Washington, D.C. — As the number of COVID-19 cases goes down and governments relax public health measures, a new column from the Center for American Progress urges state and local officials to take measures that can help prepare for future surges.
While the new COVID-19 community levels unveiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week are informative for making policy decisions and assessing risk, the column urges state and local leaders to also pay close attention to other early indicators of surges in COVID-19 spread and the local public health system’s capacity to respond to crises.
Public officials should continue to closely monitor indicators that show the extent of transmission, the severity of the disease, and the public health system’s capacity to provide protective equipment, tests, treatment, and hospital care, the column says.
“State and local officials must be prepared to resume precautions if there are new surges of the virus,” said Jill Rosenthal, director of Public Health Policy at CAP and author of the column. “That means funding effective public health surveillance systems and supplying the tools needed protect communities, including the most vulnerable people.”
Among the actions officials can take:
- Continue to encourage people to stay up to date on their vaccinations, including boosters.
- Make sure that free COVID-19 supplies—including high-quality masks and rapid at-home tests – are widely available.
- Work to install quality ventilation and filtration systems to improve air circulation inside schools and other buildings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Make sure that new drugs that can help treat and prevent COVID-19 are available and that consumers know if they are eligible and how to get them.
- Monitor hospital and intensive care unit capacity as an indicator of COVID-19 spread and severity and use limited capacity as a warning sign.
Read the column: “How State and Local Leaders Can Prepare for Future COVID-19 Surges” by Jill Rosenthal
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at firstname.lastname@example.org.