Public Health and COVID-19
Public health departments, whether at the state or local level, have been significantly underfunded for over a decade. Public health officials have been working furiously since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency – long before COVID-19 cases were identified in the United States – and continue to work long hours with little recognition or support.
The less visible heroes of the pandemic are the public health teams who have been working to control the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to address ongoing public health issues and COVID-19 related increases in need.
Public Health System Needs During COVID-19
Public health will continue to be the cornerstone of our pandemic response. Despite years of underfunding, all parts of the public health system persevere with an “all hands on deck” response to the pandemic providing leadership and coordination to our health system and to our communities by:
- Providing pandemic specific public health services
- Performing case investigation and contact tracing
- Assessing COVID-19 metrics, outbreaks, and hotspot patterns
- Devising and implementing public health mitigation strategies to effectively control infectious spread while maintaining essential operations
- Implementing Corona Virus surveillance testing across various contexts to ascertain positivity rates among high-risk populations
- Developing programs to promote current vaccines and prepare for COVID-19 vaccine campaigns (when a vaccine is ready)
- Providing communication and coordination
- Providing data-informed recommendations to state and local government officials for targeted and blanket public health orders
- Advising schools, day cares, long-term care facilities, prisons and jails, businesses, and many other entities on best practices for infection control
- Messaging to the public on ever-changing guidelines and recommendations
- Interfacing with other government agencies including Medicaid, behavioral health, justice systems, and others
- Ensuring clear communication among all sectors of the healthcare delivery system
- Addressing community needs and equity issues
- Advocating for underserved communities and helping bring infection control resources to those communities hardest hit by COVID-19
- Assembling all stakeholders along the continuum of care, assessing capacity, and developing alternate sites of care and alternate housing
- Ensuring that disadvantaged individuals such as the uninsured, homeless, and those with mental illness have equitable access to the resources they need to be safe
- Addressing the burgeoning opioid crisis during COVID-19
- Focusing on rising cases of domestic violence, suicide, and other types of violence related to COVID-19 and associated quarantine orders
- Addressing existing and increasing housing and food insecurity based on the economic impacts of the pandemic and the policy response to the pandemic
Critical Needs of Public Health Professionals
HMA consultants are highly experienced public health professionals, policy and finance experts, and practitioners who come from all skill areas and work in multidisciplinary teams. Our experts have had long and distinguished careers in local, state and federal government and at nonprofits, foundations, community-based organizations and a variety of health and social services settings. HMA’s team includes many former high-ranking public health officials who have been at the frontlines of previous infectious disease outbreaks. We understand the essential role public health plays in organizing a pandemic response across communities, regions, and states.
HMA has significant experience in the public health arena. Prior to COVID-19, HMA worked with state and local health departments, and community-based non-profits, in a variety of programmatic areas. (link to HMA PH page) At this critical time, HMA has the expertise and experience to help you identify potential funding options, deploy effective public health tools, and engage key stakeholders in a comprehensive strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19 and reduce morbidity and mortality. Let us help you today.