The present report describes the implementation of an emergency operations center to coordinate the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following the public health emergency management framework proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), this temporary center (COE COVID-19 RIO) started operating in January 2021. The report is organized along five themes: legal framework; structure, planning, and procedures; institutional articulation; health information for decision-making; and risk communication. Major advances obtained with the initiative include improvements in governance for the management of COVID-19, increase in the synergy among sectors and institutions, improved information sharing in relation to COVID-19 prevention and control measures, innovation in epidemiologic analyses, and gains in transparency and decision-making opportunities. In conclusion, even if conceived at an advanced stage of the pandemic in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, the COE COVID-19 RIO has played a relevant role in shaping the city’s responses to the pandemic. Also, despite its temporary character, the experience will leave a lasting legacy for the management of future public health emergencies in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro.
Oliveira e Cruz et al.