(Quad-Counties, NV)- Leaders from Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties, known as the Quad-Counties, continue to coordinate closely with Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS), to monitor and respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
The Quad-County Public Health Preparedness Division at CCHHS has been leading the regional COVID-19 response since February 21st. As the incident grew and became more complex, more resources and support were needed. On March 16th, at the request of CCHHS, the Quad-County Emergency Management agencies activated a Multiagency Coordination (MAC) Group and established an Incident Management Team (IMT) to staff the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center (Quad EOC). The Quad-County EOC went into effect on March 18, 2020. The primary function of the Quad EOC is to support all operations of the health response as led by CCHHS. The Quad EOC streamlines communications, is the single point for resource ordering and requests, oversees the Quad-County COVID-19 Hotline and provides the public information component. The Quad EOC structure allows CCHHS to focus on the health portion of the response while coordinating the other aspects of an incident response.
Battalion Chief Tom Raw, Carson City Deputy Emergency Manager and current Incident Commander of the Quad EOC, explained that “the MAC Group sets policy for the Quad EOC which allows the Quad EOC to support the extraordinary response that Carson City Health and Human Services is providing to the Quad-Counties”.
CCHHS is the heart of the COVID-19 response. The Disease Control and Prevention Division at CCHHS is responsible for conducting the case investigation. CCHHS is notified of positive COVID-19 results and has an investigation team who contacts each individual that is positive and asks them for the name of individuals they have been in contact with since becoming symptomatic. The team then follows up with the close contacts, asks them to self-quarantine, and monitors their symptoms. CCHHS staff members follow up with positive cases and the close contacts daily. Identifying close contacts that are high risk helps prevent further spread of disease.
The Quad-County Healthcare Coalition Liaison, under the Quad-County Public Health Preparedness Division at CCHHS, is responsible for communicating and sharing information with healthcare partners throughout the region. If healthcare entities are in need of supplies or resources, they put in a request through the Quad EOC, who works with local and state partners as well as with suppliers to obtain the needed resources.
The Quad-County COVID-19 Hotline was established to field calls, answer COVID-19 questions, and screen individuals for testing. The hotline screens individuals seeking testing and passes the information on to a team of nurses at CCHHS. The nurses triage the individual and determine if they meet the testing priorities as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If they meet the testing priorities, the nurse will arrange for the individual to be tested.
COVID-19 collection and testing supplies continue to be limited due to national shortages. Every effort is being made to secure these resources and test those that meet the CDC testing priorities. These are the same testing priorities utilized by all healthcare testing entities within the Quad-County region.
“I understand the public’s frustration with the COVID-19 testing process and the inability for the testing of everyone. I am frustrated as well, and I wish there were more testing collection kits nationwide so CCHHS could test more people” expressed Nicki Aaker, Director of CCHHS. Aaker explained that “since there is a shortage of kits, all healthcare facilities, physician offices and public health departments must follow the Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention(CDC) priorities for testing which means we can’t test everyone.”
The following is a list of some of the actions taken by CCHHS and the Quad EOC:
- Working with state and federal partners to increase the availability of COVID-19 testing.
- Collaborating with emergency management to have a State of Emergency declared in all four counties.
- Planning with regional, state and local health facilities for any type of medical surge.
- Planning for community and small-business recovery.
- Coordinatinge with Social Services to assist those quarantined who need assistance by providing help and support.
- Supporting a Joint Information Center (JIC) to provide consistent and efficient internal and external communications regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Providing timely information to county officials, first responders, healthcare partners, and community members.
“The COVID-19 emergency is challenging every corner of our social fabric” stated Jeanne Freeman, Quad-County Public Health Preparedness Manager at CCHHS. “The Quad-County Emergency Managers have built relationships and trained with public health for such an emergency for many years. We all ask the public to do their part and assist us with minimizing the impact on our region. Stay home and only go out for essential services. If you are COVID positive or a close contact of someone who is positive, stay home no matter what! Together, we can keep our communities safe and well!
For the most current updates and more information on COVID-19 visit: https://gethealthycarsoncity.org/novel-coronavirus-2019/
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) contact your primary care provider. If your primary care provider is unable to assist you, or if you do not have one, call the Quad-County COVID-19 Hotline phone number at (775) 283-4789. Individuals should only call 9-1-1 if there is a true emergency.