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On March 1, 2022, UW Medicine’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) marked the second anniversary of its system-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, UW Medicine has faced three major surges, cared for more than 200 COVID-19 patients at the peak of the omicron surge, administered more than 550,000 doses of vaccines, mobilized resources to reach vulnerable communities, responded to staffing and PPE challenges, and developed hundreds of new policies to provide patient care under rapidly changing circumstances.

To highlight these and other achievements, the EOC has prepared a timeline of key events during the pandemic. EOC leaders also want to acknowledge the tremendous work of everyone who has participated in this response as members of teams, task forces and special projects. In support of the priorities established by UW Medicine’s clinical leadership and infectious diseases experts, their work has spanned a broad range of functions, including planning, operations, finance, information technology systems and logistics. For more information about the EOC’s structure, see Incident Command System 101.

“When the pandemic started, we had no idea that our EOC would be needed two years later, and I am so grateful that our teams continue to rise to every challenge. It has been remarkable to see how everyone has come together and how proud we all are to be part of UW Medicine. The support from all levels of the organization — from the front-line practitioners, support service providers, Shared Services to Leadership — it has been tremendous to see everyone unite toward the common goal of doing all we can to support our patients and community. While we hope to see an end to this pandemic soon, we are now better prepared for any emergency response in the future.” Danica Little, EOC Director

“What an unbelievable 2+ years! The pandemic has challenged all aspects of our lives in unprecedented ways. This is especially true for healthcare workers who have faced COVID not only in the community but also at work. I am so grateful to work with the people who make UW Medicine a great place to work, for the medical-technical experts who provided guidance throughout, and for those who continue to entrust us with their care.” – Dr. John Lynch, Associate Medical Director, Harborview Medical Center

“The EOC program operations team has guided many aspects of UW Medicine’s COVID-19 Emergency Response, including the visitor policy taskforce, volunteer program, staffing strategies, lessons learned, support for exposure notifications and therapeutics, fit testing, and much more. This team has operated seven days a week (many working through holidays and well beyond any semblance of a normal schedule) for two years, and some have done so while still doing their ‘normal’ jobs.” Michelle Gillies, EOC Program Manager

“This past year of the pandemic, more than the first, the operational teams have been challenged at various times with significantly more demand (for testing, therapeutics, vaccines, patient beds, etc.) than we had supply. The teams were flexible and responsive as they adjusted to these factors that were largely out of their control, while maintaining a focus on equity and highest patient need.” Marjorie Parkison, Operations Section Chief

“Although it is no secret that a common goal can unite people, seeing it in action in such a concrete way through the EOC provided a silver lining to the past two years. Not only does it provide a window into how other parts of the organization work, but you also get to know people you would never have known otherwise. All the while, nothing can compare to what the frontline healthcare workers have been doing day in and day out, which is the most commendable.” Robin DeForest, Planning Section Chief

“The past two years have been a whirlwind of activity. IT Services is incredibly proud of the work done in support of the pandemic response, all while successfully launching Destination: 1 (the largest UW Medicine IT project on record) and maintaining regular operations. The work has been exhilarating and exhausting, stretching our creativity and capacity, and yet, we have never felt closer to the mission of UW Medicine.”  Stephanie Klainer, ITS Chief

“In terms or our team challenges — the biggest one was converting to a telework environment — but that was quickly and easily overcome with technology such as Zoom. Now, we have found ourselves to be far more productive and efficient working remotely.” Lisa Hammel, Director, Clinical Risk Management

“Despite global shortages and unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE); UW Medicine has successfully and consistently provided PPE to our staff across our hospitals, ambulatory care settings, Airlift Northwest, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, upper campus, and partnered long-term care facilities.” Erik Walerius, Deputy Logistics Chief

“Throughout the pandemic, our UW Medicine faculty and staff have been available 24/7 to make sure that the public receives accurate COVID-19 information via the media. This has allowed us to position UW Medicine as a local and national leader in our response to the pandemic. We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous amount of teamwork from everyone.” Susan Gregg, Public Information Officer

“It’s not common for an external threat to pose such similar risk to all UW Medicine entities — and for such a long period of time. The challenge was identifying and supporting long-lasting, fast-acting, sustainable and equitable management of the pandemic. Safety representatives from around the system recognized this mission is realized better together.” David Manley, Safety Officer

“Over the last two years, we have been developing structures to support well-being including the creation of the UW Medicine/School of Medicine Well-Being Steering Committee in October 2021. We have developed a group of well-being practitioners across our system as well. Overall, the two years of work have greatly increased our collaboration and identity as a system centered on well-being.”  Anne Browning, Assistant Dean for Well-Being, UW School of Medicine

“We have done so many things we never thought we would over the past two years, and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone at Valley, from the nurses in the COVID patient rooms to the engineers who supported every move we made to adjust for surge, to the leadership who worked in Incident Command leading our response efforts. Though this has been a very difficult road, our organization is stronger because of it!” Debbie Hunt, Emergency Preparedness Manager, Valley Medical Center