CONVERGE COVID-19 Hurricane Preparedness Working Group: Planning for Evacuation and Sheltering of Vulnerable and Medically Fragile Populations during a Compound Hurricane-Pandemic Threat
CONVERGE COVID-19 Hurricane Preparedness Working Group: Planning for Evacuation and Sheltering of Vulnerable and Medically Fragile Populations during a Compound Hurricane-Pandemic Threat

Working Group Background

With the approaching hurricane season, we will simultaneously manage hurricane responses while combating COVID-19. Isolation, social distancing, and quarantine are steps to disrupt the COVID-19 contagion. However, evacuation and sheltering actions, as currently practiced, are associated with increasing social interactions, which may promote the spread of the virus. This conflict between evacuation and sheltering practices with virus pandemic containment measures has important implications for population health and wellbeing, especially for vulnerable and medically fragile populations.

This Working Group will convene calls of state, county and local leaders, experts, and providers from public health, government, health care, community civic groups, and others to identify knowledge gaps, needs and concerns related to the upcoming 2020 hurricane season under the current public health crisis. Through these calls, the group will facilitate relationship-building, information and resource sharing, and co-learning to fill knowledge gaps to inform policies, procedures, and planning. The Working Group will focus on 6 topics:

Overview of vulnerability and planning for evacuation and sheltering

Health: infectious disease hazard control principles AND continuity of care

Logistics: evacuation/transportation, shelter operations/built environment (congregate/non-congregate), supplies

Public messaging/risk communication: on disaster preparedness, evacuation, sheltering

Workforce: evacuation, shelter staffing –workforce structure, capacity, PPE, telemedicine

Psychological Adjustment: responders, public health workers & public - training, messaging, trauma

 

This COVID-19 Working Group effort is supported by the National Science Foundation-funded Social Science Extreme Events Research (SSEER) Network and the CONVERGE facility at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder (NSF Award #1841338).

Project Team

Working Group Leaders

Dr. Wie Yusuf

School of Public Service, Strome College of Business
Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience
Old Dominion University

Dr. Joshua Behr

Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center
Institute for Coastal Adaptation & Resilience
Old Dominion University

Dr. Jennifer Marshall

Sunshine Education & Research Center (ERC)
Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers & Babies
College of Public Health
University of South Florida

Elizabeth Dunn

Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, & Homeland Security
College of Public Health
University of South Florida

Research Team

Core:
Carol Considine
Dr. Rafael Diaz
Dr. Nicole Hutton Shannon
Dr. Jennifer Whytlaw
Saige Hill

Supporting:
Oge Agim
Ren-Neasha Blake
Taiwo Oguntuyo
Tihara Richardson

University of South Florida

Dr. Kelsey Merlo
Victoria Ballard
Melanie Cruz
Ahlam Farzan
Mitchell Jaskela
Kayla Jones
Madeleine LaGoy
Megan Montoya
Blake Scott
Michael Shekari
Beatrice Smith

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