Pinellas County releases COVID-19 after-action report

Rose Burke

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Report outlines County pandemic response and lessons learned

Today, Pinellas County released its Coronavirus (COVID-19) County Response After Action Report, which details the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights lessons learned for future disaster response efforts.

“Over a period of two years, we faced an unprecedented event that pushed us to be resilient, creative and persistent,” said Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie Perkins, who presented the report to the Board of County Commissioners. “What often seemed like a race stretched into a marathon that required a communitywide response, and we are so grateful for all of the ways our community stepped up to help.“

Over the course of the pandemic, Pinellas County and partners have fulfilled more than 5,500 resource requests from local care facilities, hospitals, and first responders, totaling nearly 13 million personal protective items; kept partners informed through almost 2,000 coordination calls; and provided more than 250,000 COVID-19 vaccines and 308,000 tests, according to the report.

County staff, partner agencies and businesses all found creative ways to help throughout the pandemic, the report notes. Organizations of all kinds came together as a part of the County’s working groups addressing many aspects of our community, ranging from nursing home assistance to food distribution. Businesses offered innovative solutions, such as adapting their manufacturing to make personal protective equipment.

Partnerships during the pandemic led to the County’s formation of the first Pinellas County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), a group of more than 80 faith- and community-based organizations that are invested in helping the community prepare for and recover from disasters, according to the report. For information on how organizations, including businesses, can get involved with disaster support, email ema@pinellascounty.org.

The pandemic has also shown County staff that more volunteers are needed for disasters, especially as hurricane season approaches, Perkins said. The County and other community organizations saw a decrease in volunteers during the pandemic, making it harder to meet the needs of vulnerable communities. Individuals are encouraged to sign up to volunteer during disasters, if they are able, at bit.ly/disaster-volunteer.

While the pandemic is not over, Pinellas County’s after-action report provides lessons learned from the past two years that will guide the County’s response to both the remaining impacts of the pandemic and to future disasters.

“We don’t just prepare for hurricanes; we prepare for all disasters,” Perkins said. “The best practices and partnerships we’ve developed during our response to the pandemic will make our response to future disasters of any kind stronger.”

To request a copy of the Pinellas County Coronavirus (COVID-19) County Response After Action Report, email ema@pinellascounty.org.

E-mail addresses are public records under Florida law and are not exempt from public-records requirements. If you do not want your e-mail address to be subject to being released pursuant to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact Pinellas County Emergency Management by telephone at (727) 464-3800 or in writing, via the United States Postal Service, at 10750 Ulmerton Road, Largo FL 33778.

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