Public Health Practices

Residential delivery of medical countermeasures using school buses

A Virginia city developed a plan to distribute antibiotic kits to 90,000 homes via school buses in the event of a public health emergency.

Videoconference training: emergency planning for special needs communities (VA, WV)

Virginia and West Virginia partnered to offer a videoconference training on preparedness and response for at-risk populations.

Zoo vaccination clinic targets daycare children

Planners in Norfolk, Virginia, developed a unique program to combine a free visit to the zoo with free H1N1 vaccination for children in child care programs.

Unique inventory management and volunteer system

The Virginia Department of Health created a system that enables the state to track SNS dispensing supplies and healthcare volunteer deployment during an emergency.

Movie theater sign

Movie theaters helped spread public health messages (AZ, CA, NC, PA, VA)

Five states worked with movie theaters to distribute H1N1 awareness messages before the film.

Outreach to racial and ethnic populations encouraging vaccination

As part of the Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) H1N1 vaccination campaign, state health officials undertook many activities to reach racial and ethnic minority populations in the Commonwealth. The state used measured research to thoughtfully position H1N1 media and outreach efforts to minority populations, specifically African-American and Hispanic groups.

A New Communications Route to Licensed Providers

When Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP declared a public health emergency due to the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic, her declaration by code allowed her access to the state's database for all licensed healthcare providers. This presented a useful new communications channel.

H1N1 Vaccine Providers Boost State Immunization Registry

The novel H1N1 pandemic has provided Virginia with an opportunity to greatly enhance its statewide Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS). The electronic registry system, established in the 2005 state legislative session, was experiencing a slow rollout before the pandemic. About 200 private providers were registered before a pandemic was declared.

AARP Partnership Aids Outreach to Grandparents

Collaborative partnerships developed for other goals may be effectively applied to H1N1 pandemic response. The Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) partnership with the state's AARP chapter is one such example.

Protecting Voters at the Polls

The Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) took a number of steps to prevent the spread of H1N1 during the Nov. 3, 2009 election. The SBE prepared by using a number of existing communication and outreach techniques, including hosting a conference call with electoral board members, general registrars, and Dr. Diane Helentjaris of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to hear her suggestions for election planning.

Vaccinating People Who Request It

Whom to vaccinate and when has been a very challenging aspect of responding to the novel H1N1 pandemic. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) determined early on that people would not be turned away if they wanted to be vaccinated, regardless of priority groups. The primary reasons were to avoid creating an adversarial relationship between public health and residents, and to protect people's privacy, said Diane Helentjaris, MD, MPH, Deputy Director of Epidemiology for VDH.

Preparing for Pandemic Flu Handbook

A handbook from the Arlington County Public Health Division provides concise public education on individual preparedness and response to an influenza pandemic. The book introduces the subject by discussing the differences between seasonal and pandemic influenza. It includes a helpful chart for differentiating cold and flu symptoms.

Virginia Mass Fatalities Management

The Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has created two flowcharts for disposition of remains following death from pandemic influenza and a two-page pamphlet on managing fatalities during a pandemic. The flowcharts describe fatalities care pathways for two scenarios: 1) individuals who die in hospitals or are dead on arrival, and 2) individuals who die in out-of-hospital settings.

Isolation and Quarantine in Alexandria

The Isolation and Quarantine section of Alexandria's pandemic plan provides a detailed summary of a city's strategy for invoking and enforcing isolation and quarantine for any contagious disease that poses a public health threat.

Medical and public health surge in Alexandria

This document presents the concept of Community Care Stations (CCS). These facilities are designed to provide initial assessment triage and would be opened when the hospital system begins to become overwhelmed. The document describes triage criteria, lists required supplies, and presents a staffing plan for the CCS. It also describes criteria for opening and supplying Alternate Care Facilities (ACF) in the area.

Risk Communications in Alexandria

The Risk Communications excerpt from the City of Alexandria's pandemic plan describes a sophisticated concept of operations for risk communications before, during, and after a pandemic. The city's approach to risk communications is based largely on Toronto's pandemic plan, and both plans identify a core information approval process as integral to their outreach efforts.

Fatality Management in Alexandria

This city-wide planning document provides detailed information on varied aspects of fatality management during a pandemic and other mass fatality events. Specifically, it defines the local and state jurisdictional responsibilities and identifies key assumptions for handling pandemic influenza-related deaths.

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