Contact: Jim Skoog, Public Health Division 218-725-5240
Public Health and Emergency Management Officials Get Preview of State’s New Pandemic Flu Plan
St. Louis County’s public health and emergency management officials received a preview of the state’s newly completed draft pandemic influenza response plans last Wednesday.
The four-hour, interactive preview session was organized by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). St. Louis County officials attending the preview included Guy Peterson, Director, Public Health Division; Deputy Sheriff Scott Camps, Homeland Security Emergency Manage ment; Paul Lee, Coordinator, Sheriff’s Division of Emergency Management; and other public health staff. Additional Public Health and emergency management staff from the northeast region were also in attendance.
The preview session was held so that local officials could provide comment and feedback on the plans, according to Minnesota Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach.
"Local public health and emergency management agencies will have a critically important role to play in responding to a pandemic," Commissioner Mandernach said. "They are truly our ‘partners in preparedness,’ and their input is essential. Their insights will be critically important as we move forward with our pandemic planning at the state level."
In addition to Commissioner Mandernach, state officials taking part in the preview session included Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Mary Ellison; Deputy State Epidemiologist Richard Danila; HSEM Director Kris Eide; and Kris Ehresmann, who heads the Immunization, Tuberculosis and International Health Section at MDH.
The preview included an overview of the new Avian and Influenza Pandemic Supplement to the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan, prepared by HSEM, as well as the state-level public health pandemic plan developed by MDH. The agenda also included a description of the development process for both of these major pandemic flu planning documents.
Both documents are available online at: www.birdflu.state.mn.us
In addition, preview participants included MDH regional preparedness consultants, region al hospital resource center coordinators, and MDH field staff.
The preview program was held in St. Paul, and offered by videoconference at 13 locations around the state. Other locations for the preview session included Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, Fergus Falls, Glencoe, Mankato, Marshall, Rochester, St. Cloud, Thief River Falls, Virginia, Willmar and Worthington.