Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

The Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response consists of two divisions which are also the central point of contact for Emergency Management and Emergency Communications (911).

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Mar 30

Team Norfolk Emergency Operations - COVID-19 Update March 30, 2020

Posted on March 30, 2020 at 9:50 AM by Jim Redick

Team –

Virginia's case numbers have passed 1,000 today with 24 fatalities.  During a recent conference call with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the following perspective was offered:  Positive cases reflect actions taken around 7 days prior.  The announcement of a confirmed case follows the test turn-around time, which is days.  In other words, if I had a test come back today adding me to the ranks of the confirmed positive, I was likely tested back on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Prior to taking the test, I would have experienced symptoms prompting me to get tested in the first place.  And prior to that would be the virus incubation period.  All this to say the most up-to-date numbers aren’t a true reflection of the most accurate number of cases.

As the numbers continue to increase, we must remember our healthcare partners are only resourced to a certain level which COVID-19 will overwhelm.  As such, efforts are being made to enhance that surge capacity both within the confines of the hospitals as well as by identifying facilities which could serve as “Alternate Care Facilities” (ACF’s).  This ACF strategy and the involvement of the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Virginia National Guard and other agencies was announced by Governor Northam late last week.

We must support our Public Health and Healthcare partners as they continue to fight this fight head-on.  This includes doing all we can to limit the spread of the virus.  Along with closing areas throughout the city which encourage group activity, Dr. Filer has made the decision that only mission-critical staff are to report to work beginning today, Monday March 30, through April 13.  Those reporting must take all possible precautions by wearing the necessarily PPE and practice social distancing.  All other employees are to remain home to telework or otherwise be at the ready to rotate in. 

These actions are in line the Governor’s orders of social distancing.  THE ACTIONS WE TAKE NOW WILL LITERALLY SAVE LIVES AMONG OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS, FIRST RESPONDERS AND MORE IN OUR COMMUNITY BY PREVENTING NEEDLESS EXPOSURES.  We need everybody to help get this message out as widely and effectively as possible.

I also want to take a moment to recognize and thank others throughout the Team for their outstanding and generous contributions toward the overall effort.  They include the following:
  • Shared Hospital services and Soap Chips set up a mobile shower this past weekend at Freemason Baptist Church.  These organizations also provided towels, soap and shampoo.
  • First Baptist Norfolk donated its relevant disaster relief PPE to Sentara Leigh, it’s nearest hospital.  The church provided 400 nitrile gloves, 60 N95 respirators, and 235 Tyvek overalls.
  • The ODU School of Dental Hygiene also donated their PPE to local hospitals.
  • Steven Atkins of Nauticus came across 9 boxes of 20 N95 face masks and donated them to the cause.
  • Our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members assisted the Food Bank with traffic management and food distribution during its mobile pantry operations.
  • Thanks to Ms. Krystle Glover and our VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners who have stepped up and are considering assisting with the childcare for our most essential workers!

Folks, this is how we do it.  This is how we get through this.  I have often touted how we have amazing talents, resources and expertise throughout our community and those who make up this Team prove it time and again!  If you are aware of others responding in similar ways, please let me know.

As you can imagine there are more needs and opportunities to contribute.  Some of which I am currently aware are as follows:
  • Corona Aid 757 is raising donations and putting together a food panty for citizens and otherwise conducting grocery store runs, doing food drops for folks with currently 600 people in the group.  They need more volunteers to help people those in our community who are sheltered in place and can’t get out. Please visit Coronaaid757.com for more information.
  • Senior Services of South Hampton Roads also continues to deliver nutrition to our neighbors who are homebound, over 800 meals daily.  They need drivers to help with deliveries.  If interested, please call Jason at (757) 222-4522.
  • Volunteer Hampton Roads, who is working with 8 organizations (mostly on the Southside), is looking for volunteers to help package meals and deliver to seniors.
  • Among our most vulnerable and under-resourced neighbors, toilet paper remains the highest needed hygiene item.  Those in the restaurant and hotel industries, if you are interested in donating toilet paper as well as cleaning supplies, please let us know at EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov.

Also, for our business partners I want to relay information from Ms. Stacie Neal, Critical Infrastructure and Private Sector Program Manager with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Planning Division:

I would like to offer some resources for the private sector to maintain two-way communication with State government.

  1. Register on our Private Sector Portal to be added to the distribution list to receive  future correspondence on the Commonwealth's actions:   https://bit.ly/VaPrivateSector
  2. There is a survey that we have published to gather information from the private sector on issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution).  That can be accessed at https://bit.ly/VaDonations.
  3. Please email private.sector@vdem.virginia.gov with questions not answered through the Portal or Survey.  Clinical questions about Coronavirus can be directed to 877-ASK-VDH3 or http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
  4. If you are not already registered in eVA and wish to do Business with the State of Virginia, please register here: https://eva.virginia.gov/register-now.html(this is not necessary for donations).
  5. There is a survey that we have published to gather information from the private sector on issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution).  That can be accessed at https://bit.ly/VaDonations.
  6. Please email private.sector@vdem.virginia.gov with questions not answered through the Portal or Survey.  Clinical questions about Coronavirus can be directed to 877-ASK-VDH3 or http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
  7. If you are not already registered in eVA and wish to do Business with the State of Virginia, please register here: https://eva.virginia.gov/register-now.html(this is not necessary for donations).

As we enter a new operational period, please visit https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/60184/Incident-Action-Plan3-March-23-30-2020---REVIEW to review the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the previous period with all updated information in red text.  There was much accomplished during that period!  This week’s IAP available at https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/60183/Incident-Action-Plan4-March-30-to-April-6-2020 is also provided so we can all see the big picture of the Team’s goals for the next seven days.  Please let us know at EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov if anything is missing!  I also want to thank once again both Ms. Cheryl Simpson of the Endependence Center and Ms. Aleea Slappy, our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for reviewing our IAP’s and providing feedback as to where and how we can improve our collective efforts and ensure the rights and needs of all are being considered!

Deputy City Manager Mike Goldsmith recently shared this quote from Winston Churchill:

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

This quote is for each one of us individually and collectively as a Team.  This is the moment when all our relationships, planning, process development, meetings, training and exercises pays off.

One Community.  One Team.  One Unified Effort.

Sincerely,

Jim

Jim Redick, Director
Norfolk Emergency Preparedness & Response
EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov

Follow City of Norfolk for official information at Norfolk.gov, @NorfolkVa on Twitter, and City of Norfolk Government on FaceBook.