Bath, N.Y. (WENY) - The Steuben County Public Health Department held an emergency preparedness drill at Haverling High School on Tuesday.
The drill sought to ensure the county is prepared for a possible biological breakout. To do so, they simulated a fake event that was provided by the New York State Department of Health that could possibly occur in real life. Steuben County Public Health Department Public Information Officer Lorelei Wagner says, "There has been an employee of a fake grocery store who has been confirmed to have Hepatitis A and so anyone who has consumed produce from this grocery store between March 27th and April 4th has been recommended to come here to get vaccinated so they don't get Hepatitis A."
The county wants to make sure they know how much manpower would be needed, and also wants to visualize how the situation would play out. Wagner says, "We're just trying to see how many volunteers do we need, how many staffing situations can we have. Bath-Haverling would actually be one of our clinic sites so what does that look like? How do we structure it? What do we do?"
Though the situation felt real, the vaccinations were not. Nurses injected IV fluid into Oranges, donated by Sam's Club.
This sort of breakout would not be unfamiliar to the Southern Tier. Wagner says, "Seneca County had a Hepatitis A event, a real event, in 2015 and that was in a food service worker so we know this can happen."
In the case of a real event, the county would be reliant on medical volunteers. Wagner says, "We don't have a large staff at public health so we have a lot of volunteers luckily that came out who are credentialed in medical. So in a real event we would have a large need for medical staff."
For more information on how to volunteer in Steuben County, click here.