Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

COVID-19 Highlights Gaps in Pandemic Planning

FRIDAY, MARCH 06, 2020 AS OF 6:30 PM EST

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeding  101,700 worldwide, including over 260 cases in the US, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautions government agencies across the globe that “this is not a drill.” This morning, President Trump signed a $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to scale up the US response to the epidemic. Local government agencies and authorities across the country have taken actions to curb the spread of the virus, including New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is monitoring over 2,700 residents under quarantine in “home isolation”. Across the US, stockpiling of supplies has resulted in shortages of certain products, such as hand sanitizer and non-perishable items. This is anticipated to continue for weeks. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator and  Hagerty’s Executive Chairman, Brock Long, was quoted in USA Today informing people on proactive measures individuals can take to protect themselves and their families

The outbreak of COVID-19 has underscored the importance of having comprehensive plans to limit the transmission of communicable diseases. It is not enough to simply react when containment has failed, and an outbreak is unavoidable. Issues like medical surge, – the need to provide significantly more medical care than standard capacity –  supply chain shortages and subsequent threats to critical infrastructure, in addition to other impacts, are realities that have repeatedly emerged. Fortunately, we can learn from past experiences.

Source: Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19

Employees and Leadership can review their organizations’ After Action Reports or firsthand experiences from previous public health emergencies, if these exist, to learn from and inform pandemic plans. Many organizations, however, will be addressing this for the first time and would like to ensure readiness by creating a pandemic plan. Whether your organization is developing its first pandemic plan or revising a dormant plan, Hagerty can help. We can assist you in addressing the following:

 Community Mitigation Techniques

  • Social Distancing. Is your organization prepared with a decision-making process about when to cancel large gatherings/events? Is your organization prepared to ensure continuity of core functions, like work or school, in an alternative environment?
  • Infection Control. Is your organization prepared to educate necessary parties about key personal protective measures (e.g., hand hygiene, voluntary isolation, personal protective equipment)?

 Business Continuity

  • Increased Absenteeism. Is your organization prepared for up to 30 percent of its workforce to be sick or otherwise unavailable to come into work?
  • Supply Chain Disruptions or Shortages. Is your organization prepared for major supply chain disruptions for the foreseeable future, including consumable supplies and infrastructure components?
  • Continuity of Operations. Is your organization prepared to function within the context of community mitigation measures (i.e., non-pharmaceutical interventions)?

 Emergency Communications and Documentation

  • Crisis Communications. Is your organization prepared to clearly communicate risk and control rumors and misinformation both internally and externally?
  •  Capturing Lessons in Real-Time. Is your organization prepared with an agile system to capture lessons learned throughout the extended time frame associated with a pandemic response?

 Increased Health Needs

  • Managing Patient Surge. Is your healthcare organization prepared for a significantly over-average volume of patients requiring specialized care?
  •  Crisis Standards of Care. Is your healthcare organization prepared with guidance to make responsible medical decisions during catastrophic events?
  • Medical Countermeasure Distribution. Is your organization prepared to distribute necessary medical supplies or medicines (e.g., antivirals) for an entire community?

Source: Preventative Measures

Hagerty can also help your organization navigate changes in legislation, such as the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, and incorporate best practices and standards into plans, including but not limited to:

Hagerty has helped clients prepare for and recover from disasters of all kinds for nearly two decades. We stand ready to help with your organization’s planning, training, and exercise needs in the midst of the evolving COVID-19 situation. For more information, click here.

The Hagerty Team will continue to provide information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. 

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