Delaware will be prepared for any resurgence of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
In spite of positive trends for the virus in the First State regarding infections and hospitalizations, Gov. John Carney wants to be ready if the virus gains a foothold again in the First State in the coming months. He appointed Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long to head up the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee.
"Governor Carney and his administrative team he recognized that we need to have this plan in place and do it expeditiously throughout the state with community involvement, and through leadership," Hall Long said. "There are some things that we probably need to improve on and avoid in the future, but also, let's have the best lessons in place, because, let's face it, we don't have a vaccination yet. We don't have a treatment. Individuals are back out in the community and we want to be safe, and there is a great likelihood there would be a resurgence, so let's have the best plan."
The task force will take a three-pronged approach to dealing with any new COVID-19 resurgence, including focusing on community health, maintaining best business practices, and focusing on the most vulnerable and disproportionately affected communities among Delawareans.
"I know we've all heard that our economic impact has been tremendous--not only in our state, region, and country. So, business is one community. And in order to have a healthy economy, you've got to have a healthy community, first and foremost, and that's what our primary focus has been on, as we've navigated this uncharted water of this pandemic," she said. "Finally, really important to me--working in the trenches often as a public health nurse--are the issues are equity. Equity is a really important component...We will be leading a team there that will be looking at those really important issues facing vulnerable populations and our communities of color, looking at individuals who are at great risk."
She said success in keeping Delaware healthy from here on out is going to take a team effort. The plan will only work if everyone is pitching in to protect each other.
"We absolutely have got to work together. You've got to have a big vision and we've got to base it on community feedback, she said. "We will absolutely convene collectively and then really work very diligently each week...working hard, getting the feedback that's necessary to put those plans in place when and if this resurgence occurs, such that we are really ready in our business community with a healthy community and addressing those vulnerable ethical issues.
Some of the specific goals of the council will be ensuring the hospital system can again handle any increase in hospitalizations, and that existing response teams are restocked and prepared for new hot spots.
"Our goal is to really make sure we have a health system that is ready and working that we have those resources and tactics in place," Hall Long said. "Let's not lose sight that we're dealing with not only the physical health of our community; we're dealing with emotional, behavioral health...So, we have been looking at all angles of health equity in business in Delaware...what hasn't worked? We want to not repeat those errors, but we want to really collectively do what is right for Delaware, and I know we'll be bringing in outside experts, consultants, planners to really help us to protect Delaware and to keep us strong and healthy in our state."