About two weeks ago, I had my first opportunity to see our County-City EOC in action. The operation was settling into its new location, at 4500 Research Way. While the City’s Fire Training Center is an excellent location for fires or other disasters, it did not have either enough space or sanitation facilities for physical distancing for all staff to work on site. The new location accommodated all 50+ staff at the peak of the operations and the opportunity for more inclusive, face-to-face discussions eliminated minor misunderstandings and accelerated problem-solving.
The highest priorities out of the gate were public education and transparency about the local manifestation of the pandemic and government response, plus ensuring an adequate supply of personal protective equipment to protect all healthcare workers and first responders. Both of these tasks are well in hand and, while not all of the supplies necessary for a surge are in place, everything is on order.
The third priority is to address vulnerable populations, and I had an opportunity to speak to city, county and school district staff about actions to care for the houseless population, elders in care facilities, and those going hungry after losing jobs. This work will be ongoing while the primary task of the EOC shifts to economic recovery.
While most staff are at the EOC on a 5-day rotation, spending every other week on their regular work, a handful of finance and public health professionals have been focused on emergency operations virtually full-time. Our dedicated county and city staff are serving as excellent stewards of government resources while doing their utmost to maximize public health.