Catawba County Emergency Services was selected as the North Carolina Public Health Association’s 2021 Partner of the Year for their work alongside Catawba County Public Health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They were recognized at an awards ceremony on April 28 in Asheville.
Emergency Services staff have attended countless Zoom and one-on-one meetings and consulted with county leadership, communications teams, teams working on data projects, communicable disease staff, the Public Health Epidemiology team, state emergency management officials, and local community partners, helping keep everyone moving forward together.
Emergency Services assisted Public Health with planning and logistics beginning in February 2020, helping lay the groundwork for Catawba County’s response before the first case of COVID-19 was ever reported. Emergency Services planned what an emergency declaration would mean for our county alongside Public Health and county leadership, then facilitated that declaration’s issuance on March 18, 2020. The first case of the coronavirus was reported in Catawba County just days later, on March 20.
Because of their years of experience in emergency planning and response, they recognized that working in tandem with Public Health would be critical to the response and two members of Emergency Services leadership moved in with Public Health. They immediately began helping coordinate response efforts, planning, compiling daily data, looking at organizational and community needs and helping meet them through obtaining county and state resources, personnel, personal protective equipment and more.
Since that time, they have been a seamless extension of Public Health, with Emergency Services staff, including EMS and emergency management personnel, helping stand up a testing site in the Public Health parking lot and vaccination site at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, and providing support and expertise all along the way.[News release courtesy of Emily Killian, Catawba County Public Health, Community Engagement Specialist]