Follow Chris Linkedin Twitter Facebook
Email Chris Email
Economic Development
Nov 18, 2021

County Takes Innovative, Forward-Thinking Approach For Pandemic Operations

Sponsored Content provided by Chris Coudriet - County Manager, New Hanover County Government

The past 20 months have been grueling for many of us. Among those most impacted in their workload and care for the community has been our Health and Human Services (HHS) team who has run the county’s operations for contact tracing, testing, vaccinations, education, outreach, and so much more.

Their work has been intense and has involved the help of other county departments and staff, but it has been incredibly efficient, well run, and vital for our community.

The volume and scale at which our county team has operated since March of 2020 is phenomenal, but it has taken them away from their regular daily operations and other important priorities (like school nurses pulled to be vaccinators at clinics, health leaders in the role of operations managers, and so many more).

Even with COVID-19 transmission lower right now (which we are grateful for), their workloads are still increased, the help of our National Guard teams and volunteers is dwindling, and regular service and program expectations are even higher now than they were pre-pandemic.

So we are now to a point that we must do more to ensure our staff can do their primary jobs and focus on county services, by developing a division within HHS dedicated to the continued pandemic response and preparation for any novel virus.

This Pandemic Operations Team, which we are hiring for now using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, is a proactive approach to begin managing in the context of COVID-19 being endemic, and the eventuality of different strains and other novel diseases that are not yet here or known at this time.

They will be responsible for analyzing the epidemiological spread and containment of diseases and managing the operations and outreach plans for the current pandemic and any other public health crisis for New Hanover County. Team members will include an operations manager, planner, epidemiologist, outreach specialist, inventory technician, nurses, contact tracers, and data administrators.

They will operate in an annex building across from the HHS building with a dedicated space for their work, planning, logistics, and vaccine operations. We envision this being the primary location for our vaccination clinic, which will require less staffing and logistics needs than we currently have being spread out among sites, and will also ensure we aren’t interfering with the work of our regular health clinic or HHS operations.

We will be able to ramp this facility up if increased vaccinations or other pandemic-related services are needed, and we will now have dedicated staff to manage it. So as opposed to pulling staff in from HHS and various departments to be site managers, greeters, data entry specialists, nurses, supply agents, and more at the sites – we will have the staff in place already to operate efficiently and well from this location or at outreach events.

I believe this innovative approach of a dedicated pandemic unit of HHS is among the first in the nation for local governments and is crucial given the ongoing needs in our community and the continued globalization and transient nature of our population, where viruses and diseases can spread more rapidly.

We, as a county, will be better positioned to protect the public’s health with a dedicated team of experts focused on pandemic planning and response. It will enhance our services, increase our outreach and education for this and other health threats, and ensure we remain on the cutting edge to ensure the best possible future for our community.

I appreciate all that our county team has done to protect the community throughout COVID-19 and am grateful for the Board of Commissioners’ support and ability to use ARP funds to make this new operations team a reality.

You can view the county’s framework for this and other ARP investments at NHCgov.com/CovidRelief.


Coudriet has served as the county manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant County manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C. He has 20 years of public administration experience, with more than a decade as a county manager in North Carolina.
 
 

Other Posts from Chris Coudriet

Nhcseal wilmingtonbiz
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Capefearrealtors tomgale headshot

Protect Your Interest By Choosing A REALTOR®

Tom Gale - Cape Fear REALTORS®
Chris coudriet

Combating COVID, Helping Our Community Take Center Stage In 2021

Chris Coudriet - New Hanover County Government
Jeremytomlinson enfuse headshot

Defend And Invest You Technology Strategy For 2022

Jeremy Tomlinson - Enfuse Technology Solutions

Trending News

If City Seeks New Proposals, Company Has Castle Street Redevelopment Plans

Cece Nunn - Jan 14, 2022

Athletic Shoe Store Opening Second Location In Wilmington

Cece Nunn - Jan 14, 2022

MegaCorp Continues To Expand Office Footprint, Workforce

Johanna F. Still - Jan 14, 2022

Area Home Sales Closed Out 2021 On High

Jenny Callison - Jan 13, 2022

WilmingtonBiz Talk: New Hanover County Transformations

Staff Reports - Jan 13, 2022

In The Current Issue

New Hanover, Brunswick Back To Tier 3

After just one year at Tier 2, New Hanover and Brunswick counties return to Tier 3 status, the least economically distressed ranking designa...


Dosher Foundation Raised Over $730,000 Last Year

Dosher Memorial Hospital Foundation received more than $730,000 in donations, grants, endowments and fundraising during the hospital’s past...


Providers Vie To Offer State-limited Services

Just because a healthcare provider believes it needs – and can pay for – certain high-end equipment and new services doesn’t mean it will ge...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100