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December 18, 2020

As COVID-19 Cases Rise at DHS, Chairman Thompson Inquires on its Frontline Workforce’s Access to Testing and Vaccines

(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Mr. Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the concerning rise in the number of DHS employees infected with COVID-19.  In the letter, he urged the Department to provide its employees with access to testing and expressed concern about whether the Department has adequately prepared to provide employees with access to COVID-19 vaccines now that they are becoming available.

Unfortunately, the Committee has heard that some DHS employees conducting mission essential travel are being forced to rely on local resources for tests. News reports indicate that employees may have to do the same for vaccine access as well.  Tragically, at least 26 employees at TSA and CBP have already passed away from COVID-19.

“I first wrote to you in July after DHS reached a record high number of employees that had tested positive or were in quarantine since the Department began regularly reporting such data to the Committee. Unfortunately, these numbers have continued to increase at an alarming rate. DHS has reported a new record number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among its employees each week this month, bringing the current number of cases to more than double that reported to the Committee in July,” wrote Chairman Thompson.

“While I recognize that many of the Department’s employees are on the front lines and that infection rates have increased across the nation, it appears that the Department is failing to take simple steps to limit transmission of the virus. Specifically, I understand that the Department is not testing employees who conduct mission-essential travel and, therefore, are at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

Link to letter

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Press Contact

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