As the COVID-19 pandemic has stabilized in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the Office of Emergency Management has shifted from response to mitigation and planning for the future.
OEM Director Dan Nelson briefed the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday night. Back in February and March, OEM focused on contingency planning.
“Specifically around health care facilities. Remember, we were seeing models at that time that this may overwhelm our local hospitals and health care faculties, what we would call patient surge, so what that looked like,” Nelson said. “What kind of contingency plans for response should we have another incident that occurred, a natural disaster, let’s say, during COVID. And many, many other plans.”
Luckily, the peninsula wasn’t hit with a fire or earthquake amid COVID. The infection curve flattened and a patient surge did not occur. But OEM still keeps a daily eye on the numbers and has twice-weekly check-ins with hospitals, cities and other entities. Part of OEM’s job once a disaster declaration has been issued is to obtain resources and getting them where they’re needed. During COVID, that means testing supplies and personal protective equipment.
“In a typical incident that we would manage, we usually have 50 or less of these resource requests. I looked this morning, we are at 312,” Nelson said. “And this is something that is not just a one-time thing. We have some great folks that have worked to track that and got those things to the places they’re needed all across the borough. So the logistics piece of that is a response that’s going on still to this day.”