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The National Governors Association has released a guide for governors to help them determine how to lead their states to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
The “Roadmap to Recovery” includes a 10-step recommendation that addresses both public health needs as well as economic issues involved in reopening.
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“A successful strategy for reopening requires states to build the public health infrastructure needed to slow the spread of COVID-19, while developing and implementing a staged plan for bringing the economy back to life,” the guide says. “These steps require the full participation of the federal government, state health agencies, other state agencies, local governments, the private sector, and the public.”
The document notes that safety must be the top priority so that a bad situation does not get worse.
“Opening prematurely—or opening without the tools in place to rapidly identify and stop the spread of the virus—could send states back into crisis mode, push health systems past capacity, and force states back into strict social distancing measures,” the guide says.
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The first step in the recommended process is to expand testing capacities and availabilities in order to better control the spread and detect cases early on. Next is monitoring populations to watch for signs of spreading once areas begin the reopening process.
Other health-related steps include scaling up isolation, contact tracing and quarantines; making sure state health care systems have resources needed if there is a surge in cases; and protecting health care workers and vulnerable populations.
After achieving those goals, the roadmap details recommended measures for getting the economy up and running. These steps include developing a plan to maintain communication with the public, establishing a framework and specific criteria to be met for reopening, and creating partnerships between the public and private sectors to put that plan into action.
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Finally, the roadmap calls for being able to “frequently” take fresh looks at the plan and make needed adjustments and improvements.
The organization’s guide follows the White House’s own recommended multi-phase reopening plan. Both include waiting for a sustained period of declining case numbers before moving forward with reopening.