CCHD Participates in Statewide Exercise
On the afternoon of Friday, March 21, the Cascade City-County Health Department (CCHD) began participating in an extended full scale exercise with numerous jurisdictions and agencies across the state. Like actual public health events, this exercise is beginning slowly with simulated reports of illness trickling in to CCHD. Over time, the amount of simulated illnesses is going to increase, eventually necessitating that the State send a simulated request for Federal assets, including medication and other medical inventory.
This exercise will unfold over the next week, pause for the week of March 31st, and then resume on April 7th. The activities CCHD will be conducting are ones that would take place in a real event of this nature and include tracking illnesses in the County, communicating critical information with the State, and receiving, inventorying, and tracking medical supplies. During this exercise, one plan that will be tested is CCHD’s Pandemic Influenza Plan. Although, there has not been a Pandemic in the United States since H1N1, we use components of this plan each year for seasonal influenza, or when novel strains of influenza are being seen in other places around the world. This exercise is a great opportunity to extend the scope of our planning to involve other partners and Agencies that would be part of an actual response. In addition, exercises of this nature help the Agency better prepare for how it would respond to numerous public health emergencies including a bioterrorist attack or disease outbreak.
“This exercise is one of many efforts we engage in to increase and encourage preparedness in our staff, our agency and our community,” says Alicia M. Thompson, CCHD’s Health Officer. She continues, “While we hope that this type of incident never occurs, we have to plan and be ready to respond, if necessary. Additionally, our public health staff can build skills that are utilized in many of their daily job activities. Ongoing events in our world, nation and state remind us we need to be as prepared as possible to respond to large scale public health emergencies.”
This is not the only exercise that CCHD participates in or conducts each year. The Annual Community Flu Shot Clinics are another example of how CCHD is always working to help protect the health of the public. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, visit CCHD’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program or call 454-6950.