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Fairfax County Health Department’s Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program Team Honored as an Infection Prevention and Control Champion

Mar 29, 2022 | Kimberly Nalley

“Infection prevention and control save lives. Our community is the reason we do what we do, we are fulfilling our Health Department’s mission to protect, promote, and improve quality of life,” said Barbara L. Downes, MS, CIC, Manager, Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program, Division of Epidemiology and Population Health.

Washington, DC, March 29, 2022 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has recognized the Fairfax County Health Department’s Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program team as an Infection Prevention and Control Champion. NACCHO’s Infection Prevention and Control Champion designation recognizes well-versed and respected leaders in the field of infection prevention and control. These individuals work at local health departments and advance infection prevention and control capacity, activities, guidelines, and engagement.

“It’s an honor to be nominated and to receive Infection Prevention and Control Champion recognition. I am incredibly proud of our team, partners and community to see our work over the past five years recognized,” said Barbara L. Downes, MS, CIC, Manager, Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program, Division of Epidemiology and Population Health. “Infection prevention and control save lives. Our community is the reason we do what we do, we are fulfilling our Health Department’s mission to protect, promote, and improve quality of life. Every one of us has a role in infection prevention and control for a healthier, better-informed community. Through partnerships and connections, we are enhancing collaboration and witnessing firsthand the positive outcomes that result from effective infection prevention and control work.”

The Fairfax County Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program team, established in 2017, is responsible for conducting surveillance, disease prevention, and outbreak control for all reportable conditions (except Tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, and rabies), antimicrobial resistance, healthcare-associated infection prevention, and outbreak response.

During the COVID-19 pandemic response, the Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program team’s interactions with healthcare facilities, such as skilled nursing facilities, expanded to include surveillance and reporting, more frequent site visits with an emphasis on ensuring compliance with mitigation measures, assessment of personal protective equipment use and other infection prevention measures, outbreak investigations, and testing and vaccination support. In addition to onsite communication, they expanded outreach to include monthly webinar meetings with long-term care facility partners to better address COVID-19, healthcare-associated infection prevention, and antimicrobial resistance updates.

“The Fairfax County Acute Communicable and Emerging Diseases Program is a model for building, maintaining, and leveraging partnerships with critical facilities to respond swiftly and effectively to outbreaks, support implementation of infection prevention and control measures, and deliver education to local facilities,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman. She continued, “NACCHO recognizes Fairfax County as an Infection Prevention and Control Champion for their exemplary work with facilities in Fairfax County, along with their commitment to sharing best practices at both the state and national level.”

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About NACCHO
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.


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