Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) announced today the official launch of a new team, the Office of Pandemic Response (OPR), as part of the county’s long-term COVID-19 response and recovery strategy. The OPR’s main purpose will be to control the spread of COVID-19 in the community through at least the next two years by providing community impact support, conducting infection prevention and response, and collecting and assessing epidemiological information for everyone in the county.
“We are very encouraged to bring this new Office into our tool box to help in the continued fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, JCPH Executive Director. “Having this dedicated team of experts to focus solely on response and recovery efforts, building on what we have learned over the last six months, will help reduce the burden of this virus and save lives.”
As with many organizations, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and organizations has greatly impacted day-to-day operations, and JCPH is no exception. Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, JCPH has adapted its focus to keeping residents and visitors to the county safe from the new virus — with little increase in staffing and limited dedicated resources.
Led by Christine Billings, Emergency Preparedness and Response Supervisor and Incident Commander for Jefferson County’s COVID-19 response, the OPR will be incorporated into JCPH’s existing Emergency Preparedness and Response program — including approximately 15 new hires as well as many current staff who will work across various programs. Day-to-day activities will include implementing outbreak response tasks; organizing and administering community testing sites; conducting case investigations and contact tracing; collecting and providing public information; and providing overall education regarding safe practices and life-saving habits. Activities will also be adapted over time to reflect the most current and unique needs of Jefferson County.
“Having an expanded team of dedicated public health experts, combined with the resources they need to do their jobs, is going to help our county greatly in this fight against COVID-19,” said Billings. “Our team has worked extremely hard over these last several months, but the OPR will really ensure we have the tools necessary to increase our support to the community as we work through the response and recovery process.”
Per the scope of agreement, the OPR will function through December 2022, operating under a $4.2M grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, via the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
Learn more about how COVID-19 is currently affecting Jeffco, what you can do to help slow the spread, community resources and more at www.jeffco.us/coronavirus.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.