The Importance of Mobility – Public Health Partnerships During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Author: Alex King
  • Date: April 2, 2020
Patient care units at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
Patient care units at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, photo by U.S. Air National Guard Senior Airman Sean Madden

For Mobility Managers working together with schools, businesses, health care systems, and health departments is a critical portion of the daily work you do to improve mobility and access in your communities.

This work has an even more important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, particularly among high risk populations. Transportation and mobility providers are just one part of a community, local, regional, and national effort to address the pandemic. It will take a collective approach to effectively slow the spread, and reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.

As mentioned in our previous blog on Mobility Management in the Coronavirus Pandemic,  mobility managers should first and foremost reach out to your local, state, (and tribal when applicable) health departments as they are the experts and leaders on the ground in conjunction with health care providers.  

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) recently posted a series of best practice documents on various topics for transportation providers on the front line of COVID-19 response, including best practices for partnering with your local health department. Given the importance of this topic, NCMM has decided to reshare the information here.

Please note: the below text was written by CTAA. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not the National Center for Mobility Management.

 

Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CTAA identified best practices for reaching out and engaging with your local public health departments:  

  1. Reach out and check in with your state and local health authorities. Public health officials may recommend community actions designed to limit exposure to COVID-19, depending on the risk of an outbreak or the severity of an outbreak. 
  2. Determine the available guidance and assistance available to you from federal, state, local, and tribal public health agencies and emergency responders. Understanding your public health agencies capacity to assist, in addition to their recommendations of best practices and local mitigation strategies will give you a sense of the best ways to plan, prepare, and react to this crisis.
  3. Assign a point of contact to maximize communication between your system and your state and local public health system 
  4. Develop a communications plan between you and your local public health department. 
  5. Update your emergency operations plan with the help of your local public health department, emergency operations coordinator or planning team, and other relevant partners to include COVID-19 planning.
  6. Ensure continued communication and coordination between local providers and public health officials will be necessary to ensure recommendations are shared across agencies, and updated as the situation evolves.

 

Currently, the CDC has created guidance for community-based organizations into three categories based on  the level of community transmission (Read more about these strategies here and level of transmission is available in CDC’s framework for mitigation). It is recommended that all decisions about implementing these strategies (e.g., alteration or reduction of services, event cancellations, other social distancing measures) should be made locally, in collaboration with local health officials who can help determine the level of transmission in the community.

Looking to get started? Use NACCHO’s Directory of Local Health Departments

The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO)  has created a tool to help you search for local health departments in your area. Please note, the contacts listed in this directory are the department’s “primary contact” at each local health department, and may not be the primary contact for COVID-19 response activities. While the information will still help you with initial contacts, you will likely be directed to a more appropriate contact person at the agency.  Access the directory of local health departments here

 For more information on CDC guidelines for community-based organizations, visit this link.

 

As we all work collectively to make the necessary changes to address the spread of disease and continue our services as much as possible, NCMM will continue to support mobility managers in their efforts. As community challenges and needs become clearer over the next few weeks, please share any questions, concerns, or examples of how you have adjusted your work to address the virus through the survey hosted on our dedicated COVID-19 webpage, in the button below. NCMM will be continuing to focus on this topic, so please continue to check our blog and website for updates and more information.

We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).