5 Management Strategies by Public Health Professionals During the Corona Pandemic
- Public Education
- Advising Government Officials
- Contact Tracing
- Virus Testing
As COVID-19 spreads across the world, public health professionals are playing a key role in managing the corona pandemic. These officials, who work in health departments, hospitals, and government agencies, are on the front lines of the fight. For future public health workers, it’s helpful to know what might lie ahead.
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1. Public Education
Education is one of the most important things that public health officials are doing to manage the coronavirus pandemic. Workers at different levels of the system are in constant conversation with doctors and scientists — based on the information they get about how the virus behaves, they formulate guidelines for the public. This includes common virus-prevention activities such as hand-washing and disinfecting surfaces. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials are teaching the public about specific strategies such as social distancing, self-quarantine, and isolation; in addition, they’re explaining why these actions are important.
2. Advising Government Officials
One of the ways public health professionals are managing the corona pandemic is by advising government officials at the local, state, and federal levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highest public health organization in the country, is tracking the virus as it spreads and advising the federal government about how to proceed. This advice is invaluable — it informs decisions such as emergency declarations, border closings, and travel advisories. At the state and local level, public health officials keep in contact with governments to track the spread and help prepare hospitals for an influx of patients.
3. Contact Tracing
When a new case of the virus appears, public health workers are often responsible for contact tracing. According to the World Health Organization, this process involves identifying all of the people with whom the infected person had contact. Then, officials contact everyone on that list to let them know that they were potentially exposed; that way, they can monitor their health and self-quarantine as needed.
As the situation evolves, the public health professionals’ role in the corona pandemic changes. In many cases, these workers are tasked with screening incoming patients at hospitals, health centers, and borders. For the coronavirus, this process usually involves taking body temperature and asking detailed information about the person’s travel history and symptoms. With this information, officials can help determine who needs to be admitted and who should be quarantined. That way, hospitals are less likely to be overwhelmed.
5. Virus Testing
Public health officials are often responsible for providing the tests that hospitals need to verify cases of the coronavirus. In most cases, they don’t offer tests directly to the public; instead, they work with local doctors to determine how to distribute the kits. When supplies are limited, they may need to decide which requests are most critical. In addition, they receive, manage, and reorder the testing kits. Given how important testing is in tracking the progression of the virus, this is one of the most important and difficult tasks for public health agencies.
As the coronavirus causes worldwide shutdowns, public health officials are taking center stage. Although they often work behind the scenes rather than directly with patients, they play a key role. At the end of the day, the management strategies by public health professionals during the corona pandemic have a significant impact on the final outcome.