December 16 – 22, 2019




1. Regional Coalition Meeting

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition will conduct a Pediatric Surge Annex Planning Workshop instead of its monthly meeting Thursday January 9, 2020 beginning at 8:00 am. The workshop is a way for all of the regional stakeholders to get together to discuss best practices, identify the mission/concept of operations, identify tasks to support the mission, and develop detailed plan components. This annex will be used to train the regional coalition membership on the response needs associated with a pediatric surge event. Additionally, the regional coalition will conduct a Table Top Exercise in June to test the annex as required by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

2. Save the Dates

Upcoming training and conferences:

The Coalition is able to send to people to the 2020 NACCHO Preparedness Summit in Dallas. Please contact our Exercise and Training Coordinator Matt Cronin if you would like to attend the multi-day event. If you would like to attend, we must have your name and contact information before February 15, 2020 to allow us enough time to receive approval from VHHA and VDH. We are allowed to send and reimburse two coalition members for expenses incurred resulting from attending the summit. These members include healthcare organizational staff with responsibility of emergency management or are involved in emergency preparedness planning, fire, EMS, and local emergency management.

3. Clinical Advisor

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition is seeking a part-time physician to serve as a clinical advisor. The job announcement can be found here. We ask healthcare organizational staff to please assist us by spreading the word about this open position. As part of our grant funding requirement, we must hire a physician before the next grant period begins.

4. Memorandum of Understanding

We are pleased to announce that the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition continues to receive requests to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the coalition and non-hospital facilities. The MOU is designed for healthcare facilities that are not classified as an Acute Care or Critical Access hospital, and it is good for five (5) years before it will need to be renewed. If your organization resides within the Northwest Region and you have not signed the MOU, you can contact either the Regional Coordinator or the Medically Vulnerable Populations Coordinator to find out more details.

We are expanding our outreach to healthcare agencies within the region as a way of offering assistance to you and your organization. We ask for everyone’s help to spread the word by talking with your colleagues about the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition. You can contact us by clicking the Contact Us tab on our website.

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Credit:

Virginia Department of Health

Virginia Department of Health Weekly Influenza Activity Report

The Virginia Department of Health monitors the level of activity of influenza-like illness (ILI) each week from October through May. Those are the months when influenza (“flu”) is most likely to occur in Virginia, and that time period is referred to as the “flu season”.

Data Sources:
The Virginia Department of Health uses a number of different data sources to determine the level of flu activity that is occurring each week during flu season. The main data sources that are used to make the weekly flu activity level determination are:

  • laboratory reports
  • outbreak reports, and
  • data on visits to hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers for flu-like illness.

Flu Activity Levels:
Flu surveillance is not designed to count every person who has the disease. That would be nearly impossible because not all people with the disease are diagnosed by a physician and even fewer have their illness confirmed by a laboratory test.

Instead, VDH monitors changes in flu activity from week to week in each of the five health planning regions to look for increases compared to a baseline period. Activity is based on illness complaints that lead people to seek care in a hospital emergency department or urgent care center. Flu-like illness is defined as a fever along with a cough and/or a sore throat.

To view the weekly report, click here.


Health & Human Services

 Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response


Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resource,                                                                                                           Assistance Center, and Information Exchange

Hospital Preparedness Program




1. Supply Chain Risk Management webinar for health sector

The Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) will host their monthly webinar threat briefing series to discuss actionable cybersecurity threats and mitigation practices for the Healthcare and Public Health sector.

The next briefing “Supply Chain Risk Management” is scheduled for December 19th, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern. Future briefings will be on a monthly basis. These unclassified briefings are open to professionals in the healthcare industry. To receive the webinar meeting details and more information, please contact

2. The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Highlights

The HPH Sector Highlights – Preparedness, Resilience, and Response Edition is a weekly email produced by the HHS ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) on behalf of the HPH Sector Partnership. It provides updates on healthcare and public health critical infrastructure resources, tools and events related to preparedness, resilience, and response.

Preparedness, Resilience, and Response Edition Week of December 10, 2019

  • FEMA Releases 2019 National Preparedness Report
  • Hearing on “Flu Season: U.S. Public Health Preparedness and Response”
  • Now Available: National Biodefense Science Board Recommendations
  • New Training Course Available from NETEC
  • Liability Protection for Public Health Partners
  • TRACIE Webinar: Healthcare Challenges in Chemical Incidents

Healthcare Supply Chain Edition December 2019

  • FDA and EPA Activities and Innovation to Address Concerns with Ethylene Oxide Emissions from Commercial Sterilizer Operations
  • Senator Peters Announces Investigation into Rising Prescription Drug Costs
  • Global Drug Supply Poses Challenge to FDA as Safety Fears Rise
  • Who Shrank the Drug Factory? Briefcase-sized Labs Could Transform Medicine
  • DHL Resilience360 Releases “Impact of the U.S.-China Trade War on Global Supply Chains”

Cybersecurity Edition Week of December 13, 2019

3. The Express – December 2019

As we close out another year, we extend our thanks to those of you who serve this nation’s communities so selflessly. We know our ASPR TRACIE stakeholders dedicate themselves to our safety and health, and we are honored to help share your resources and experiences. We also know that flu season may be affecting many of your communities, and we invite you to review these related resources:

  • Healthcare Coalition Influenza Pandemic Checklist
  • Considerations for the Use of Temporary Care Surge Sites for Managing Seasonal Patient Surge
  • Influenza Epidemic/Pandemic Topic Collection

Read More »

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




Update on Ebola Diagnostics at the State and Federal Levels in the United States

In light of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, CDC will discuss the current status of Ebola diagnostic testing that is available through the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and CDC in the United States. The speakers will also address considerations around the newly FDA-approved rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for Ebola virus infection.

