Madison County Chamber 2021 - Page 19

MCC Business Directory and Resource Guide 19
Stephenie Grimes , county health administrator , is a key member of the community ' s COVID Task Force .
PHOTOS BY JOHN . P . CLEARY

COUNTY COVID TASK FORCE

HELPS ORGANIZE

STOP VIRUS

EFFORTS TO

BY DEMI LAWRENCE

When the H1N1

pandemic happened in 2009 , Madison County ’ s emergency planning committee learned a lot about healthrelated emergencies . This helped them plan ahead in case something similar were to happen .
Something similar , but much more widespread , did happen in March of this year when the coronavirus pandemic reached
the county .
Though unprecedented , the spread and mortality rate of the coronavirus were limited , according to county health department administrator Stephenie Grimes , because of local preparedness .
“ Going into coronavirus , we already had formed those relationships ( in the committee ), knew what we had done in the past , knew what type of equipment ( we had ) … who had what , and at least where to go to start to react or to respond ,”
Grimes explained .
The Madison County COVID Task Force , formed from the preexisting local emergency planning committee , consists of representatives from law enforcement , schools , emergency management , hazmat experts and other sectors of the community .
The task force met for the first time the second week of March , and met weekly during the first few months of the pandemic .
Madison County Emergency Management Director Tom
Ecker said the community started working to fight the virus early compared to other counties . Despite this , unknowns were abundant , Ecker said , and daily meetings helped the task force stay organized .
In meetings “ we said , ‘ OK , what questions do we have , what answers do we have and how can we share the resources that we have ?’” Ecker related .
While the task force has ended its regular weekly meetings , members still keep in frequent