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
Atromitos micheallegady headshot

Straight Talk on Tech: Implementing IT in Health Care

Michealle Gady - Atromitos
Screenshot2022 01 06at338 162234623

Inclusive Connections - Transforming our Community With One Mind

Girard Newkirk - Genesis Block
Mikeharrington carolinaretreats 2

The Changing Vacation Rental Industry- Part Two: Integrating Technology and Automation

Mike Harrington - Carolina Retreats

Trending News

New Owners Announced For South Front Street Restaurant

Staff Reports - May 23, 2022

Coastal Entrepreneur Of The Year For 2022 Named

Johanna F. Still - May 24, 2022

Former First Bank Exec Named CFO Of New Hanover County

Staff Reports - May 23, 2022

World-famous YouTuber Spotlights Two Local Restaurants

Jenny Callison - May 25, 2022

Governor's Office Honors Brunswick Co. Volunteers

Staff Reports - May 24, 2022

In The Current Issue

MADE: Making A Cut In Custom Woodworking

A staple in the community for about three decades, the Wilmington custom woodworking shop also features a retail component – a unique featur...


Owners Taking Fermental To New Level

Fermental is one of Wilmington’s more unique watering holes – a bit quirky, but home to many loyal patrons who appreciate its laid-back atmo...


Local Startups Aim To Innovate

Innovation helps set a startup apart from the competition, said Heather McWhorter, regional director of the UNCW Small Business & Technology...

Book On Business

The 2022 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