SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As first responders continue to work tirelessly to contain the Camp Fire and protect the communities evacuated, behind the scenes state and federal agencies have deployed specialized medical teams to assist survivors at area shelters, and moved tons of supplies – including 1,450 cots, 1,600 blankets, 200 comfort kits, medical tents and other critical necessities to help.
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)built an expansive state staging area next to the Chico airport and began moving supplies into the area within 24 hours of the wildfire’s start.
The California Department of Social Servicesis working closely with Butte County Social Services, Butte County OES, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to coordinate sheltering and feeding operations throughout the county.
Two additional shelters were opened and expanded at the Butte County Fairgrounds and Glenn County Fairgrounds to provide additional capacity for those needing a dry and warm place to stay. The shelters provide resources such as food and access to additional programs for evacuees. FEMAis able to assist registering survivors and assess their recovery needs, as well as determine eligibility for disaster assistance programs.The shelters are also providing specialized medical care for individuals recovering from cases of norovirus.
The California Department of Public Healthand the Butte County Department of Public Health are working to address concerns over the potential spread of norovirus inside the evacuation shelters.
Each designated evacuation center has medical personnel on-site to address the needs of any evacuees experiencing norovirus symptoms as well as to provide prevention education to shelter staff. The following actions have been taken to address and prevent the spread of the virus:
- Established separate shelter areas for sick evacuees, which include separate; hand washing and bathroom areas, and limited in-and-out access;
- Ensured proper cleaning protocols are taking place;
- Provided additional bathrooms and hand washing stations for use by ill persons;
- Supplied medical staff with personal protective equipment to minimize exposure.
There is active monitoring of shelter residents for signs and symptoms of norovirus illness and coordination of laboratory testing to confirm illnesses.
For the Camp Fire, the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, or EMSA, have been tasked with supplementing and coordinating medical support for the shelters. EMSA has mobilized medical teams from CalMAT (California Medical Assistance Teams), which are cohesively trained teams assigned to work in shelters or in special isolation facilities being erected at each shelter to address the norovirus.
Public Health infection control specialists from the California Department of Public Health are working with the healthcare providers in each shelter to optimize procedures to protect workers and shelter inhabitants.
The Red Cross is currently operating six shelters for evacuees of the Camp Fire. The following Red Cross shelters have space for new evacuees to stay.
- Bidwell Jr High School 2376 North Avenue, Chico
- Neighborhood Church 2801 Notre Dame Blvd., Chico
- Butte County Fairgrounds 199 E. Hazel Street, Gridley
- Church of Nazarene 2238 Monte Vista Avenue, Oroville
- Glenn County Fairgrounds 221 E. Yolo Street, Orland
- Yuba Sutter County Fairgrounds 442 Franklin Avenue, Yuba City
Butte County and the City of Chico are working collaboratively with state agencies, the Red Cross, and volunteers to assist with transitioning Camp Fire evacuees currently located at the Walmart parking lot in Chico to the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley where services are provided.
Teams of Butte County social workers will help people transition to Butte County Fairgrounds. The County will provide transportation to the new location starting today, November 17, 2018. Small animal sheltering will be available to evacuees at the Butte County Fairgrounds beginning Sunday, November 18, 2018.
For current shelter and other Camp Fire resource information, visit the Butte County website at www.buttecounty.net.
Also watch this video posted on November 20, 2018.