ADPH shifting strategies in COVID-19 response

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 12:32 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health says it is shifting how it monitors COVID-19 as part of its response strategy to the pandemic.

ADPH says it will begin shifting from an emergency response to one that minimizes the daily disruptions of Alabamians’ everyday lives.

“While COVID-19 can still cause harm or change in unpredictable ways, we now have the tools and knowledge to manage and live with the virus,” ADPH said in a release.

ADPH has identified four core principles for its next stage in managing the pandemic:

  • Empowering Individuals- As people return to their everyday routines, they need to make informed decisions on how to protect themselves and their families, focusing on protecting those most vulnerable to serious illness.
  • Maintaining Health System Capacity- ADPH will continue coordinating with the healthcare community to preserve healthcare system capacity in the event of future surges. Healthcare providers must meet the needs of those with COVID-19 and anyone needing care, whether for cancer, heart disease, or an injury.
  • Collaborating with Local Partners- A central tenet of ADPH’s strategy has been to develop partnerships with local health departments, healthcare professionals, community leaders, businesses, advocacy groups, and many other local, state, and federal entities to Alabama’s COVID-19 response. Partners will support resilience and speed recovery.
  • Prioritizing Equity- ADPH will continue to ensure equitable access to the information and tools people need to best protect against COVID-19. This work begins with our ongoing commitment to data transparency by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and geography and using that data to drive policy and action. In addition, Alabama will continue to direct its resources to communities most at risk from COVID-19, including historically marginalized populations, people with disabilities, and older Alabamians.

As the state moves into the next phase of the pandemic, ADPH says some metrics no longer meet the public’s current needs. For instance, with the rise of antigen testing, the metric for percent positive tests becomes less reliable.

The CDC weekly map categorizing counties as low, medium, or high transmission better provides the community with knowledge to take the appropriate steps to stay safe, ADPH said.

In addition to ongoing pandemic monitoring, ADPH says it is also focusing on addressing chronic underfunding within the state’s public health care system.

“While Alabamians have demonstrated resiliency, support will be needed to recover stronger,” ADPH said, adding that the department will focus on priorities grounded in whole-person health, driven by equity, and responsive to the lessons learned response.

“Together, we can create the best opportunity to support health and wellbeing for all Alabamians,” ADPH added.

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