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Public Health Crisis Application Highlights
Good News Takes to the Air
Radio "Inoculation Stations" inform the incoming at vaccination locations.
UChealth Vaccinations
Above, Dr. Bridget Graney talks to patients about their vaccinations. From RadioWorld's article "Health Officials Deploy TIS for Vaccinations; Low power AM systems prove a useful tool." Mar 17, 2021. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UChealthAn EventCAST radio antenna was positioned on the roof of a nearby parking structure. On the left above is a frequency announcement sign at a clinic. On the right, from atop the Colorado Rockies’ (parking garage), the antenna transmitted inoculation information during UCHealth’s drive-thru COVID clinic at Denver’s Coors Field parking lots in January 2021. The bilingual broadcast was recorded in both English and Spanish. LISTEN.
JANUARY 2021:  Using a designated radio frequency, Adams County Emergency Management Agency reached out to citizens arriving at the County’s drive-thru vaccine distribution site. John Simon, director of Emergency Management and EMS, had selected AM 1620 as the means to get initial info to those queueing up in Quincy, Illinois. Simon stated that the use of radio technology freed staff for other tasks and also ensured that all arrivals received the same, consistent, approved instructions. To encourage people to get the shot, the County wanted the experience to be as efficient as possible. “It was about the throughput rate,” said Simon. “That way we could spend less time with each car and ensure everyone received the same information.” Jerrod Welch, Adams County Public Health Administrator added, “The station allowed my staff to focus on the individual patients that were getting their vaccines."

This radio methodology gained traction nationally. One health district in Tennessee planned to run nine different radio signals simultaneously at various points of vaccine distribution (PODs).

Simon’s agency utilized a VoiceStar System that incorporated an integral changeable message sign to direct those in the line to the 1620 frequency. The same methodology was deployed by agencies in Birmingham, Alabama, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Worcester County, Maryland. Other agencies employed radio systems in weatherproof cases (InfOspot and RadioSTAT) that could be transported to a site and deployed, along with quick-erect signage.

The InfOspot system design was based on an idea submitted by Hennepin County, Minnesota, emergency officials. Central Valley Health District in North Dakota was first in line for the initial production model in 2020. Prior to the introduction of COVID vaccines, safety officials utilized the radio systems at virus testing sites.

The last week in January 2021, Denver’s Coors Field parking lots hosted 10,000 drivers who arrived for in-car vaccination. UChealth transmitted bilingual instructions and directions on 1630 KHz from atop the Colorado Rockies’ parking garage under a special emergency temporary license obtained by the Denver Police Department. (Listen to the broadcast.) SCL Health replicated the event a mile to the northeast at the National Western Complex just off I-70 on two dates in February and March 2021.
CSU Installation 
Mass Vaccination Site Highway Advisory Radio Station Antenna atop a California State University, Los Angeles, Building
Installation and Photos by CalOES and Caltrans, March 2021
In March 2021, California's Office of Emergency Services, in conjunction with Caltrans, set up two vaccination stations using EventCAST technology -- one at Oakland on AM 1670 and one in Los Angeles on AM 1680. The English/Spanish presentations give procedural and directional information for arriving motorists at the drive-thru events.

Touchstone characteristics of these products remain portability and simplicity. Each radio system can be moved as needed and thus become an asset that can be shared with other jurisdictions. The audio program can be controlled via network, by flash drive/USB or by live microphone/override, depending on how the system is optioned.

RadioSTAT, EventCAST and VoiceStar products are licensed under FCC Part 90 and have a 3-5 mile radius of coverage. The InfOspot system operates under FCC Part 15 rules and requires no license. It is adept at parking-lot sized coverage – up to 1/4 mile.
Radio informs those lined up at the Spokes of Hope
food distribution destination in South Carolina.  Photo Courtesy of Spokes of Hope Ministry
Banking on Radio to Help the Hurting
JANUARY 2021:  The InfOspot system was also discovered by emergency distribution agencies such as Spokes of Hope in Little River, South Carolina, where locals often lined up for miles to receive food and life-essentials. This nonprofit was instrumental in providing local assistance after Hurricane Florence flooded the homes of hundreds in the vicinity.

And churches such as Purpose Life Church in Springfield, Tennessee, added radio to their distribution operations, as well.

Says spokesman Chris Harder, “We posted signs informing people to tune to 1630 AM for instructions about how to register and to return to their vehicles until their number was called. Thanks to the radio transmitter, these were the smoothest running food handouts in the Church’s history.”

The Church originally obtained the transmitter to make possible outdoor worship services for people attending in vehicles.
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Safety Radio Stations Go Viral; COVID-19 Test Sites Rely on Radio
JUNE 2020:  Drive-thru virus testing sites in virtually every state employed license-free radio technology to get safety and procedural information to queuing motorists. In New York State, lines snaked for miles approaching sites in Rochester, Albany and Jones Beach. On the other coast, parking lots at Dodger Stadium went into extra innings to accommodate the demand, utilizing radio to inform those arriving for tests.

The three Mount Carmel Hospital campuses in Ohio added similar technology in the Columbus area. Mount Carmel’s system featured portable antenna stands that could be deployed quickly.

The Central Valley Health District in Jamestown, North Dakota, deployed a portable system in a wheeled case with a quick-set-up antenna that they could move from facility to facility as required. Agencies like Central Valley prepared communication strategies for Points of Dispensing (PODs) that were be required after the vaccine became available.
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How Schools, Churches and Others Used Information Radio During Covid 19

See "Dashboard Distancing; Radio Rediscovered as Medium for Pandemic Safety."


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