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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(2)2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1016172


Background: This year has seen the emergence of two major crises, a significant increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, little is known as to how each of these two events have impacted the other. A rapid qualitative assessment was conducted to determine the impact of the pandemic on preparedness and response to natural disasters and the impact of past experiences with natural disasters in responding to the pandemic. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 representatives of 24 different community-based programs in southern Louisiana. Data were analyzed using procedures embedded in the Rapid Assessment Procedure-Informed Community Ethnography methodology, using techniques of immersion and crystallization and focused thematic analysis. Results: The pandemic has impacted the form and function of disaster preparedness, making it harder to plan for evacuations in the event of a hurricane. Specific concerns included being able to see people in person, providing food and other resources to residents who shelter in place, finding volunteers to assist in food distribution and other forms of disaster response, competing for funds to support disaster-related activities, developing new support infrastructures, and focusing on equity in disaster preparedness. However, several strengths based on disaster preparedness experience and capabilities were identified, including providing a framework for how to respond and adapt to COVID and integration of COVID response with their normal disaster preparedness activities. Conclusions: Although prior experience has enabled community-based organizations to respond to the pandemic, the pandemic is also creating new challenges to preparing for and responding to natural disasters.

COVID-19 , Disaster Planning/organization & administration , Disasters , Pandemics , Cyclonic Storms , Humans , Louisiana
Ethn Dis ; 30(4): 695-700, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808403


The coronavirus pandemic of 2019 (COVID-19) has created unprecedented changes to everyday life for millions of Americans due to job loss, school closures, stay-at-home orders and health and mortality consequences. In turn, physicians, academics, and policymakers have turned their attention to the public mental health toll of COVID-19. This commentary reporting from the field integrates perceptions of academic, community, health system, and policy leaders from state, county, and local levels in commenting on community mental health needs in the COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholders noted the broad public health scope of mental health challenges while expressing concern about exacerbation of existing disparities in access and adverse social determinants, including for communities with high COVID-19 infection rates, such as African Americans and Latinos. They noted rapid changes toward telehealth and remote care, and the importance of understanding impacts of changes, including who may benefit or have limited access, with implications for future services delivery. Needs for expanded workforce and training in mental health were noted, as well as potential public health value of expanding digital resources tailored to local populations for enhancing resilience to stressors. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in delivery of health care services across populations and systems. Concerns over the mental health impact of COVID-19 has enhanced interest in remote mental care delivery and preventive services, while being mindful of potential for enhanced disparities and needs to address social determinants of health. Ongoing quality improvement across systems can integrate lessons learned to enhance a public mental well-being.

Coronavirus Infections , Delivery of Health Care , Health Services Needs and Demand/organization & administration , Mental Health/trends , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Public Health , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Delivery of Health Care/trends , Humans , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Public Health/methods , Public Health/trends , Quality Improvement , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology