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Hospital with rows of beds with Influenza patients - Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine

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Illinois Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan - PDF



The following is a summary of the major milestones in the state of Illinois' pandemic flu preparedness program over the past two years:

1. The Illinois Pandemic Flu Response Plan was completed in 2005, with revisions made in 2006. The plan is accessible on line at:

  • The plan was developed by the Office of the Governor, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), with review and input from roughly 30 other state agencies and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force.
  • The plan is designed to provide an operational framework that will enable the state and its response partners to stop, to slow, or to otherwise limit the spread of an influenza pandemic, thereby preserving human lives and health, reducing the adverse effects on critical infrastructure, mitigating the impact to the economy and avoiding social disruption.
  • The plan provides the executive branch of state government with a set of preparedness activities, describes the primary functions to be used in a response, and assigns responsibility for more than 100 activities.
  • The plan also establishes preparedness and response expectations for local health departments, health care provider systems and first responder organizations. When applicable, federal, non-governmental, private citizen and private enterprise roles and responsibilities also are suggested.
  • The plan calls for an annual review by all affected agencies, led by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

2. A joint U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Illinois Pandemic Flu Summit was held March 17, 2006 in Rosemont.

  • Convened by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, the summit drew more than 600 participants from health care, public health, first responder,state and local governments and financial services sectors.
  • The Governor and Secretary signed a resolution committing the Illinois and federal governments to continued pandemic influenza preparedness efforts, including coordination of planning, training, and other response capability building activities, as well as the systematic testing of each of these areas in collaboration with local government and private sector partners.

3. In the spring of 2006, IDPH conducted three state-level pandemic flu tabletops exercises, each encompassing a successively wider circle of participants and goals:

  • Tabletop exercise 1 (March 14, 2006— Springfield)
    • Primary participants
      • Office of the Governor
      • Illinois Department of Public Health, including the director, legal staff, communications, senior medical staff, and appropriate deputy director and division chief level staff)
      • Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), including the director, legal staff and communications manager.
      • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), including the department director, legal staff and communications manager
    • Goals
      • Establish a common vision among IDPH leadership staff regarding core responsibilities of the Department during an influenza pandemic.
      • Clarify roles and responsibilities between the various offices, divisions, and bureaus within IDPH regarding management of an influenza pandemic.
      • Identify gaps in the IDPH emergency response structure for responding to an influenza pandemic.
      • Assess the ability of the Office of the Governor, IDPH, IDOA, and IEMA to coordinate response activities, including the prompt, accurate and consistent dissemination of information to the public.
  • Tabletop exercise 2 (May 11, 2006— Springfield)
    • Primary participants
      • Office of the Governor
      • Illinois Department of Agriculture
      • Illinois Department of Human Services
      • Illinois Department of Public Health
      • Illinois Emergency Management Agency
      • Illinois State Board of Education
      • Illinois State Police
      • Local health department (LHD) administrators and other LHD representatives
      • Hospital representatives
      • Illinois Municipal League
    • Goals
  • Tabletop exercise 3 (May 18, 2006—Lisle)
    • Primary participants included “top officials” from the following sectors, disciplines and governments
      • State government
        • Executive Branch
        • Legislative Branch
        • Judicial Branch
      • Local government
        • Elected officials
        • Appointed Officials
        • Association Representatives
      • Other state representatives
        • Illinois National Guard
        • Illinois Air National Guard
      • Hospitals and health care representatives
        • Illinois Hospital Association
        • Illinois Nurses Association
        • Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council
      • Private sector representatives
        • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
        • Illinois Retail Merchants Association
        • Illinois State Chamber of Commerce
        • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
      • Illinois higher education institutions
      • Federal government
        • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        • Federal Emergency Management Agency
        • U.S. Department of Agriculture
        • U.S. Senate
        • U.S. House of Representatives
    • Goals
      • Provide an orientation for “top officials” and other key stakeholders on the progress and challenges related to pandemic influenza preparedness and response.
      • Identify additional steps necessary to assure that Illinois is prepared for an influenza pandemic

4. Illinois Terrorism Task Force "FluEx" exercise (May 2006-Springfield)

  • A three-day, full-scale, statewide exercise organized by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force.
  • Initiated by Governor Blagojevich in the fall of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina revealed major problems with preparedness and emergency response.
  • Participants included state agencies, mutual aid systems, nongovernmental organizations and local government agencies, such as the city of Chicago and Cook County.
  • The goal was to test the state’s ability to manage an influenza pandemic while also handling terrorist attacks.

