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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 24, 2006
 

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t Dewey Beach Commissioner Dell Tush, left, and Dewey town Manager Gordon Elliott attended the Delaware Summit on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness to gather informa- tion on writing an emergency plan for the town. Molly Albertson photo Continued from page 1 quarantine, people will have no way to get to hospitals, grocery stores or town centers, officials said at the Feb. 21 meeting in Dover. Pandemic planning requires addressing the role of schools, businesses, public agencies, faith- based organizations and others, said U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Deputy Secretary Alex Azar. "This is an ever-present threat," U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said. Few local plans But Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach don't have emer- gency plans for any event, and certainly not a pandemic. While Lewes has an Emergency Operations Plan it does not include any possible outbreaks of illness, said Nelson Wiles, who is responsible for the plan. "Its not something we're con- Wiles. Other town officials are responding to the pleas. "We don't have a coherent plan, but we're going to write one," said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper, who attended the summit. Cooper said $25,000 will be budgeted to hire a consultant to write a plan that will include a pandemic flu outbreak as well as natural disasters. Dewey Beach acknowledged the need for an emergency plan at the Jan 11 town meeting. "We have a plan, but it is insufficient," town attorney Rob Witsil said. Dewey is also organizing an emergency preparedness plan committee. "We know what we need to do," said Town Manager Gordon Elliott, who has been going to emergency planning meetings for months. Beebe Medical Center does have a plan in case of emergency, said Dr. Paul Cowan, staff physi- cian and coordinator of disaster planning. "We have identified areas that are not used for primary sidering fight now. Its not a major patient care that we could use," he threat as far as we're aware," said said. For instance, the pre-opera- Realty Professionals 17252-13 North Village Main Blvd. Lewes, DE 19958 (302) 644-8748 1 15 E. Buckingham Drive Rehoboth Beach Exceptionally weft built 5 BR, 3.5 BA home on cul-de-sac in quiet upscale community of RBYCC Open floor plan with numerous upgrades. All for only $909,900. MSL#532567 *owner is a licensed DE REALTOFP CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, Feb. 24 tion area and the visitors' cafd could be converted for patient care if other areas were beyond capacity. No direction for action The summit seemed to provide questions rather than clarity to locals who attended. "The state says they've done all this plan- ning, but I don't know how we can bring it to our community," Cooper said. In a public discussion with Martinez-Fonts and FEMA Program Coordinator Branch Chief Karin Crawford, many fears were brought to light and desciibed as real possibilities, but no solutions were offered. "There is a real possibility of lawlessness and you need to pre- vent that," Crawford said. In a pandemic one-third of the popula- tion could be sick, while another one-third would be staying home, leaving a skeleton crew to run daily operations, she said. "Do we need to worry about this or is the state goi ig to handle this?" asked Cooper about the many details such as trash pick- up, power outages, and even bur- ial of dead. "If every house is Supposed to have food in case of a quarantine that lasts a few weeks, what about the rental homes in Dewey where people are in and out every week?" asked Commissioner Dell Tush about one of the suggestions for individual preparation. "If the county can't bring any- thing to the table, what are we supposed to do?" Cooper asked. Wiles said the state does not require municipalities to enact plans for the possible pandemic. Delaware leads in many areas of avian flu preparetlness, accord- ing to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, but local communities need to step up - Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 - 21 their plans, she said during the summit. The poultry industry has its own plan that includes steps taken when or if birds get the flu. As part of the federal prepared- ness plan, $698,960 was awarded to Delaware for planning focused on practical, community-based procedures that could prevent or delay the spread of the flu, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. But municipalities are still l eft wondering just what to do in case of an outbreak. 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt 0% Down 187/mo. 2006 Chevrolet Malibu 0% Down 48 Month Smart Buy* "Credit approved thro~gt~ GMAC. 12,000 mi./yr. Taxes, tags & fees extra. Cars shown are for advertising purposes only and may not be available.