Battling COVID-19: Are Local Governments Prepared?
American City & County recently surveyed its readership to get a better understanding of their preparedness for and response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. While some communities, it seems, were under-prepared, the survey reveals most respondents felt confident in their department’s ability to handle the health crisis.
Highlights from the results include:
- More local leaders felt prepared than didn’t, and those that weren’t are quickly developing strategies to deal with the outbreak – based on previous protocols or from scratch.
- Most leaders felt at least somewhat prepared to deal with this crisis, while less than a third of total respondents described their posture as “very prepared.” Also worth nothing were the not insignificant numbers of leaders who self-described themselves as “barely prepared,” and “not at all.”
- Leaders who are working with consultants through the crisis are fairly evenly split on the topics they’re seeking help on. Cleaning and disinfecting public areas, however, was the most popular by a slim margin.
- Combating misinformation during the crisis seems as difficult as combating the spread of the virus itself. Local leaders are concentrating efforts on social media to stay in touch with their constituents, directing people to reliable sources and staying in touch with their local media partners to help separate fact from fiction.
- The vast majority of respondents said they are cancelling meetings in their communities in response to the outbreak, as well as limiting public meetings and working from home.
*** American City & County will be covering local governments’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak extensively over the next several weeks. If your government is taking any novel actions to address the outbreak in your community, we would love to hear about it — email any details to AC&C’s Associate Editor Jason Axelrod at Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org, or editor Derek Prall at email@example.com.