Steuben County handles fictitious Hepatitis A outbreak


Would you know what to do in the event of a public health emergency?

BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Would you know what to do in the event of a public health emergency?

Steuben County’s public health department held an emergency preparedness drill at Haverling High School in Bath on Tuesday with volunteers simulating vaccinations after a fake occurrence.

“What we have is the idea that there was an employee at a fake grocery store who was confirmed to have hepatitis A,” Lorelei Wagner, public information officer with Steuben County Public Health, said. “So, anyone who consumed produce from that grocery store (from) March 27 to April 4 has the possibility of being exposed to hepatitis A.”

This gives volunteering residents a glimpse into what to expect in case this were to happen in the area. It also helps the nurses volunteering on how to be prepared, but no one is actually getting a shot. 

A nurse disinfects the area on an orange that he or she will puncture, just like an arm, then they’ll carefully administer the needle. Lastly, it’s responsibly disposed of by the nurse. 

The vaccines, which are expired and unused intravenous fluid, were donated by nearby hospitals. The oranges, donated by Sam’s Club, are also properly disposed of so that no one will consume them. 

Public Health hopes all volunteers found the process to be fluid. 

“We’ll have evaluations both from the public and from our volunteer staff at the end to decide how well we did, what improvements we can make for the next time, and hopefully, in the case of a real event, we are very well-prepared,” Wagner added.

Almost 100 people volunteered as residents on Tuesday afternoon. 

The fake scenarios are distributed by New York State Department of Health.

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