In a nine-page summary report, Washington County Public Health staff provided detailed responses to how the department handled (and continues to handle) the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and …
In a nine-page summary report, Washington County Public Health staff provided detailed responses to how the department handled (and continues to handle) the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and now.
Given to the board at its August 19 meeting, the report stresses the need for communication at all levels, but also notes that it was not as effective as it could be given the circumstances and timeliness of information from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). A key observation was “if we didn’t have to spend so much time fighting against disinformation, we may have been able to spend more time sharing effective information,” which echoes national findings.
Equally important is that staff found that there was appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) for them but there were concerns for nursing home residents. When the state’s congressional delegation was asked about helping with the need for PPE, “no one was able to help,” said a respondent.
Recommendations included more strategic planning, more cooperation among agencies and more and better communication at all levels. Suggested means to accomplish that for the WCPH team were emails and Zoom as well as the use of text messages, Facebook, local press and phone calls. Equally stressed was the need to keep all staff informed.
Indications are the board will use the report in future planning.
The survey, resulting in the report, was distributed throughout the department as an After-Action Report to evaluate handling of the COVID-19 response.
Chris Estle, the Jefferson County Public Health Administrator, is serving as the WCPH administrator under a 28E Agreement between Washington County and Jefferson County, for approximately 12 hours per week in flexible scheduling.