COVID resurgence committee outlines advice

WILMINGTON — Delaware’s Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee revealed Wednesday its final report for how the state plans to deal with a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

The PRAC is made up of 46 people, led by three subcommittee chairs. The three subcommittees are broken down into health, equity and business.

The PRAC’s three underlying goals are to develop a health care system and public health strategy that is ready in case of a resurgence of COVID-19; to identify tactics and resources to manage a resurgence of COVID-19 (including, but not limited to, testing capabilities, personal protective equipment, social distancing, economic development and recovery, and health facility readiness); and to assess methods to protect vulnerable populations and consider disproportionate effects on minority-owned businesses in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.

Bethany Hall-Long

“This is truly a pandemic playbook,” said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long. “Hopefully, states in our region (and) across the country can see that Delaware can do things well and do things right. We are committed, and we’re going to make sure these get carried out.”

In case of a resurgence, the committee still wants to have a goal of maintaining “business continuity to the maximum extent possible.”

The PRAC aligned on a set of common goals to guide its recommendations “as it balanced the factors required to keep Delaware safe and economically resilient.” The eight overall goals stated in its report are:
• Monitor the pandemic to proactively develop plans.
• Communicate regularly and effectively.
• Ensure readiness and accessibility.
• Maximize economic opportunity.
• Support individuals and businesses, particularly those disproportionately affected.
• Mitigate stress and social disruption.
• Capitalize on emerging trends.
• Foster a culture of compliance.

Some of the PRAC’s recommendations across all three subcommittees included increasing testing in Black and Latino communities, ensuring health care providers and hospitals have ample supplies of PPE and deploying short-term financial support programs for disproportionately affected businesses.

The PRAC’s other specific health goals include building on Delaware’s existing communications plan and tailoring the messages to the needs and expectations of Delaware’s diverse population, while helping Delawareans better understand and comply with transmission protocols in high-risk settings.

Regarding business, it also recommends deploying a targeted approach to virus-containment efforts and relaxing guidelines “as expeditiously as possible without risking a resurgence.”

In a resurgence scenario, the PRAC’s report asks to create and expand rapidly deployable short-term financial support programs for disproportionately impacted sectors, to accelerate payments on public procurement to increase vendors’ liquidity and to provide relief for workers displaced due to COVID-19.

On the health equity side, the PRAC highlighted several goals, which include an effort to reduce transmission risk by providing state-supported housing options for residents who need to self-isolate. It also asks to increase employer accountability in providing safe working environments and support for medical leave.

Another key point for the PRAC in terms of access and communication is to “increase home access to wireless broadband with infrastructural investment and support for low-income residents to enable access, education and telemedicine.”

The full 40-page final report can be read at governor.delaware.gov/prac.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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