Dubois County Health Department to Hold Emergency Drill
DUBOIS COUNTY TO HOLD EMERGENCY POD EXERCISE DRILL
The Dubois County Health Department will be closed to the public on January 30th, 2020 from 8 AM – 12 NOON.
The Health Department staff will practice the setting up of a mass point of dispensing (POD) location to provide medication if there were an outbreak or attack of an agent. This drill is a requirement for part of a grant the Local Health Department was awarded by the Division of Emergency Preparedness DEP within the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). The DEP is the entity responsible for administering the Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant (PHEP) received from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and the Healthcare Preparedness Program (HPP) grant received from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The goal of the exercise drill is to enhance the County’s Local Health Department’s preparedness operations in order to better respond to public health and healthcare emergencies.
A POD’s sole purpose is to distribute medication in order to prevent illness. PODs are not treatment sites. If there were an outbreak, residents that were exposed or found to be at risk of exposure to the identified agent would come to the POD to receive medication that would be funded by the ISDH and at no charge to the participant. Anyone who would be experiencing symptoms from the identified agent should contact their family physician or go to the hospital or other treatment location for treatment. Those actively experiencing symptoms would not receive the medication that would be dispensed as a prevention measure.
For the purpose of the emergency pod exercise drill, a made-up scenario of a Hepatitis A exposure in a buffet style popular restaurant was created. In the made-up scenario, the supposed worker handled food while ill and prepared food for consumption by customers on 1/18/20 and 1/19/20. Therefore, a POD will be set up on Jan 30th from 9 AM – 12 Noon. This vaccination clinic scenario will be scheduled at the Jasper Middle School. The staff of the Local Health Department each are assigned a role to help with the setup of the POD exercise.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light-colored stools. Yellowing of the eyes or skin may also appear. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus. In 2019, Several Counties throughout the State of Indiana had experienced outbreaks of this nature and have had to set up PODs to prevent the spread of this communicable disease. Careful hand washing, including under the fingernails, with soap and water, along with vaccination of anyone at risk of infection, will prevent the spread of this disease. Indiana law has required a hepatitis A vaccine for school admission since 2014, and the vaccine is required for students entering 6th and 12th grades in 2018, so many students have already been vaccinated.
Emergency Preparedness for public health is a service that the Dubois County Health Department continues to provide. The entire staff of the Health Department has been working very hard to ensure the safety of the residents of Dubois County. They are committed to be a public health service provider and to ensure the optimal well-being of our community. Administrative Director, Jo Ann Spaulding states, “We are committed to prevention efforts that promote and protect our community’s health by serving with dedication, respect, and responsibility. Being prepared for a public health emergency is part of our job, and we are thankful for those partners who are helping us remain protected.”