The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency announced that the Williamson County Emergency Operations Center has moved to Level 3: Partial Activation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a news release, at this activation level in the 5-level-system, the Emergency Operations Center is staffed with key personnel needed to manage the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared by the State of Tennessee.
Staffing for Level 3 activation includes WCEMA and emergency support coordinators from the Williamson County Health Department, Williamson County Government, city and town partners, the news release said.
The Level 3 Activation event or incident was described in the release as one that requires close attention to evolving events by emergency services and other key personnel to ensure public safety and the continuation of key services.
The Williamson County Office of Public Safety details the 5 Levels of Activation as the following:
- Level 5 – Normal Operations – The Williamson County EOC is always activated to at least Level 5 normal operations. This level represents normal operations of day to day activities. Under this level, emergency resources and manpower are not considered to be taxed or in short supply.
- Level 4 – Monitoring - Represents an EOC minor activation and is usually limited to WCEMA personnel. Under a Level 4 activation, an event or incident has, or is forcaseted to take place which requires a higher than normal monitoring of Williamson County emergency operations and resources. During Level 4, the EOC Operations room may or may not have personnel in it depending on the event complexity, but WCEMA personnel are monitoring events, operations and weather. This level may operate either virtually or staffed and in each case it will be communicated Level 4 Monitoring “Virtual” or Level 4 Monitoring “Staffed”.
- Level 3 – Partial Activation – During a Level 3 activation, the EOC Operations room is staffed with key personnel needed to manage the event or incident at its current status. Staffing for Level 3 activation will usually include WCEMA and ESCs. A Level 3 event or incident is one which requires the close attention of evolving events by emergency services and other key personnel to ensure public safety and the continuation of key services and utilities.
- Level 2 – Full Activation – During a Level 2 activation, the EOC Operations room is staffed with most, if not all, of the ESCs and Emergency Management staff. During Level 2 activation, the EOC would also initially operate continuously 24 hours a day in shifts. An event of this magnitude would greatly stress county resources and would possibly require outside aid from neighboring jurisdictions, the state and federal government.
- Level 1 – Catastrophic Event – (Catastrophic Disaster) A Level 1 Catastrophic Event activation is the highest level to which the EOC can be activated. At this level, resources within the county have been or are being stretched beyond their maximum capacity or are overwhelmed. Significant outside resources and assistance is required. The EOC would be activated 24 hours with complete and full staffing of all positions. Substantial assistance from neighboring counties, the state and federal government would be requested to assist in response and recovery from an event of this magnitude
WCEMA said that the Williamson County Emergency Operations Center has been working with those city, county and private partners to facilitate briefings, plan for future operation periods and document the current status of the county related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared by the State of Tennessee.
“We continue our preparations, as a whole community, to work together in an effort to handle COVID-19 impacts to Williamson County. It is important that we all work together to ensure that our neighbors have the resources they need," Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said in the news release.
"We can accomplish this by checking on our neighbors by phone or in a manner that is consistent with social distancing recommendations, staying home when we are sick, and staying informed by accessing credible sources. ”
WCEMA said in the release that they are working closely with the Williamson County Health Department to "gather and disseminate pertinent information" regarding its current operations and reporting requirements to the State Health Department.
“The health department is currently offering COVID-19 assessment at our Franklin and Fairview locations for those who are at high risk, symptomatic, or don't have a medical home” Williamson County Health Director Cathy Montgomery said in the news release. “Most people - particularly those with mild or no symptoms - do not need to be assessed as supplies are limited.”
The release said that additional testing supplies have been ordered and are expected soon.
On Wednesday Defense One reported that U.S. Air Force flew half a million coronavirus testing swabs from Italy to Memphis where they will be distributed across the country.
The news release also said that the health department is only providing essential services at this time in an effort to focus on following the guidance provided by public health authorities and mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
“We encourage our patients and others requiring services, to call the health department for more information,” the news release reads.
On Wednesday WCEMA launched an opt-in text service for county Coronavirus updates. To opt-in to the text update service, individuals can text keyword WCCOVID to 888-777.
WCEMA has also developed a page on its website with specific information regarding Coronavirus impacts at www.williamsonready.org/Coronavirus