Two Federal Whistleblowers Reveal HHS Instructions to Downplay Fort Bliss' Migrant Children COVID-19 Outbreak
After serving as volunteers at a facility in Fort Bliss, two federal whistleblowers filed a complaint and allegedly claimed that the Department of Health and Human Services instructed them to downplay the COVID-19 outbreak against unaccompanied migrant children housed at a facility in Fort Bliss, Texas.
According to Fox News, the nonprofit Government Accountability Project on behalf of Arthur Pearlstein and Lauren Reinhold filed the complaint and was sent to four Congressional committees and government watchdogs. The complaint included claims that stated that the two were "career federal civil servants" and "whistleblowers" who "served as volunteer detailees from April through June 2021 at the Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Site."
Based on the complaint, COVID-19 was widespread among unaccompanied migrant children and eventually spread even to the facility employees. The complaint also emphasized that the overcrowded conditions of hundreds of children prompted contractions of COVID-19. The whistleblowers also mentioned that masks were not only consistently provided to immigrant children but also inconsistently enforced.
Moreover, the whistleblowers also revealed that on a regular basis, when detailees reached the end of their term, the HHS Public Affairs Office passed around a sheet with detailed instructions on how to make everything sound positive. The sheet focused on making the Fort Bliss experience positive and playing down anything negative when they were asked.
Also, the complaint said that every effort was made to downplay the degree of COVID-19 infections at the site. Officials at the facility wanted to keep the size of the outbreak deliberately under wraps.
Covering the Truth
The complaint also mentioned that during a town hall meeting with the detailees, a senior U.S. Public Health Service manager was asked regarding the recent numbers of those who were infected by the virus, but the official refused to reveal the exact number. The whistleblowers claimed that if the exact graph of infections were delivered to the media, it would be a different story.
Furthermore, Fort Bliss' site manager reportedly dismissed the concern of a detailee that the unaccompanied migrant children who were housed in tents needed to wear N95 masks instead of the basic disposable masks.
However, the manager responded to the suggestion that N95 masks were unnecessary for those infected migrant children despite the threat it imposed on those who were working with the infected kids.
Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Project stated that Pearlstein was primarily assigned to work with two teams while at the Fort Bliss site. The first team needed to perform clinical assessments under the Clinical Assessment Team, and the other one was working with small groups and individual children on the Mental Health/Wellness team. While Reinhold was worked in the girls' tent for the first half of her detail, during the second half, she was assigned on the Call Center Team and worked in all tents in the facility.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by Jess Smith
WATCH: Fort Bliss facility whistleblower complaint filed -KTSM 9 NEWS
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