public officials can take to prepare for response and recovery operations during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. Specifically, the guidance:

  • Describes continued challenges to disaster operations posed by COVID-19 and planning considerations, based on science and the best available data, for emergency managers in addressing those challenges.
  • Outlines considerations for state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) governments related to planning COVID-19 testing and vaccination operations. This includes an overview of how FEMA supports SLTTs to establish and operate testing facilities and vaccination sites that ensure the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines to all individuals who want one.
  • Provides updated resources (e.g., checklists, reports, and other guidance)—reflecting current lessons learned and best practices for operating in a pandemic environment— to enable emergency managers to best adapt response and recovery plans.
  • Outlines how FEMA plans to continue to adapt response and recovery operations to the evolving risks of COVID-19 to ensure prioritization for life safety, life sustainment, and workforce protection, and to maintain the delivery of FEMA’s programs.

Working Together

FEMA will continue to operate under the framework of locally executed, state/tribal managed, and federal supported incident response. By creating a shared understanding of expectations among FEMA and state, local, tribal and territorial partners, the nation will be better positioned to achieve operational outcomes in disaster response and recovery efforts. 


FEMA is offering webinars throughout the month of June to go over the pandemic operational guidance.  To sign up, click on the link associated with the date of attendance. 

  • Webinar 1 - Thursday, June 3, 10 am ET


  • Webinar 2 - Tuesday, June 8, 3 pm ET


  • Webinar 3 - Thursday, June 10, 11 am ET


  • Webinar 4 - Wednesday, June 16, 7 pm ET


  • Webinar 5 - Thursday, June 17, 1 pm ET


To download the documents and view the full webinar schedule, please visit COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance Webinars | FEMA.gov.  Advance registration is required for the webinars and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Captioning will be available for each webinar. Please direct all webinar questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact Office of External Affairs:

  • Congressional Affairs at (202) 646-4500 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Intergovernmental Affairs at (202) 646-3444 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Tribal Affairs at (202) 646-3444 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Private Sector Engagement at (202) 646-3444 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Bon Secours Mary Immaculate  Updates Visitation Policies

Effective 3/4/2021

Mary Immaculate Hospital continues to review community prevalence of COVID positivity and works to adjust our visitation policies accordingly.  Beginning March 4th, 2021, the following visitation policies will be in effect.  We appreciate your support and adherence to these policies to protect our patients, staff, and visitors.

Virginia Department of Health Announces New Pandemic Metrics Dashboard
Data Offers New Information to Help Localities Determine Mitigation Measures

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a new Pandemic Metrics Dashboard, which shows a visualization of COVID-19 community transmission by region. Updated weekly, this dashboard will show: data trends for COVID-19 in specific communities; where the COVID-19 virus is spreading; and assist local and state governments in determining additional mitigation measures.

“Communities across the Commonwealth are facing different challenges as we all continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “This pandemic dashboard provides data for communities to individualize and tailor response efforts to local needs. A community where cases are surging and hospital beds are filling up, for example, will require different response efforts from those in a community where cases are declining and hospital occupancy is low.”

CDC School Metrics tab will also be available within the dashboard. This tab uses metrics described by the CDC to guide decisions by school officials, taking into consideration the school’s ability to implement and adhere to key mitigation strategies to decrease transmission of COVID-19. VDH recommends local government and school officials work with local health districts to evaluate epidemiologic and other data to assess the extent of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) transmission within their region, its effect on the Commonwealth, and the ability of the healthcare system to function.  These data should then be interpreted within the context of the local jurisdiction.  VDH recommends that decisions to alter K-12 school programming, including decisions about in-person instruction, school dismissals or closures be handled at the most local level possible, considering both regional and local epidemiology, community characteristics, and local capacity.

“On behalf of the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions, I thank the Virginia Department of Health for making this dashboard available as a resource to inform local decision making to help schools navigate how and when to consider in-person, hybrid and virtual instruction,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said.

The education setting outbreaks dashboard will include aggregate outbreak data that breaks out the current “Educational” category of outbreaks for K-12, childcare and higher education setting sub-categories.

These dashboards will help communities measure the extent to which the COVID-19 virus is spreading in their localities and guide possible responses to mitigate that spread. However, each community is unique and appropriate mitigation strategies should consider the impact to the community and be based on the best available data. Decisions will vary on how and when to increase community mitigation and the following information is intended to guide decisions.

For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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Training Resources for EMT SARS-CoV-2 Vaccinators NHTSA Office of EMS

These resources can serve as just in time training for vaccination programs utilizing emergency medical technicians:

Training video on COVID-19 intramuscular vaccine administration

Click Here to View IM Vaccine Administration Video  This video created by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) can be used to provide EMTs with didactic knowledge to administer IM injections. With the exception of the MIEMSS link referenced in the video, it can be used by EMTs in any state or territory. It should be accompanied by a skills assessment, which is discussed below.

Intramuscular Injection Skill Checklist may be found at: Click HERE (A clinical skills assessment checklist for EMTs preparing to administer IM injections.)

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Training for EMTs

A written description of the skills required of EMTs to administer the vaccine may be found at: Click Here

Click Here to view the Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine Comparison.

In the following presentation from late January 2021, Florida State EMS Medical Director Kenneth Scheppke, MD, provides an overview of the latest science related to COVID vaccines.  Click Here to view

COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals 

CDC recommended resources to prepare healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Click Here

EMS Vaccine Administration Program Manual

This guide from the State of Indiana can serve as a resource to help state and local officials and EMS organizations with the creation and implementation of EMS vaccination programs.    Click Here

To download this entire flyer with the associated links: Click Here

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Virginia EMS Initial Certification Process Changes During COVID-19

In response to the Governor's Executive Orders 51, 53, & 55, the Virginia Office of EMS in conjunction with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians have developed the following temporary changes to the EMS Initial Certification process.

BLS Certification Testing:

BLS Psychomotor Examination:

The Virginia Office of EMS has cancelled all Consolidating Testing at the BLS level through December 31, 2020.

A Candidate who needs to retest a station/skill will be contacted directly by OEMS or his/her Course Coordinator for assistance.

BLS Cognitive Examination:

The National Registry of Emergency Technicians (NREMT) has reopened several PearsonVUE testing locations, but is now also offering Pearson OnVUE- a remotely proctored cognitive exams for BLS candidates beginning May 12th, 2020. More information can be found at: 


Once a BLS candidates passes the National Registry Cognitive Exam, he/she will be issued full National Registry and Virginia certifications.

ALS Certification Testing:

ALS Psychomotor Examination:

Currently, all ALS Psychomotor Examinations have been postponed. The Office of EMS is working with ALS programs and the NREMT to provide psychomotor testing. The ALS Testing Calendar can be found on the VA OEMS website at:


ALS Cognitive Examination:

Advanced EMT Candidates may take the cognitive test at a location or remotely. More information may be found at: 


 Paramedic Candidates must take the cognitive test at a PearsonVue location. Remote proctoring for this examination is not available.

Once an Advanced EMT or Paramedic Candidate successfully completes the respective cognitive examination, he/she will receive a provisional certification that must be converted to full certification once the COVID-19 threat is mitigated and the Candidate passes the required NREMT psychomotor examination.


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