Health Department hosts epidemic response practice

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Hinzman Regional Epidemiologist Kim Kline, Randolph County Health Department Threat Preparedness Officer Bonnie Woodrum and West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Area Liaison Shawn Dunbrack were among those who helped to implement, facilitate and evaluate this week’s tabletop exercise.

ELKINS — The Elkins-Randolph County Health Department and the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management sponsored a tabletop exercise for emergency service officials to practice enacting plans of response in the event of a pandemic influenza epidemic.

At the event on Tuesday, held at the Health Department offices, a scenario was described to participants that represented the stages of a pan flu outbreak: one month, two weeks, one week and one day before, and the day of the outbreak.

Participants were then encouraged to consider the issues concerning the various stages alongside the role their departments could take in identifying the illness, identifying the key issues related to their fields, and preparing the public through the distribution of information.

The Health Department’s Bonnie Woodrum welcomed the participants. Regional Epidemiologist Kim Kline provided background on pandemic influenza and answered questions.

Some of the topics discussed included “Providing Community Support,” “Continuing Operations During (a) Patient Surge” and “Crisis Communications — Creating Messages.”

Participating organizations included: regional health department SPHERE representatives, Barbour, Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur, and Webster counties, alongside Home Plus, Davis Medical Center, the Region 6/7 HCC Coordinator, American Red Cross, Mountain Hospice, West Virginia Home Health, Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, Randolph County EMS, Community Care of WV, Nicholas County DHSEM/E-911, Catholic Charities and The Inter-Mountain.

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