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ADPH committee set up to help prepare for next pandemic


ADPH committee set up to help prepare for next pandemic

Mar 16, 2023 | 3:20 pm ET
By Alander Rocha
ADPD committee set up to help prepare for next pandemic
On February 16, 2023, Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, presented a report on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Montgomery. (Alander Rocha/Photo)

The Alabama State Committee of Public Health Thursday unanimously voted to evaluate the department’s response to the COVID pandemic and prepare for the next one.

The group will establish an ad hoc committee to study the state’s preparedness.

“As Winston Churchill said, no matter how good your plan is, occasionally you need to stop and look at results,” said Dr. David Thrasher, a board member of the Alabama Department of Public Health, who made the proposal.

State health officials confirmed the first COVID-19 case in Alabama on March 13, 2020. Since then, Alabama has seen at least 1.6 million COVID cases and over 21,000 deaths.

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The vote followed a report from State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris last month outlining the state’s response to COVID-19.  Thrasher  said he’d like to “see this ad hoc committee to look and see what we did right, what we did wrong and how we will prepare for the next pandemic, instead of just saying we got a plan.”

Harris said that data on COVID has improved in the state. The state saw about 1,800 reported cases last week, which he said has been one of the best weeks since November. There are also about 200 hospitalizations, which he said was manageable. The state has reported 137 deaths this year.

“COVID really did play a big role, like I said, not only in COVID infections, but just the disruption to health care access, even in the absence of actual COVID impact,” Harris said.