DATE: March 10, 2020 TIME: 5:00 PM
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Agencies, Personnel, and Leaders Continue to Plan for Infectious Diseases
As the trend continues to rise and the number of states dealing with COVID-19 increase, local officials and agencies continue to plan what to do if illness affects those in Etowah County. Over the past three weeks, officials with the Gadsden/Etowah County Emergency Management Agency, municipal partners, and first responders have met to discuss implementation and changes for a plan that was originally developed in 2008 for the H1N1 virus. “This is not the first time an infectious disease has affected the world,” said Director Deborah Gaither. She continued, “Whether the responsible condition is seasonal flu, hepatitis, Ebola, or H1N1 flu – many of the protective measures are similar.”
Those involved in meetings over the last three weeks have spent time in planning, updating resource lists, and defining communication and response procedures. The biggest ally in reducing the number of those affected is not just going to be the result of using soap or hand sanitizer. The biggest ally assisting control efforts is communication. Any time something new arrives, there is a level of fear because of a lack of communication. Vested parties who have attended the previous meetings want to instill, in citizens, every precaution and preparation step is being taken to reduce the effect of infectious disease should it affect the county. While the seasonal flu has killed over 11,000 people, COVID-19 has garnered much attention from the media and public at large. In an effort to provide good public education, agencies have developed a campaign to keep everyone aware of protective actions.
Those who desire to learn more about infectious disease prevention tips can go to www.gecema.com. At this location, a yellow banner is located at the top of the homepage that says “Infectious Disease Advisories.” Click the yellow bar and you will be taken to a page dedicated to the latest information concerning three infectious diseases: COVID-2019, Seasonal Flu, and Hepatitis A. As always, you can also reach out to your local physician, the Etowah County Health Department, or your local Emergency Management Agency for more information.