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Coffee County's response to the COVID-19 virus

The Florida Health Department has released the latest coronavirus COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday evening. (MGN)
The Florida Health Department has released the latest coronavirus COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday evening. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 12:32 PM CDT
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The Coffee County Emergency Management Board released a statement on Wednesday, April 8, describing their response to the COVID-19 virus. They stated that they "remain vigilant and dedicated to the preservation of life and the protection of our citizens from this unforeseen enemy."

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[PRESS RELEASE]

What do we think is going to happen?:

We are planning for various caseloads and infection rates and are hoping for our infection rate in Alabama to peak somewhere around the third week in April. We have used various modeling techniques and have been in constant contact with Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and other government agencies to ensure we have the latest information. Unfortunately, no models are 100% correct and the projected numbers of infections have fluctuated wildly. We prefer accuracy over speed when planning for a response and so as we test more people we will have more adequate models and can adjust our response up or down depending on the numbers.

Alternative Care Sites (ACS):

The state is currently working plans for various ACS throughout Alabama. Locally we have coordinated with the Medical Center Enterprise (MCE) and have made plans for various ACS in and around Enterprise. These sites are planned to take advantage of all available space and personnel to allow for tiered support of additional hospital capacity. We have also expanded our capacity in the hospital under our current surge plan. This is just a contingency plan to ensure we are ready should these assets be called upon. Again, we currently have no issues.

Medical Personnel (Coffee County Health Corps):

We have requested all medically trained personnel to sign up for our Coffee County Health Corps. We will require permission from the state and the Board of Medical Examiners to activate anyone without current certification/license. However, we are preparing for any and all possibilities and seeking any volunteers to meet possible needs.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

We have received responses from 19 organizations seeking PPE and have at this point met all requests for N95 masks. We have requested other equipment including gloves, gowns, disinfection supplies, swabs and other equipment. However, the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), or federal reserve of these products, has been exhausted at this time. To allow for multiple means to fill needs we have asked all organizations to keep any pending backorders. We have priority fill plans and will fill current requests as the federal government starts to receive the orders they have placed for this equipment. This event has also caused the institution of Crisis Standards of Care and so some reuse of disposable supplies has been approved.

Essential Government Services:

Local governments have declared “States of Emergencies.” Thus, Government buildings have been restricted to the public. Citizens have been asked to do as much as possible on-line or by phone. Essential government services continue and some limited appointments are still available for services that require direct interaction.

First Responder Quarantine Shelter:

We have established a plan for a First Responder Quarantine Shelter at Enterprise First United Methodist Church. This would be used to house any potentially exposed responders or medical personnel that do not want to go home and potentially infect their families.

Testing Sites:

In coordination with ADPH we have hosted a local testing site on 7 April 2020. We tested over 40 people with symptoms of COVID-19 who either self-identified or were sent by their physicians.

This is an unprecedented event that takes the help and assistance of all of us working together. The Coffee County Emergency Management Board thanks the public for their vigilance and for listening to and obeying all the enacted social distancing rules and public health orders.

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