Task Force Shares Recommendations for Contact Tracing, Resilience Exercises, Data Protection

Updated: 3 days ago

COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force holds second meeting, further develops its vision for equitable economic recovery and renewal in the DMV PRESS RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2020 – Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force held its second meeting on Thursday, affirming its support for regional collaboration and making recommendations for contact tracing, resilience exercises, and data protection principles. Task Force member Anthony Williams, CEO and Executive Director of the Federal City Council, and former mayor of Washington, D.C., re-emphasized the importance of ensuring that each recommendation advances equity for all citizens of the DMV, affirming after the meeting: “As a Task Force comprised of some of the region’s strongest corporations, most impactful community organizations, and dedicated government officials, we have the power and obligation to rise to the challenge and ensure that our recommendations help to drive equitable reforms throughout the DMV. We must be socially responsible and pursue a path to long-term recovery that directly addresses the underlying inequities in our communities.” The 51-member cross-sector Task Force, which is comprised of a mixture of commercial, academic, and community leaders, provided a recommendation to enhance region-wide coordination of contact tracing and case investigations as a means to manage regional recovery. The recommendation calls for “feet on the street” education services to educate the high risk populations regarding their health care decisions, the development of a regional trust framework with agreements for data use and sharing, and the strengthening of connections to health care resources in order to improve health care access and health outcomes. “COVID-19 doesn’t respect jurisdictional boundaries, and everyone in the region is affected,” said Jill DeGraff, Founder and Managing Partner of Aperture Law Group. “We need a contact tracing capability that can quickly investigate cases and identify targeted containment strategies, so that the region’s government leaders can press ‘pause’ on our reopening efforts less frequently and for shorter time frames. A regional approach is also crucial for linking vulnerable populations to the health care and social services that are needed, regardless of where they live.” The Task Force also agreed for the need to initiate a series of crisis exercises to facilitate region-wide planning, enhance response capabilities, and improve community resilience by bringing together existing regional resilience efforts. Among the Task Force’s specific recommendations was the need to commission a design team to define and initiate a series of biannual, cross-cutting public-private-academia exercises that enable testing of protocols, roles, responsibilities, technologies, processes, and governance to help improve regional planning, response, and recovery. The scope of the initial exercise will be limited to the distribution of food and medical supplies to the most vulnerable and underrepresented populations in the event of a widespread COVID-19 resurgence later this year. “Like no moment before, the onset of COVID-19 has illuminated the need to cut across silos and reach across sectors to enhance our regional preparedness,” Task Force member Radha Muthiah, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, subsequently added. “Every industry and jurisdiction in our area has a stake – and a role to play – in ensuring that our response in times of crisis is coordinated and effective. It’s only through working together that we can reduce community risk and exposure; expedite recovery times; minimize the impact on our most vulnerable populations and frontline workers; and build our economy back in ways that create greater opportunity for all who live here.” The Task Force’s third recommendation called for a working group to determine how organizations obtain, process, handle, transport, and store personally identifiable information and other potentially sensitive data across DMV jurisdictions. The actions call for the cross-discipline, industry, and sector-wide working group to establish the data management and protection principles necessary to ultimately adopt consistent and fair data protection standards. The working group will also coordinate with the development of federal standards. "One of the core concepts at the heart of Connected DMV is enabling a more resilient and sustainable regionally connected economy,” said Jamil Jaffer, Founder & Executive Director of the National Security Institute, Assistant Professor of Law, and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program at George Mason University. “Such an economy depends on gathering, sharing, analyzing, and protecting regional data to deliver valuable outcomes, benefits, and true economic opportunities for all populations. To ensure that we handle this data properly, particularly any sensitive data, and do so in an equitable manner that protects the rights, liberties, and very real needs of all members of the DMV, including the vulnerable and underrepresented populations, we must apply a robust set of data management and protection principles." Connected DMV is powered by 18 Solution Groups, comprising over 300 volunteers from over 175 different organizations across this region. These Solution Groups work closely with the core team at Connected DMV to research, discuss, and formulate the recommendations for deliberation by the Task Force. Sixteen regional organizations and many of their members are also participating. The region is collaborating at scale to create a stronger, more resilient, and equitable region for all that live, work, and play in the DMV. Over the course of the next five months, the Task Force will continue to release actionable recommendations that will complement and help to connect the efforts of regional governments. The results will set the foundation for a more robust and durable marketplace for innovators, small and large businesses, and other organizations to thrive in our nation’s capital region.