Preparing Homeless Shelters for a Public Health Emergency Montgomery County, MarylandDepartment of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services
Why Are You Here? Montgomery County under the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) has developed plans to respond to a large-scale bioterrorist (Anthrax) attack by dispensing antibiotics to the entire county population within 48 hrs. People who are homeless are extremely vulnerable (transient, outdoors) to such an attack and may be difficult to reach to provide medications.
What is the Cities Readiness Program? A federally funded program supported by CDC. It assists major cities to effectively respond to a large scale bioterrorist attack. It is based on a scenario of an anthrax attack with widespread and unknown exposure.
Anthrax: The WeaponAnthrax is a deadly diseasecaused by bacterial spores(Bacillus anthracis).Techniques for massproduction and disseminationare being developed.As few as 1 to 3 spores maycause infection if inhaled.Anthrax is NOT contagiousperson to person.
How Is Exposure to Anthrax Treated? Antibiotics (Cipro, Doxycycline, and Amoxicillin) taken by mouth for a total of 60 days are used to treat exposure to Anthrax to prevent infection.Note: Initial push is 10 days, then 50 days if warranted.
Source: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/faq/signs.asp (from the SNS Extranet)
Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) CDC will deliver medications from the SNS to Points of Dispensing (PODs) in Maryland including Montgomery County. There are two forms of distribution at the county level: Open PODS (Previously known as Medication Centers) Closed PODs
What is an Open POD? Open PODs are for anyone in the County. There will be 25 sites designated as Open PODs. One household representative will be encouraged to pick up medication for his or her entire household. Drive-Thru or Walk-Up options for screening and distribution.
What is a Closed POD? A point of dispensing that is restricted to a particular group, such as homeless shelters. A Closed POD at a homeless shelter is more convenient for people who are homeless and who may not be able to go to a Medication Center.
Homeless Shelters as Closed PODs Homeless Shelters can elect to become Closed PODs in Montgomery County. Medications and supplies would be distributed from the state to a central location within the county, i.e., MC Fire and Rescue Training Academy. Staff from the shelters will pick up the medications from the central location to distribute to shelter staff, their immediate family, and shelter residents.
Benefits of Closed PODS Quicker distribution of medications to people who are homeless. Protects Homeless Shelter staff and their families. Helps to ensure your organization’s continuity of operations. Decreases the number of people going to Open PODs.
How are Closed PODs Activated?NOTIFICATION & ACTIVATION OF THE CLOSED POD PARTNER SITEMontgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services will contact the Homeless Shelters to let them know that their mass prophylaxis and Closed POD plans have been activated.
Homeless Shelter Roles Send proper staff and proper vehicles to pick up medication at designated location Assist staff members obtain medication for themselves and their households Assist staff, staff households, and residents to complete screening form Distribute medications to homeless shelter residents
Homeless Shelter Roles (Continued) Be prepared to go back to the designated location to pick up additional medication Maintain and secure inventory of medications Stay alert, keep up-to-date with news from the County, and keep communication lines open