John Sheedy

Del Rio Emergency Management Director John Sheedy stands in the briefing room, the nerve center of the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which went to Level 2 activation on Tuesday.

A community hotline was activated Wednesday to address questions and concerns dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Del Rio Emergency Management Director John Sheedy announced Monday during the weekly Val Verde County/City of Del Rio Local Emergency Committee the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located adjacent to the city’s fire station on the grounds of Del Rio International Airport, the city would initiate Level 2 activity at the center on Tuesday.

“Level 2 activation just means that there will be a new focus on community coordination, on utilization of the EOC to process all information, even just to vet and confirm information being released by individual agencies. Sometimes, even the most innocent things, if one of the entities releases something, there may be components that involve one or more of the other entities, so at Level 2, the EOC becomes a clearinghouse for all of our information and our responses, our protocols, to make sure we’re all in lockstep,” Sheedy said.

Sheedy said going to Level 2 will also help make the entities more efficient.

“It will absolutely make us more effective,” Sheedy said Tuesday.

He also said he was happy with the representatives who gathered Monday, including Laughlin Air Force Base 47th Training Wing Commander Col. Lee Gentile, County Judge Lewis Owens, Mayor Bruno Lozano, school district Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carlos Rios, and hospital CEO Linda Walker.

He said Level 2 will also mean daily briefings for the Emergency Operations Center partners.

“It will be a conference call in the morning, so that will give us a chance to start the morning off. That includes our out-of-town partners from the region and the state, and they’ll be able to participate. We’ll talk about what’s new, what the day’s looking like, what everybody’s hearing and what’s changed, and then every body can take those pieces and go their way and work on them,” Sheedy said.

The COVID-19 Community Preparedness Committee will then work on the most pressing issues to present themselves.

“We will work on whatever we can do to progress our community, so if something does happen, something major, something critical, we’re all on the same page,” Sheedy said.

“There will be a log, so if you call in asking about, say, a school assignment, and, again, we’re not trying to take over anybody else’s place, but we’re trying to help them by capturing information for them, so then we can tell the school, ‘There’s confusion about an issue,’ or to the city, ‘There’s confusion about this issue,’ or to the hospital, ‘People don’t understand this process,’” Sheedy said.

He said the call center will be equipped with flow charts that will enable operators to provide callers with information.

“Each call taker will also keep track of each call and what it was related to,” Sheedy said.

Level 2 will also mean the EOC will be staffed during the day.

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