On April 30, the NC Chamber facilitated a critical conversation with Dale Jenkins, CEO of Curi and former chair of the NC Chamber, and Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. They discussed why the best approach to a safe, smart reopening and successful path forward in a COVID-19 world is public-private sector collaboration. The webinar and slide deck can be accessed here.
“We’re at the end of the beginning,” Dr. McClellan explained. He presented insight as to why the state needs to be in a proactive place for testing/tracing/treatment before reopening and identified next steps for North Carolina:
- Increasing COVID-19 testing and contact tracing (includes extensive testing for high-risk workers and vulnerable populations)
- Securing capacity for elective surgeries and other non-COVID-19 health care
- Following meaningful milestones and new cases/hospitalizations trends when looking at reopening dates
- Empowering businesses to be partners in advancing reopening process by establishing best practices now
Dr. McClellan delivered details on what “staying ahead of the curve” means for our state. To get to where we need to be, there should be sustained reductions in new cases and hospitalizations for 14 days. Along with following this trend, North Carolinians need better access to testing and personal protective equipment, particularly gowns and N95 Respirators. Ideally, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms as well as workers in high-risk settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, would be tested to trace contacts.
The webinar addressed best practices for reopening planning such as preparing COVID-19 employee safety training and symptom screening protocol, developing reduced capacity/social distancing guidelines and looking at various procedures Georgia and Texas are utilizing right now. The CDC offers reopening resources that businesses can use to start preparing. OSHA also provides guidance for workplaces.
The NC Chamber thanks Dr. Mark McClellan and Dale Jenkins for sharing their ideas and expertise so that employers understand the current health system response to COVID-19 and ways to plan for next steps in navigating the road ahead. Businesses are key to our public health resiliency and recovery.