Virginia ranked as one of the best states prepared for public health emergencies

VCU Emergency hospital entrance in Richmond.
VCU Emergency hospital entrance in Richmond.(Parker Michels-Boyce / For The Virginia Mercury)
Published: Mar. 19, 2022 at 2:08 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Virginia has been recognized as one of the nation’s best prepared states to respond to public health emergencies. A title that has gone undefeated for several years running.

One of the latest reports of Virginia’s preparedness standing is from Trust for America’s Health, Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism puts Virginia in their top tier of all states.

The report measures levels of preparedness at the state level and how they respond to a wide range of health emergencies including infectious outbreaks, natural disasters and manmade events.

Virginia was also ranked one of the top states in last year’s National Health Security Preparedness Index that evaluates a state’s readiness to tackle public health emergencies.

“This ongoing and repeated validation of Virginia’s public health emergency preparedness is a testament to the hard work of the thousands of employees of the Virginia Department of Health who day in and day out are focused on protecting the health and promoting the well-being of Virginians,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Our ongoing attention to preparedness means that when we are faced with situations such as this pandemic or severe weather events or calculated attacks, we have systems, guidance, relationships and community partnerships in place to launch a comprehensive response.”

March 7 marked two years since the first confirmed COVID-19 case was found in Virginia. Since then, public health agencies, private health care providers like hospitals and health systems have worked hard to try and combat the over 1.65 million COVID-19 cases that resulted in over 105,600 hospitalizations.

“Virginia’s hospitals are critical partners in the Commonwealth’s emergency preparedness infrastructure and essential providers of life-saving care to patients, including those whose well-being is compromised by public health emergencies,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “The pandemic has been a real-world stress test of our health care delivery system and its level of emergency readiness. While there are always opportunities to improve, it is gratifying to see that Virginia’s commitment to preparedness continues to place us among the top states in the nation.”

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