248: New COVID-19 Guidelines

Ian Williams, Incident Manager for the CDC's COVID-19 Response, discusses the latest changes to public pandemic guidance; Lillian Colasurdo, ASTHO’s Director of Public Health Law and Data, reflects on the first-ever convening of those public health...


Ian Williams, Incident Manager for the CDC's COVID-19 Response, discusses the latest changes to public pandemic guidance; Lillian Colasurdo, ASTHO’s Director of Public Health Law and Data, reflects on the first-ever convening of those public health law professionals; Dr. Karen Smith, California’s former State Health Officer, discusses her experiences communicating during crisis events in an ASTHO Blog Article; and ASTHO is hiring to fill several open positions.

CDC Webpage: Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems — United States, August 2022

ASTHO Webpage: State Health Policy

Public Health Law Practitioners Convening Webpage

ASTHO Blog Article: Communicating Through Crises: Advice from a Public Health Leader

ASTHO Webpage: Public Health Careers

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, August 24th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

 

IAN WILLIAMS:

This guidance will help us in our public health efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 has on our health, our healthcare systems, and society while also focusing on our efforts to protect those who are most at risk.

JOHNSON:

That's the voice of Ian Williams, incident manager for the CDC COVID-19 response, on changes to public pandemic guidance.

WILLIAMS:

This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic's not over, but it'll help us move to a point where COVID-19 is no longer severely disrupting. Updates to the CDC guidance will help people understand their personal risk for serious illness from COVID-19 and help make them make informed decisions about how to layer prevention strategies.

JOHNSON:

Williams says the new guidelines reflect the knowledge and tools now available to respond to the COVID-19 virus.

WILLIAMS:

We're continuing to emphasize improving ventilation as a key strategy to prevent illness, but we're really deemphasizing maintaining a particular physical distance apart for the general community. We're no longer recommending screening-testing in most community settings and instead indicating that the types of settings where screening-testing might be considered or places like high-risk targeted settings and other places where vulnerable people might live or work.

JOHNSON:

Williams adds the CDC wants to stay in close contact with ASTHO members as the country prepares to enter its third fall season of the pandemic.

WILLIAMS:

We hope that things don't change, there's not an emergence of a new variant that escapes our occurrence vaccines or immunity profiles about what that should happen. We're going to need to work very closely with our public health leaders out there to understand sort of how we're going to evolve this guidance, where we need to change it.

JOHNSON:

Read more about the new CDC guidelines using the link in the show notes.

 

Public health attorneys and legal experts gathered recently in Chicago for the first-ever convening of those who practice public health law.

ASTHO's Lillian Colasurdo says the meeting gave legal professionals the chance to connect with one another.

LILLIAN COLASURDO:

You know, after several years of a pandemic, a lot of these attorneys—solo attorneys for health departments—I think just really benefited from a chance to be together almost as a group therapy session, really to just share their experiences and, you know, talk about what went well and what didn't go well over the last few years.

JOHNSON:

Colasurdo reminds agencies to stay in close contact with their legal teams and to engage them as soon as possible when issues pop up.

COLASURDO:

One of the things I often advise people at health departments now, and what they can do to have better communication with their attorney, is to set up regular meetings and check-ins with them when there's not a crisis involved and to talk about things like how you want those lines of communication to work. How frequently do you want to check in? How early do attorneys need to be brought in on different things?

 

ROBERT JOHNSON:

Communication with staff is important during a crisis, but so is outreach to key audiences. ASTHO alum Dr. Karen Smith discusses her experiences communicating during crisis events when she was California state health officer.

You can read the interview in a new blog article. There's a link in the show notes.

 

Finally today, ASTHO is hiring to fill several open positions. The agency is looking for a director of contracts, a senior analyst for preparedness and disability integration, and a senior director of public health agency research and business intelligence.

You can learn more about these jobs and others using the link in the show notes.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We are back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

Ian Williams PhD MS

Deputy Director, Center for Preparedness and Response; and Incident Manager, COVID-19 Response, CDC

Lillian Colasurdo JD

Director, Public Health Law and Data Sharing, ASTHO