Healthcare coalitions conducting exercise

ALAMOSA — The San Luis Valley Regional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated on Thursday, June 15 to support Valley hospitals, clinics, and public health agencies participating in a three-day statewide exercise. Saturday will close out the exercise with a mock Point of Dispensing (POD) site at Ski Hi Park in Monte Vista, which will be open to the public from 10:30-12:30 Saturday.

During the exercise — which has been over a year in planning — local, regional, and state partners tested their ability to order, distribute, receive, and dispense resources from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) in response to a widespread public health emergency. The mock exercise scenario involved a hypothetical novel infectious disease spreading quickly throughout the state. As the exercise unfolded, Healthcare Coalition partners practiced how they would respond to an increasing number of cases of a hypothetical new and dangerous disease.

On Thursday, San Luis Valley Health practiced procedures for dispensing preventative medication to over 600 doses to about 215 households at Conejos County Hospital and SLV Regional Medical Center to ensure healthcare workers and first responders would be protected and available to do their jobs in a real emergency.

On Friday, Valley Wide Health Systems Alamosa Family Medical Center conducted a similar mock exercise that served 285 individuals. Also on Thursday, Public Health agencies from Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla counties came together to hold an exercise, with the help of many community volunteers, to practice dispensing preventative medications to the public in a mock setting in Alamosa.

The Regional Emergency Operations Center’s support role has involved coordinating the ordering and receipt of medications and other supplies for the region; and coordinating communication between local, regional, and state partners.

Caption: Participants dispense and receive fake antibiotics during San Luis Valley East Healthcare Coalition’s public health emergency dispensing exercise on Friday. After two years of planning, about 95 volunteers worked to test the Strategic National Stockpile System during a statewide simulation of a flu-like disease that had 12 confirmed cases and four deaths in the Valley. San Luis Valley West Healthcare Coalition’s exercise is today in Monte Vista. Courtesy photo