Support for COVID-19 Response
G&H International Services, Inc. (GH) with support from the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has been working with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) to provide technical assistance to various states’ COVID-19 response task forces. A focus of this work has been adapting tools previously developed for CUSEC during the 2019 Shaken Fury exercise along with new innovations to map hot spots, understand hospital capacity, and address and prioritize resource requests that are being made by health officials, first responders, and others for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), among other challenges.
To better understand the “on the ground” situation and to identify the data and configure the tools and workflows that will facilitate real-time reporting, GH staff have been virtually embedded in various states’ COVID-19 response task forces. These task forces have included an intersection of state and local emergency management agencies, public health, first responders, the private sector, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agency representatives where relevant. G&H’s technical assistance has helped state emergency management agencies to provide real-time reporting across critical data points to enable timely and informed policies and resource decisions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our work has produced a rich set of information products and tools that enable agencies to integrate, manage, use and share data in real time across multiple disciplines, including the public health community that can, with some customization, be adapted and used across the nation. As an example, at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis few, if any, agencies maintained a statewide inventory of PPE. To address this challenge we worked with a number of states develop tools and workflows to obtain PPE inventories and track PPE burn rates so they could be easily integrated with resource requests and resource fulfillment tracking systems. While the capabilities for each state require some customization to meet each state’s specific workflows and to work with their incident management or similar system, the core of our approach is similar in each case and, with some support, can be applied to any state.
In addition, we have developed capabilities to acquire, track and use key data sources that are useful in resource adjudication and prioritization more easily. These include COVID-19 case tracking, hospital capacity, swab and test sites, and other information to assist in timely and informed decision making. Table 1 provides a summary of some of the most requested capabilities GH has developed. These capabilities can be applied to other logistic and supply chain challenges.
While we continue to develop innovative and mission focused information products and tools, we are now turning our attention to developing and fielding capabilities to address the onset of the upcoming severe weather season which will further complicate response and recovery efforts. The Lifeline Situation Reporting Package and Template will be particularly important to agencies to help them rapidly acquire and report Lifeline Status information within a state, across a region, and to FEMA and other key partners to provide better situational awareness for mutual aid and resource management.
In addition to our work with DHS S&T, we are working directly with states to help them meet their needs. If you would like more information on what we can do for your agency please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.