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Shawnee Co. begins transferring COVID-19 incident command to Health Dept.

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 2:12 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic soon will operate directly from the Health Dept.

The county’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Team Incident Command Team announced Monday that it will begin transferring command to the Shawnee Co. Health Dept. Early in the pandemic, Shawnee Co. Emergency Mgt. director Dusty Nichols temporarily left that position to take on the COVID-19 incident commander role. Effective Sept. 27, he will step down as incident commander, and Health Dept. Director Teresa Fisher will assume the role.

Nichols will return to Emergency Management. He will continue to consult with the team and assist in planning.

The Incident Command Team is currently staffed by Shawnee Co. and City of Topeka employees. Members have spent the past two months shadowing and mentoring to prepare for the transfer. Most non-Health Dept. employees will transition off the team, but remain as points of contact should it need to re-mobilize.

Health officials anticipate transitioning all team positions by Oct. 28, with responsibilities falling to Fisher and Shawnee Co. Health Officer Dr. Erin Locke. The team itself is set to be re-evaluated Oct. 28 as well, which is the date the local emergency declaration expires.

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