5. In March 2006, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, convened a Pandemic Flu Workgroup to address the unresolved issues associated with preparing an effective response to an influenza pandemic. Its mission is to establish and then utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to pandemic flu problem solving.

  • Four subcommittees were initially formed to address specific issues.
    • Personal Protective Equipment Subcommittee —Produced recommendations related to personal protective equipment for health care workers, and emergency medical services, law enforcement and fire department first responder personnel.
    • Vaccine/Antiviral Prioritization Subcommittee documents outlining the definition of critical personnel and is developing a model for allocating flu vaccine and antivirals.
    • School Closing Subcommittee —Identified pandemic flu preparedness and response guidance for schools. Alternate Care Facilities Subcommittee —Produced guidance on the identification, operation and management of an alternate care facility.
  • Four new subcommittees were formed to address:
    • coping with a surge in demand for staff
    • exploring and facilitating increased involvement of pharmacies
    • reviewing and evaluating the state-level and region-level pandemic flu exercises conducted during 2006
    • stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies that would likely be needed during an influenza pandemic

6. A flu planning template was developed for local health departments by IDPH and distributed in June.

7. Thirteen regional pandemic flu exercises were conducted over a six-week period that began July 17, 2006 and concluded Aug. 28, 2006:

  • These exercises were organized by the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators (IAPHA) and the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC), with funding and technical guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • The locations were Brookfield, Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Joliet, Morris and St. Charles for NIPHC, and Bloomington, Charleston, Dixon, Fairview Heights, Galesburg, Mt. Vernon and Springfield for IAPHA.
  • Participants were drawn from the following:
    • Local public health departments
    • Hospitals
    • Emergency medical services
    • Local emergency management agency
    • Schools
    • State's Attorneys
    • Law enforcement
    • Fire departments
    • Private sector partners
    • County coroners
    • Colleges and universities
    • County administrators
    • Community-based organizations
  • The primary goals of the regional exercises were to:
    • Bring communities together to be introduced to the central issues related to an influenza pandemic; and
    • Provide an opportunity to for community officials, responders and stakeholders to discuss, develop and improve local response plans.

8. The Illinois Department of Public Health has informed and engaged a broad spectrum of stakeholder groups by providing speakers at conferences, workshops, meetings and other forums, including:

  • Illinois Public Health Institute Conference (Oct. 5, 2005)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health Paul Q. Peterson Grand Rounds Lecture (Oct. 27, 2005)
  • Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators General Membership Meeting (Dec. 15, 2005)
  • Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium Meeting (Dec. 22, 2005)
  • Illinois Public Health Association 65th Annual Meeting (April 24, 2006)
  • McDonough County Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Summit (May 5, 2006)
  • The 2006 Annual Communicable Disease and Immunization Conference (June 13, 2006)
  • Third Annual Mid-America Public Health Summer Institute (June 28, 2006)
  • Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Office Staff Essentials Seminar (July 21, 2006)
  • 2006 Illinois Bioterrorism Summit (Aug. 7, 2006)
  • Chicago Travel Industry Representatives Meeting (Aug. 22, 2006)
  • Chicago Area Immunization Campaign Fall General Meeting (Sept. 8, 2006)
  • Advocate Labs Continuing Education Program (Sept. 19, 2006)
  • 2006 Refugee and Immigrant Conference (Sept. 20, 2006)
  • Tri-State Point-of-Care Network Meeting (Oct. 4, 2006)
  • Business Disaster Planning and Emergency Preparedness Panel Discussion at Harper College (Oct. 13, 2006)