New Jersey has continually prepared for, responded to, and recovered from weather, biological, radiological, and terrorism-related public health emergencies. September 11th, Anthrax, H1N1, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Super Bowl XLVIII, the 2015 Papal Visit, Ebola, Zika, and of course, COVID-19 have impacted the health and safety of New Jersey’s residents, requiring NJDOH to constantly review and adapt planning & operations while being flexible, creative and responsive based on the situation.
Learning from each event, NJDOH’s efforts focus on enhancing preparedness and strengthening resiliency. We do this primarily through four tenets: a) making sure our public health infrastructure and healthcare continuum has the capability to activate and expand surge capacity, b) providing comprehensive and coordinated care and response during emergent times, c) protecting New Jersey's healthcare workers and first responders, and d) ultimately informing, educating, and protecting the residents of New Jersey.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the Union as well as one of the most racially and ethnically diverse. NJDOH recognizes each incident may potentially impact different at-risk/vulnerable/hard-to-reach populations and thus, we work collaboratively within NJDOH and with our external partners to ensure all residents are considered in our activities and strategies.
Key players in our preparedness, prevention, response and recovery efforts are our health care professionals, first responders, State agency partners, external partners—such as associations and non-profit organizations--as well as the public health community at-large, including, but not limited to local health departments (LHDs) and the Medical Reserve Corps. During Covid-19 partnerships were critical (and remain so) to executing strategies to outreach, test, vaccinate and boost special populations, such as the homebound or immunocompromised, and the general public. Some external partners working with us during our Covid-19 response also include Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, ShopRite, Wegmans, and Stop-and-Shop/Giant Pharmacies, Rite-aid, independent pharmacies, AARP, Renal Association, Executive County Superintendents, Pediatricians, Pediatrician Association, Planned Parenthood (vulnerable populations), Visiting Nurse Association (homebound), Americold, Emergency Medical Services Task Force, and 24/7 courier services.
Our application delineates our methods to ensure information, communication, laboratory capacity and function, coordination among levels of government and across State agencies, data collection and management, utilization of existing and new partnerships, surge staffing and quarantine and isolation provision can be implemented timely, flexibly, and with an eye toward vulnerable populations.
With this funding NJDOH will undertake activities that will enhance public health awareness, preparedness, planning, prevention, and operational readiness for responding to and recovering from an emerging infectious disease event or potential natural disaster/weather-related disaster.