Crook County Health Department tested its use of the Incident Command System (ICS) during a meningococcal outbreak in early February. After receiving laboratory test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirming an outbreak of meningococcal meningitis, the Crook County Health Department and the Oregon Health Authority Health Security, Preparedness and Response (HSPR) program activated incident management teams.
The state, including HSPR, Immunization and Communicable Disease programs, provided assistance to Crook County by coordinating vaccine ordering and delivery, public information efforts and deploying a staff member to provide logistical support. The Agency Operations Center (AOC) was activated on Feb. 10 until Feb. 16.
Once the laboratory test results confirmed the outbreak, the Crook County Health Department recommended vaccination of all persons 9 months through 25 years of age who lived, worked, attended school or attended day care in Prineville. In an effort to get the target groups vaccinated, Crook County Health Department used a “Shots for Tots” clinic, focused existing walk-in immunization clinics on meningococcal vaccine, and added three additional vaccine clinics. Coordination with the local medical offices and pharmacies added greatly to the ability to provide meningococcal vaccine to the insured public, which allowed the health department to focus its efforts on the uninsured or underinsured.
Through these efforts, Crook County in coordination with Deschutes County Health Department gave out over 1,500 vaccinations.
On a local level, Crook County Health Department activated its ICS and developed Incident Action Plans (IAP). The plans provided assignments on specific communication tasks including vaccination information and developing social media messages for the health department's Facebook page.
During the initial days of the outbreak, both Crook and Deschutes counties were experiencing a high volume of calls from concerned citizens and from healthcare providers in the area. To ensure the public’s phone calls would be answered, Crook County coordinated with the community based organization 211 Info.
Read the full report on the meningococcal outbreak in the Oregon CD Summary (pdf).