Thursday, March 5, 2020

What City Officials Should Know About the New Coronavirus

Most municipalities have disaster plans in place for floods, tornadoes or hurricanes. Yet outbreaks in recent years of flu strains as well as the new coronavirus, have led many city leaders to adjust their disaster plans or create new ones that would allow city services to keep running in the event of a pandemic. 

When a pandemic strikes, people in many areas become ill at the same time. It is the responsibility of state and local governments to continue providing services to the public while stemming the spread of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

In South Carolina, city governments have no direct responsibility for vaccinations, education or public health functions. Yet city leaders still need to have policies in place to provide both regular services and reassurances to residents, even if a majority of the city employees are affected by the pandemic. 

Most municipalities are keeping a close watch on coronavirus developments, and making sure their employees are taking steps to stay healthy. Local governments have been stressing the importance of individual infection control measures, such as washing hands frequently and using sanitizers and proper cough etiquette. 

If a pandemic strikes, the key to slowing its spread is to reduce or eliminate contact with sick individuals. Many municipalities are encouraging sick employees to stay home. 

While health officials continue to monitor outbreaks of the coronavirus, there is always a risk that the situation could change quickly in South Carolina. Health officials urge local governments to continue to promote healthy practices to prevent spreading the illness and to have a plan in place for worst-case scenarios. 

DHEC Resources 

Additional Resources 

The Association will post additional resources as they become available to our website.