INCIDENT COMMAND TEAM UPDATE – 10 April 2020
We are continuing to meet three times per week as a command team. There are several informal meetings with various groups throughout the week as well. As a whole, everyone is working diligently to protect our community and prepare for the unknown.
As everyone knows, we received our first confirmed positive in Washington County. We all knew it was only a matter of time. The patient is in quarantine at this time. Washington County Public Health completed a detailed investigation and notified all necessary parties.
Testing as a whole, in Missouri is minimal at best. We are all requesting more access to testing. We are looking at private options as well as making requests to MO-DHSS. Everyone in the healthcare community in Washington County is committed to obtaining access to testing. We are just hitting road blocks in making that happen. We will continue this battle!
The status of PPE in Washington County changes on a daily basis. We are working with multiple vendors and the state emergency management to meet our needs. I am comfortable saying we are okay right now with our current volumes. We are preparing for an increased volume and utilization of PPE, so we are working to stock up.
We are asking people to shelter in place and stay home. Thank you to everyone who is helping us flatten the curve and slow the spread. With that being said, we want you to stay healthy. This isn’t the time to stop managing your health problems. The issue we are concerned with is availability of ICU beds should COVID-19 take off in St. Louis. Please manage your health conditions now. We don’t want you to need an ICU bed when there may not be one available for you.
Please remember, any person calling 911 will receive an over the phone screening to prepare responders. This is for the safety of our healthcare providers, our first responders and the public. Don’t be alarmed when you see us in gowns with masks on. Any person who presents to a healthcare facility or who the healthcare folks come to you, will receive a screening. Not only will the patient be screened, but the whole family will be screened.
All healthcare and public safety agencies in the county are screening their staff, every day. They are all taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their patients. The clinics have developed processes to have patients wait in their car instead of a waiting room, tele health visits, curb side visits and more. As this pandemic evolves, more evolution of care will come. People still need to make sure they are staying on top of their health problems.
We are trying to keep the public informed to the best of our ability in a timely manner. Our website is up and running. Our page is also up and running. Both of these platforms are designed to provide education and to keep people in the loop as these pandemic progresses. Information is literally changing every day. Keep in mind, we are doing our best to respond to questions in a timely manner.
If you feel ill and have suspicion of viral infection, please call your provider. If you don’t have a provider, here are resources in the community:
• Health Way Primary Care: 573-438-2977
• Austin Plaza Primary Care: 573-438-8500
• Potosi Rural Health Clinic: 573-438-1778
• Great Mines Health Center: 573-438-9355
We are working with regional leaders to prepare for the possibility of mass casualties in the region. This will more than likely be in the St. Louis metro area next, from all of the models and discussions with leaders from across the state. Also, we are working with state stakeholders to prepare for a state-wide emergency. Ensuring proper preparation during this time is essential. Even if we don’t have a wide outbreak here, there is the potential for a “trickle down” effect. We also may be called upon to help our neighbors in their time of need. We will be prepared to do so, that is our commitment.
The Governor of Missouri issued the STAY HOME MISSOURI order which took effect at 12:01am on 6 April 2020. A joint directive was implemented and took effect at 12:01am on 6 April 2020 by the Washington County Commissioners and the Washington County Public Health Department. Such directive was endorsed by the EOC Incident Command team at our meeting on Friday, 3 April 2020. The County directive may be stricter that the State order.
Questions regarding interpretation of the order should be directed to: [email protected]
Complaints regarding violations of the order should be directed to: [email protected]
As a team, we are committed to working together to keep our county as safe and as healthy as possible during this difficult time.
Help us help you. We can’t do this alone.
Justin P. Duncan