Healthcare Coalition prepares for influenza pandemic, natural disasters

Healthcare Coalition prepares for influenza pandemic, natural disasters
Region L Healthcare Coalition held a regional tabletop exercise for healthcare providers in Tift County. (Source: WALB)
Nearly 150 health care leaders met to talk about the flu. (Source: WALB)
Nearly 150 health care leaders met to talk about the flu. (Source: WALB)
Georgia Department of Public Health Communications Specialist Courtney Sheeley (Source: WALB)
Georgia Department of Public Health Communications Specialist Courtney Sheeley (Source: WALB)
Healthcare leaders from 50 organizations were a part of the event. (Source: WALB)
Healthcare leaders from 50 organizations were a part of the event. (Source: WALB)
The Healthcare Coalition is not only preparing for pandemic influenza but also natural disasters. (Source: WALB)
The Healthcare Coalition is not only preparing for pandemic influenza but also natural disasters. (Source: WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Over 150 healthcare providers from across South Georgia came together to discuss a response plan preparing for if a flu pandemic were to happen in our community.

The event was hosted by Region L Healthcare Coalition in Tifton.

"One of the big reasons we all get together as a healthcare community is to make sure we will be prepared to respond," said Georgia Department of Public Health Communications Specialist Courtney Sheeley.

On Thursday, state and regional healthcare leaders met to talk about the flu.

The virus has become an epidemic in Georgia, but officials said they want to be ready if it ever becomes a pandemic.

"If there ever is a pandemic within our community, we just want to be prepared and know that we are prepared to respond to that," explained Sheeley.

During the two in a half hour tabletop exercise, the group completed exercises on hospital preparedness. ?

They took a look at past flu cases that could possibly happen in the area again.

"We can look at history and see that at some point we are due for another pandemic," said Sheeley.

Health leaders are also preparing for disasters like Hurricane Irma which tore through Georgia and Florida last September.

"We have to make sure we are prepared should that ever happen again in all of our counties throughout Georgia," said Sheeley.

Organizers said their goal was to make sure South Georgia health care organizations work together to get the help they need before an emergency happens.

"So that's the big advantage for today. Every agency that's here, is to see what are we lacking, what do we need to work on and go back and be prepared should this ever happen," said Sheeley.

State Public Health leaders said this flu season was just an epidemic, but if things were to get worse, their plans will be created from Thursday's meeting to help them prepare.

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