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Local health district to receive award

| October 9, 2014

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton County Health District, located at 724 S. Sixth St., is one of the recipients of the Public Health Organization Award for the Ohio Unified Command Response to the measles. An awards luncheon will be on Thursday, Oct. 16 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Ohio 4-H Center on the Ohio State campus.

In March 2014, measles were imported from the Philippines to Knox County, and the disease spread quickly to encompass six counties, Knox, Ashland, Coshocton, Richland, and Wayne. These counties began individual responses to the disease with support from state and federal partners.

After discussing options and the situation, the six affected counties decided to unite to create a unified command, which was designed to coordinate the planning of activities, provide a means to request and receive resources, and provide up-to-date intelligence for this rapidly-evolving outbreak.

Julie Miller and Martin Tremmel, health commissioners of Richland County, were instrumental in creating the unified command structure. They initially met for several sessions to plan and develop how the structure would look and the priorities for the group. The group grew to include colleagues outside of local public health, including the Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Hospital Association, regional public health preparedness planners, local Emergency Management Agencies, and Ohio EMA.

The response involved mass vaccination, isolation, and quarantine, crisis communication, cross jurisdictional sharing, and working with the media. This was the largest local response to measles in 20 years.

Because of the coordinated effort, more than 10,000 doses of MMR were given, no deaths have resulted from the outbreak, few hospitalizations have been noted, and the outbreak has stopped.

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