Joint Legislative Oversight Health and Human Services – COVID-19

The Joint Legislative Oversight Health and Human Services Committee met on August 11, 2020 at 10:00am.

COVID-19 Opening Remarks from the Secretary

Dr. Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, informed the Committee that the State took early and aggressive action to slow the spread of the virus.

She emphasized that the public must continue to practice the 3 Ws, wear a mask, wash your hands, and wait six feet apart. The state’s strategies include prevention, testing/tracing, and isolation/quarantine.

The current 3 key prevention strategies that the Department is focusing on currently include the following:

  • Promote public messaging
  • Provide personal protectice equipment
  • Issue guidance and support

To date, DHHS has distributed 3.5 million cloth masks and 4.5 million procedure masks, and additional PPE supplies across the state.

There are approximately 30,000 daily tests completed daily and turnaround times have improved to a 3 day average.

DHHS currently has over 1,800 staff members to support contact tracing efforts.

DHHS COVID-19 Funds

To date, DHHS has recieved $345,340,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds from the Us Treasury appropriated through the General Assembly. All funding allocated from this source must be used by 12/30/2020.

Other CARES Act funding recieved, mostly through grants, totals $508, 230,785. These funds have longer liquidation periods ranging from 12-36 months.

Funding initiatives to support child welfare, nutrition, child care, older adults, housing, and mental health were highlighted.

DHHS has worked with emergency management to distribute $180 million to distribute PPE to health care workers, long term facilities, childcare centers, court facilities, and schools.

DHHS is investing federal funds to strengthen our public health infrastructure to continue to meet the demands of the pandemic.

  • $26.9 million – modernize public health survelliance systems
  • $14.8 million – surge staffinf for temporary employees and consultants
  • $1 million – support scientific research to learn the impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 Impact on Children

NCMS Member, Dr. David Hill, MD, FAAP, provided an update to the Committee about the impact COVID-19 is having on children.

Dr. Hill informed the committee that science constantly improvies on itself which is a strength, but can also cause confusion as better information comes to light.

He added that children ages 0-18 account for approcimately 9% of all US COVID-19 cases. An aysmptomatic infection is commen in children.

He stated hospitalization rates are 95% lower for kids than adults, but 1/3 of hospitalized kids end up in intensive care units.

He added minority children and muti-generational households have a higher risk factor. We can all reduce the spread by using face masks, social distancing, and hand washing.

Children continuing to receive their scheduled vaccinations is a major concern for pediatricians.

 
 

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