The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) urges the Administration to propose and Congress to pass a Fiscal Year 2020 supplemental appropriations bill to expand and strengthen state, territorial, tribal, and local public health capacity and coordination in the ongoing response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional funding is needed to respond and stay ahead of the epidemic as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves.
CSTE represents over 2,000 applied epidemiologists that support capacity to monitor and protect the public’s health from emerging threats such as COVID-19. Epidemiologists are on the front lines of the public health response and are some of the first responders once at-risk individuals enter the U.S. Currently, there are no antivirals or vaccines to treat or prevent COVID-19, so epidemiologists are relying on isolation, quarantine, monitoring at-risk individuals, and conducting follow ups on close contacts. For every sick or at-risk individual that enters the U.S., epidemiologists monitor multiple people associated with that individual for two weeks. During a public health emergency, this can be challenging as the number of quarantined and monitored individuals increases. It is critical that federal funding is available to support public health surge capacity to ensure a timely and effective response.
As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, it is also critical to advance public health surveillance data systems and analytics to support rapid detection and response. Instantaneous data and information are needed to monitor cases, trace contacts, and rapidly communicate with persons under quarantine. “Currently, the U.S. relies on outdated manual methods such as faxes, phone calls, and electronic systems that are not interoperable allowing the virus to move faster than the data,” stated Jeffrey Engel, MD, Executive Director of CSTE. “Sustained funding is needed to improve data analytics and epidemiological surveillance system capacity at the state and local level to facilitate electronic seamless reporting and information sharing between health care facilities and public health. This will ensure optimal isolation and management of cases and their contacts and allow epidemiologists to respond effectively with the speed and intensity the outbreak demands.” CSTE looks forward to working with Congress to ensure supplemental funding is provided to protect the nation’s health and prevent unnecessary deaths.
Media Contact: Jeremy Arieh, Director of Communications, 770-458-3811, [email protected]
Source: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
Founded in 1951, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) represents the interests of State Epidemiologists from all 50 U.S. states and territories, comprising the Council. CSTE is also the professional home to over 2000 practicing applied epidemiologists working at the state, local, tribal and territorial levels. For more information, visit www.cste.org.