BREMERTON, Wash. —
For more than 10 weeks, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility has been adapting and exploring new strategies to support its workforce and the local community during the COVID-19 pandemic. From developing and manufacturing hand sanitizer, to supplying thousands of face masks to its employees and local first responders, the shipyard has worked around the clock to maximize its mission while taking numerous measures to minimize the spread of the virus.
In mid-March Elizabeth Klute, director, Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management reached out to Bruce Bordenick, executive director of radiological control, PSNS & IMF, to request one of his employees, Malynda Green, emergency management specialist, provide temporary support to the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center.
“When the Kitsap County EOC was activated for the COVID-19 pandemic, we had an immediate need for a person to lead health and medical coordination for the Emergency Support Function 8 branch,” said Klute. “The Health District was unable to staff the ESF 8 branch due to competing priorities so I reached out to the Navy for support of civil authorities to see if Malynda Green could assist.”
Prior to her employment at the shipyard, Green worked as a partner to EOC under ESF 8, which allows for support of all health and medical needs within Kitsap County. Her specialized skill set made her a valuable asset to the community.
“I was given my assignment to report into the EOC on March 16,” said Green. “I was fortunate to have supportive leadership who were always making sure I had what I needed to continue the partnership.”
Prior to her employment at the shipyard, Green worked for Harrison Medical Center for 28 years before transferring to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Once assigned to the EOC, Green became Kitsap County’s ESF 8 branch director, community-based testing site manager and COVID-19 Outbreak Task Force unit leader.
Green holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management, and is also a Kitsap County Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) volunteer through Kitsap Department of Emergency Management.
“Over the course of two months I have worked with a variety of organizations and personnel,” said Green.
“When at the testing site, we had a Public Health Service Officer, WA National Guard, Kitsap CERT Team, Volunteer Medical Disaster Teams along with Command Staff to run the site.”
As testing site manager Green tracked local hospital census reporting, organized and oversaw the conduct of the community-based testing site, and developed a congregate living facility outbreak response plan to include updating standard operating procedures.
At the testing site, the support team had to sanitize their hands, undergo temperature checks, report daily self-health assessments and adhere to social distancing. The medical and national guard staff conducting the tests were in full personal protective equipment at all times. The EOC shares a space with Kitsap 911 and in an effort to keep dispatchers and first responders safe, Green and her team implemented telework and rotated manning at the testing site. They employed file sharing, virtual chats and teleconferencing using Microsoft Teams to stay connected.
“Malynda was asked expand on her ESF 8 Duties and take on the role of establishing a Community Based Testing Site in a very short time frame,” said Doug Blangsted, deputy of operations, Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management COVID-19 response. “Setting up a CBTS requires a tremendous amount of organizational ability, even when you're not doing it in a compressed time frame. I was fortunate to be able to work with Malynda as we coordinated getting the site up and running. Her abilities along with her knowledge and experiences with the processes were outstanding. I really don't feel we could have accomplished the mission without her. I would jump at the chance to work with her again.”
Pandemic and emergency response plans are not unfamiliar to Green, who was part of the Ebola and measles outbreak emergency response teams. Once the Kitsap testing site was established and procedures implemented, the new site tested 306 people over the course of seven days of testing.
“There are so many people working in the shipyard, county, hospital and public health to respond to COVID-19 to keep us as safe as possible,” said Green. “I think that all of the emergency operations that are occurring all over the county are similar to the mission of our shipyard commander, that we have a mission to strive for but we do it for people always. I responded for my community, my peers and for my friends and family. To be able to put efforts and my background to serve my community is what it was all about. During the response I made lifelong friends and ones I would gladly serve with without any hesitation if the opportunity arose again.”
Green has returned to her position at the shipyard but is committed to the continuation of community support and brining her learnings to the command.
“Malynda did a tremendous job as part of the County EOC,” said Klute. “She built the infrastructure for the ESF 8 branch, which was critical. Malynda’s leadership and commitment related to the drive-through CBTS was phenomenal. Her contributions were instrumental in the testing of over 800 Kitsap County residents. The efforts were unprecedented and she deftly led a team of community volunteers, county employees, Health District employees and National Guard personnel. Malynda laid the foundation for the EOC’s work regarding preparations for a potential COVID-19 outbreak at a congregate living facility. Malynda will be missed by the EOC team, her contributions will continue to live on!”