Responsibilities In A Public Health Emergency

This chart outlines the authorities of various departments/federal branches/agencies during public health emergencies to clarify the “chain of command” and federal oversight process. Actionable authorities include isolation and quarantine, declaring national emergency, and liability protections.

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Public Health Authority

The authority to act to protect and promote the public's health has emerged over the course of our Nation’s history, and has enabled many of modern public health’s greatest achievements. Today, public health agencies use their authority to promote health, prevent the spread of infectious disease, protect against environmental hazards, advance equity and assure local public health infrastructure and health services. During declared emergencies, state and federal authorities have broader powers to act to assist governments, suspend or modify legal requirements, pass and enforce law and expend funds for the health, safety and welfare of society. Recently, some states have moved to limit public health powers. Such efforts pose a mounting challenge for public health’s response to COVID-19 and future threats.

Quarantine and Isolation

This topic is coming soon!

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Public Health


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