In the event of a public health emergency Marathon County Health Department officials say they will be prepared. They tested their level of preparedness during a mass vaccination drill on Wednesday. The drill tests their ability to dispense medication to hundreds of people in a very short amount of time.
The Health Department is required to have a plan, in the event of a public health crisis-- like an Influenza Pandemic. Officials would assemble a team and implement the plan they practiced.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, Health Officer for Marathon County, says it was important to take the plans off paper and put them into action. "It is very good to test it in real life, in real time, with real people to see if all our great ideas really work," Willems Van Dijk says.
Julie Hladky, Program Manager for North woods Public Health Consortium, says the Influenza Pandemic Plan took more than six months to create and included in put from thirteen neighboring counties and three tribal health organizations. "One of the reasons we all use the same plan is that if one county has a major emergency others can send their staff to help," Hladky says.
More than 400 free flu shots were given out to county employees and their family members. Officials say they want to evaluate the effectiveness of this drill before opening it up to the rest of the public.