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Pamlico COVID-19 Task Force Seeks Volunteers
A need for virtual community outreach
April 10, 2020

r. Diana Silimperi is a former Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC, current global health physician, and the newest member of the Pamlico County Health Advisory Board. At the April 6 Pamlico County Board Meeting, she laid out the goals of the recently formed Pamlico County COVID-19 Community Task Force and Resource Network (CCTF).

A surge in coronavirus infections is predicted to hit North Carolina later this month, Dr. Diana Silimperi told the Board. She wants to have the CCTF staffed with virtual volunteers before then. The task force has two goals: help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through community outreach, and support the County Health Department in preparing for an infection surge.

Commissioners tasked Dr. Silimperi to use proven practices based on her experiences in ‘global health security, or epidemic control,’ in forming the pandemic response task force.

Dr. Silimperi, a resident of Pamlico County, said she has several concerns about infection in Pamlico County, particularly the age and underlying health conditions of Pamlico’s population. “At least 1/3 and likely more of our county is high risk,” she said, “meaning they have a higher risk to get very sick once they are infected, and to need a hospital or even intensive care services to survive.” Pamlico County has no hospital, she said, and minimal health resources; a surge in illnesses could easily overwhelm the county’s health system.

CCTF is asking for volunteers and community organizations (churches, nonprofits, social groups, etc.) to contact CCTF and help them create community engagement with residents, “making sure every household is well informed regarding what they can do to protect themselves, and addressing and calming their fears, and discussing ways to prevent the virus” said Dr. Silimperi. Volunteer efforts, she said, would be mostly virtual.

The task force is also looking for volunteers with medical training. If needed, they could help support the Health Department “with contact tracing, virtual monitoring of positives or those with symptoms.”

Dr. Silimpari emphasized a need for volunteers with varied backgrounds, not just those in the medical fields. With a varied volunteer network, the CCTF can provide a “streamlined flow of information back to county management and commissioners from a variety of population segments.”

If you have more questions, or to help with the volunteer effort, email PCCCTaskForce@gmail.com or by phone at 252-228-9788.

View Dr. Silimperi’s presentation to the Pamlico Board of Commissioners below or read the press release here.

Posted Friday April 10, 2020 by Allison DeWeese

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