A Change in Plans Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Englewood Health Department has been diligently working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our role has changed completely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a public health agency, the majority of the department’s staff is responding to the pandemic by conducting contact tracing, logging patient information and symptomology, keeping a tally of persons in isolation and quarantine, deceased citizens, hospitalized individuals, answering COVID-19 phone calls and distributing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to individuals within the community. We also began a community empowerment series to help residents cope with all of the uncertainty and the feeling of being overwhelmed with anxiety and stress during this challenging time. Additionally, the Health Department helped with the first Bergen County COVID-19 mobile testing site in Englewood. The site tested symptomatic and asymptomatic Bergen county residents and employees as well as tested individuals for antibodies. Due to the pandemic, we decided it wasn’t the proper time to begin contacting community leaders or residents in regards to the assessment/health audit.
Although we have not been able to begin the needs assessment as scheduled, the NJHCN Grant is still being discussed and our plans have merely been postponed. We will begin the needs assessment in June as our COVID-19 cases continue to decrease from our peak of 54 cases in one day to 1- 3 cases these last two weeks. Due to the pandemic, we will begin by completing an open-ended questionnaire via telephone with community leaders such as councilmen, houses of worship, active community members, government agencies and local non-profit organizations. The purpose of the questionnaire is to get a better understanding of the needs of the community and barriers that affect residents’ health outcomes. After we complete the initial questionnaire with community leaders our goal is to complete 3-4 focus groups with Englewood residents via Zoom. We are still unsure at this time how we will reach a much larger population once we finish Stage Two of the community needs assessment. Our hope is that New Jersey will reopen, and we can reach individuals to complete a minimum of 500 surveys by October of 2020.
Our questionnaire and survey will then be analyzed by The Bloustein Team at Rutgers University to offer a set of recommendations for action by the City of Englewood Health Department.
About the Grantee
The mission of the Englewood Health Department is to protect and enhance the health of the people in Englewood. The Department accomplishes this mission by creating viable partnerships with organizations in the community and individuals, promoting healthy lifestyles and responding to critical health issues and disasters.