During this COCA Call, clinicians will learn about options for testing suspected Ebola virus infection in coordination with state and local public health authorities and CDC, as well as the benefits and limitations of existing diagnostic tools.  

Please note: The slides for this presentation are now posted on the call page under the “Call Materials” tab.

If you are unable to attend this live COCA Call, the closed captioned video will be available to view on-demand on the call page a few days after the call.

Free continuing education (CE) is available for this COCA Call. Please see below for instructions on how to receive CE.

Date: Thursday, December 19, 2019
Time: 2:00pm–3:00pm (ET)

A few minutes before the webinar begins, please click the link below to join:

Or join by iPhone one-tap:
US: +16468769923,,804256797# or +16699006833,,804256797# 

Or join by Telephone:

US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833

Webinar ID: 804 256 797

International numbers are available here:

Credit: U.S. Food & Drug


Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Course Offerings

G775 EOC Operations and Management course is scheduled for January 22-24, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

EOC Operations and Management

L146: Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) course is scheduled for February 4-5, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP)

G0205 Recovery from Disaster: The Local Community Role course is scheduled for February 10-11, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

Recovery from Disaster: The Local Community Role

VEOC 100 WebEOC for Local Government course is scheduled for February 19, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

WebEOC for Local Government

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Delivery Model course is scheduled for February 26-26, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Delivery Model

VEOC 100 WebEOC for Local Government course is scheduled for March 16, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

WebEOC for Local Government

G191 EOC/ICS Interface course is scheduled for March 27, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

EOC/ICS Interface

VEOC 100 WebEOC for Local Government course is scheduled for April 7, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

WebEOC for Local Government

G202 Debris Management course is scheduled for April 21-23, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

Debris Management

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Workshop course is scheduled for May 20, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Workshop

1. WHO prequalifies Ebola vaccine, paving the way for its use in high-risk countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) today prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time, a critical step that will help speed up its licensing, access and roll-out in countries most at risk of Ebola outbreaks. This is the fastest vaccine prequalification process ever conducted by WHO.

Prequalification means that the vaccine meets WHO standards for quality, safety and efficacy. United Nations agencies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, can procure the vaccine for at-risk countries based on this WHO recommendation.

“This is a historic step towards ensuring the people who most need it are able to access this life-saving vaccine,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Five years ago, we had no vaccine and no therapeutics for Ebola. With a prequalified vaccine and experimental therapeutics, Ebola is now preventable and treatable.”

Read More »

Source: World Health Organization News Release

2. Wyoming hospitals hit by cyberattacks almost daily, state hospital association says

As cyberattacks on healthcare organizations increase across the country, hospitals in Wyoming are dealing with malware attacks “weekly, if not daily,” according to a Dec. 12 Casper Star Tribune report. 

Hackers target health systems to gain control of electronic health records that contain personal information about large groups of people. Between 2018 and 2019, attempted malware attacks against U.S. health systems grew 20 percent and affected the medical records of 38 million patients, according to a PBS study.

In Wyoming, hospitals are hit with malware attacks almost daily, Eric Boley, head of the Wyoming Hospital Association, told the Star Tribune. Some hospitals have spent millions in the wake of cyberattacks, such as Gillette, Wyo.-based Campbell County Health. The health system suspended new patient admissions and canceled some surgeries Sept. 20 after a ransomware attack. Its systems were down 17 days, but it did not pay the ransom. Instead, the health system was able to recreate medical records, Mr. Boley said. The ordeal cost millions in lost revenue, insurance claims and infrastructure. 

Cheyenne (Wyo.) Regional Medical Center and Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital with 249 beds on two campuses, were also targets of cyberattacks in recent years, Mr. Boley said.

Cheyenne Regional was hit in early spring by a phishing scam that left some patients’ personal information compromised, and Casper Wyoming’s systems were infected with malware in November 2018. No patient data was compromised in the Casper Wyoming breach, a hospital spokesperson told the Star Tribune

To get ahead of cybersecurity threats, the hospital association has been offering training and guidance to hospitals that focuses on general security and firewall protection. 

But when it comes to getting hacked, “everyone’s pretty much aware that it’s not if, it’s when it’s going to happen,”  Mr. Boley said. 

Source: Jackie Drees of Becker’s Health IT & CIO Report

3. Mass casualty incidents involving burns

Burn mass casualty incidents (BMCI) usually exceed the resources of local hospitals to which victims are initially sent. Some incidents could even tax a dedicated burn center as they are often few and far between, covering a large geographical area. In 2016 the total number of beds at designated burn centers in the United States stood at approximately 1,800.

EMS providers, medical facilities, public health offices and other stakeholders should review the guide Mass Burn Event Overview to bolster their BMCI plans and identify any gaps that may exist in policy and procedures. The guide covers initial burn care and stabilization as well as triage and transportation considerations.

Read More »

Source: Emergency Management and Response – Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC)

4. There have been at least 1,300 flu deaths in the US so far this season, CDC estimates

At least 1,300 people have died from the flu so far this season, according to a preliminary estimate released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been at least 2.6 million flu illnesses and 23,000 flu-related hospitalizations, according to the analysis. So far this season, the CDC has received reports of 10 children who have died from the flu, four more than the week before. Experts have warned that flu is hitting the United States early this year, and there are concerns that this early season could mean a particularly severe season overall.

Read More »

Source: via CNN Wire