I’ve been working at the ECC (Emergency Coordination Center) for a week now. Here’s what I know.
Upon entering the building, you are greeted by a female guard in a mask. You sign in, with your department, purpose, date and time. I write something different every time, because I know I’m doing contracts, but department throws me. The department who pays me? Department I’m going to?
The guard stands up. Then the questions start.
“Do you have a fever or chills or body aches?”
“Any uncontrollable nasal secretions not due to seasonal allergies?”
“Do you have a cough?”
“Do you have diarrhea in conjunction with an acute illness?”
Wow. No, but thanks for asking. How about we include yeast infections and STDs while we’re at it?
Lastly, she takes my temperature, which is always 97.3 degrees. At least I’m consistent.
The ECC is next door to the Public Works campus, originally built on farmland. Between the two buildings is an overflow pond. It’s rather full right now and surrounded by grassy banks, assorted trees and a multitude of birds. Starlings. Quail. Ducks. A pair of geese. Red-winged blackbirds, their haunting song echoing over the pond, join with robins and sparrows, too. I discovered more animals today. Rabbits chase each other among the blackberry brambles. A walking trail winds around the ECC and the pond, ending on the other side of Public Works. I’ve seen a calico cat while walking it, and a garter snake. Not at the same time.
When I got this assignment, I was told it was for emergency contracts, which immediately filled me with a certain amount of trepidation. Those contracts consist of 24/7 protection at Providence, a PPE decontamination contract in order to reuse PPE, hotel isolation/quarantine sites, and wraparound services for those sites. So far, I’ve done an amendment to the first one. Still working on all the rest, scoring input from Risk and legal. State and FEMA updates change regularly, making it all very tricky. Emergency and government do not go together in any sort of handy pairing, I reckon.
All that said, it’s a good team here. They are peaceful but focused, knowing the risks and rising to meet them. Leadership often puts in 12-hour days. The entire crew meets every morning at 8:00 a.m. to brief on the current status of Covid-19 within the County. I’ve learned that counties act like big brothers to all the other cities, towns, tribes and special districts. They provide points of distribution for those smaller organizations, as well as guidance and taking point on governor’s directives. I’ve learned that several agencies are using 3-D printers to make up the lack of available PPE. Washington state’s Covid-19 known cases total over 9,000 with 446 deaths, a mortality rate of nearly 5%. I’ve also learned that social distancing is working, though the state’s infection’s peak is projected to be April 24. Despite this, people are recovering, thank God.
So many things to be grateful for today. I find myself feeling grateful to be here, to be helping in a tangible way. It’s such a beautiful location, too, as the sun has reappeared. It’s payday today, and a Friday. Woot!
Easter season is upon us as well, though it doesn’t feel like it; most normalcy has been stripped away. Today is Good Friday, when Jesus went to the cross and was crucified to pay for our sins. He suffered in our place (Isaiah 53). I’m grateful for His death and resurrection, which allowed us access to relationship with the Father and eternal life. We won’t be celebrating Easter at church or with extended family, but His sacrifice remains and we will keep the feast, making “good” on his resurrection. Happy Easter, everyone!
So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. – John 19:16-18