Shawnee Co. restructuring emergency staff

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) -- Shawnee County is restructuring its emergency response staff to better focus on the COVID-19 situation.

Commissioners adopted a resolution for an incident command structure, with Emergency Management Director Dusty Nichols in the lead role.

Planning Section Chief Errin Mahan will become interim Emergency Management Director, overseeing any other disaster response, such as a tornado or flooding.

“We just want to make sure we've got the right people in the right roles we are getting really busy at the health department with contact investigations, isolation and quarantine orders we need to get that work growing so we can hopefully, eventually let people get out of their houses,” Shawnee Co. Health Director Linda Ochs said. “That's how you manage an outbreak.”

Ochs says she will still be the content expert when it comes to COVID-19 and as the spread slows she will return to the incident commander role as appropriate.