Murphy Signs Executive Order Establishing Task Force To Bolster Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness

Governor Phil Murphy has signed Executive Order No. 356 establishing a Task Force on Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness to help ready the State for future disasters and public health emergencies. The Task Force will be responsible for evaluating the recommendations of the first-in-the-nation independent review of the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and guiding the implementation of new policies to ensure New Jersey has a comprehensive response plan in place for pandemics and other emergencies.

“The recent independent report provides a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of our State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishing a Task Force to review these findings and work to implement critical changes will help ensure our State is better prepared for the next emergency,” said Governor Murphy. “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to act quickly to safeguard our residents and stop the spread of a virus responsible for tremendous loss of life across the nation. With today’s Executive Order, we are taking decisive action to address gaps in preparedness and set future administrations up for success in combating crises.”

The Task Force will be co-chaired by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Superintendent of the State Police who also serves as the State Director of Emergency Management. The other members of the Task Force will be senior officials from across state government whose responsibilities are central to the independent report’s recommendations to better prepare the State for future pandemics and other emergencies.

“Reviewing the report’s recommendations and codifying the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will help bolster our emergency response preparedness for the future,” said Health Commissioner Kaitlan Baston, MD. “I look forward to working with Colonel Callahan on this important work to build a stronger, healthier and more equitable New Jersey.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen challenges as New Jersey and the rest of the world battled an international health crisis like no other in more than 100 years,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Our biggest takeaway is that you can never be too prepared, which is why creating the Task Force on Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness is so crucial. I look forward to working with all members of the Task Force to ensure that New Jersey continues to excel in the face of adversity and provide our residents with the highest level of safety and security they truly deserve.”

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