SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health releases second COVID-19 Policy Brief

The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) released a second joint brief examining the COVID-19 pandemic and state and federal policy changes impacting residents. To view the second brief as well as additional COVID-19 updates and resources, visit imph.org/covid-19/.

To aid decision-makers, IMPH and NCIOM continue to actively monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and analyze state and federal actions to address the health, economic and social fallout of the crisis. Since the first joint COVID-19 brief between IMPH and NCIOM, which was released on April 9, Congress and state legislatures have passed bills to appropriate funds for multiple sectors that have been impacted. Governors have also begun to open state economies or lay out plans to do so.

In South Carolina, actions continue to be taken to address the crisis caused by the spread of the new coronavirus. Updates on the economic impact on the state include the following:

• South Carolina budget forecasters project $507 million in losses in expected revenue for the current budget year (ending in June) and $643 million in losses for the fiscal year beginning in July.
• As of May 1, 2020, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has spent $9,298,204.93 of South Carolina’s $45 million contingency reserve fund.

Read more about South Carolina and the COVID-19 pandemic in part two of the issue brief series.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary public health and policy challenge,” says Maya Pack, associate executive director at IMPH. “We are committed to providing analysis and updates on COVID-19 and what it means for our state. Our team is working hard to ensure that our leaders and decision-makers have the information and resources needed to understand the impact of the pandemic and improve South Carolina’s health and health care.”

Committees Taking Action
On April 20, 2020, Governor Henry McMaster organized accelerateSC, a coordinated COVID-19 task force that recommends economic revitalization plans for South Carolina. The task force is made up of 30 leaders from different sectors around the state including six members from the General Assembly. The economic revitalization committee was working to make recommendations on how to allocate the $1.9 billion in funding for the state from the CARES Act, but Governor McMaster signed a bill giving the South Carolina legislature full control over the direction of the funding

Education leaders from across the state have established accelerateED, a committee designed to break down barriers to online education and plan the safe return of 780,000 students to more than 1,200 schools this fall.

Determining social distancing guidelines for schools will be a challenge, as Greenville County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. Scott Turner stated that maintaining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended six feet of distance on a 77-passenger school bus would allow only 13 passengers per bus.

COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups
A disproportionately high number of African Americans are dying from COVID-19. Whites make up 68% of the population of South Carolina and 40% percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state. African Americans account for 27% of the Palmetto State’s population but 54% of COVID-19 deaths. Like other minority groups, Latinos’ baseline health inequities have also been exacerbated by COVID-19 and related quarantine measures.

Understanding Policy Impact on Carolinians
This series of joint briefs are helpful to leaders and decision-makers because they serve as an easy reference for understanding how all of the extremely significant federal legislation passed recently will impact our state and help the people of the Carolinas.

A Long-Term Situation
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis have been developing for months, yet we are most likely in the early stages of a long-term situation that will require ongoing state and federal actions to protect the health and well-being of Americans. IMPH and NCIOM will continue to monitor federal actions and their potential impacts on the residents and communities of the Carolinas.

To read the full report or for more information compiled by IMPH regarding COVID-19 response, visit imph.org/covid-19/.

 

About IMPH

The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) is an independent, nonprofit organization with the mission to collectively inform policy to improve health and health care. IMPH serves as an informed, nonpartisan convener and provider of evidence-based information relevant to policy decisions and other actions impacting the health and well-being of all South Carolinians. IMPH seeks to achieve its mission by convening academic, governmental, organizational and community-based stakeholders around important health issues. Learn more at https://imph.org/.

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