Friday, May 31, 2013

Pennsylvania: Chesco is ready for large pandemic outbreaks, feds say

May 30, 2013
By Michael P. Rellahan
WEST CHESTER — The ability of Chester County health and emergency officials to deal with a pandemic outbreak requiring mass medication has been given the thumbs-up by federal preparedness authorities.
The county announced Wednesday that it had a perfect score of 100 on the 2013 Technical Assistance Review, or TAR. The TAR is an annual assessment by the   U.S. Centers for Disease Control    and the state Department of Health of the overall county stockpile program for medication.

Walls said the goal of the county’s plan is to ensure that it can deliver medication for a particular disease outbreak — including bio-terrorism — to 500,000 people within 36 to 48 hours after notification. She said that she considered such an outbreak a “not if, but when” situation.
Residents “should feel very secure in knowing that if we have some sort of disease brought in by bio-terrorists, the county can respond effectively to protect them,” Walls said Wednesday.
The TAR evaluation took place on March 27. The review included assessment of 12 strategic stockpile program elements, including command and coordination, communication and public information, and the core element of county-wide distribution and dispensing of medication in response to a possible medical emergency affecting the whole county. 

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