Commonwealth of Virginia Pandemic Influenza Plan


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

  • Pandemic Influenza Plan Annex Volume VI
  • 82 pages
  • May 2009


The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Pandemic Influenza Plan addresses the Commonwealth’s response to and recovery from a pandemic influenza in a comprehensive and coordinated manner to ensure essential services across all sectors of state government can be maintained throughout the event period, which may last as long as 18-24 months. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) developed an Influenza Pandemic Plan (Health Component) in 2002, which was subsequently updated in 2006 and 2007. The VDH plan defines the health role in response to a pandemic influenza and provides planning guidance for local health departments, as well as healthcare and private-sector partners. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) coordinated the development of this non-health Pandemic
Influenza Plan. This plan will be continuously updated and revised as new guidance becomes available.


To develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to a pandemic influenza (Pan Flu) that will mitigate the health, public safety, social, and economic impacts in the public and private sectors
throughout the Commonwealth.


A. Pre-event planning is critical to ensure a prompt and effective response to a pandemic influenza, as its spread will be rapid, reoccurring (in multiple waves), and difficult to stop once it begins.

B. A pandemic disease outbreak may precipitate infection rates exceeding 25 percent in an affected population, with projected mortality rates as high as 2 percent among those infected.

C. Workforce absenteeism may rise as high as 40 percent at the height of a given pandemic wave for periods of about two weeks.

D. All operations and services within the public and private sector will be compromised in varying degrees throughout the response and recovery phases; however, proper planning and adequate resources may sustain essential operations/services and mitigate the effects of the event across all sectors (e.g., government, education, health, commerce and trade, critical infrastructure, etc.)

E. Due to the universal susceptibility of the public to an influenza virus and the anticipated pervasive impact on all segments of society, the majority of the medical and non-medical consequences of the event will be addressed by the public and private sectors in the context of the existing emergency management framework, supporting infrastructure, available resources, and associated supply chains with marginal support from new or external parties.

F. Although technical assistance and support will be available through the federal government prior to, during, and following the event period, it will be limited in contrast to other natural and man-made events that impact a specific geographic area in a more defined, shorter, and nonrecurring timeframe.

G. A comprehensive and integrated strategy will require the involvement of all levels of government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and citizens.

H. At the state level, the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP), which is in compliance with the National Response Framework (NRF) and the National
Incident Management System (NIMS), will provide the framework to coordinate response and recovery operations and associated support to address the consequences of a pandemic disease outbreak.

I. Pan Flu planning is inherent in continuity of operations and business planning initiatives in the public and private sectors. It focuses on implementing strategies and tools required to adapt to an environment where there is a reduced capacity to sustain essential operations, services, resource support, and critical infrastructure due to increased illness and death rates. J. Although the Commonwealth is in the process of developing an inventory of antivirals adequate enough to treat the projected population that may be affected, there will be a significant and sustained increase in demand for medical services during each wave that will overwhelm the healthcare system and compromise the overall standard of care provided.

K. Vaccines will not be available for approximately six months following identification of the virus and will be in limited quantities when made available, necessitating the need to develop and implement a distribution plan.

L. Local and regional health infrastructure and associated resources will be quickly committed to providing the necessary treatment and supporting strategies to effectively respond to a potentially developing or actual event.

M. Non-pharmaceutical interventions, if applied in a timely manner, will play a significant role in mitigating the impacts of the disease at the local and state level.

N. Telecommunications connectivity may be limited.


Through guidance from the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness (OCP) continuity planning program, VDEM created a Pandemic Influenza Annex to its pre-existing continuity of operations (COOP) plan guidance. This annex can be used by state agencies, institutions of higher education or local governments.


The VDEM website includes links to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide the necessary information and guidance to citizens regarding what they need to do to be prepared in the event of a pandemic influenza.

The website also provides information on a variety of programs that citizens can become a part of to support community preparedness and response activities. Some of these include: the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Neighborhood Watch Program, Public Safety Volunteers in Virginia, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Fire Corps, and Volunteers in Police Service.


Emergency public information in an influenza pandemic will be handled through Emergency Support Function (ESF) 15: External Affairs – as in any other disaster event. The public information mission includes: making the public aware of potential emergency situations and appropriate protective actions; keeping the public informed about an ongoing emergency or disaster situation, and providing protective action guidance as appropriate; keeping public officials—including elected officials—informed of the processes of coordinating the response to and facilitating the recovery from emergencies and disasters.

Powers and duties of Governor (44-146.17)

In addition to all authorities vested in the Governor of Virginia during a declared emergency or disaster, specifically:

• Such executive orders declaring a state of emergency may address exceptional circumstances that exist relating to an order of quarantine or an order of isolation concerning a communicable disease of public health threat that is issued by the State Health Commissioner for an affected area of the Commonwealth pursuant to Article 3.02 (§ 32.1-48.05 et seq.) of Chapter 2 of Title 32.1.

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