COVID-19 ECC Resources

Working Together
So Others Don’t Have To Go It Alone

Message from OPCD Executive Director Morris

As the city of New Orleans continues to respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Orleans Parish Communication District leadership has been in near constant communication with leadership from other Emergency Communications Centers across the country in an effort to share knowledge and resources. To more easily and efficiently share the information that has most benefitted OPCD over these past weeks, our team has developed a timeline of events as they have occurred, complete with descriptions of actions taken and links to resources used during this time.

As we all know, the free sharing of useful information between Emergency Communications Centers is a key determining factor in our overall success, not only as an industry, but as a country that finds itself in a dire time of need. With that in mind, we will continue to update the timeline below on a regular basis in hopes that it will help leadership in Emergency Communications Centers, near and far,  make more informed and timely decisions during this time of crisis.

Current Operating Status: Level 1
Current Emergency Response Status: Pandemic Level 1

View OPCD Emergency Staffing SOP
Orleans Parish Communication District
COVID-19 Timeline
  • February 5, 2020

    Issuance of Directive 20-01

    In response to global COVID-19 outbreak, OPCD Executive Director, Tyrell Morris, issued the Precautionary Emergency Directive, 20-01, providing guidance to OPCD Emergency Communication Specialists to triage medical calls for service to ensure patients and first responders maintain an optimal level of situational awareness and take the necessary universal precautions. This is not unusual as this tool is often used at the beginning of normal flu-season.

    View Emergency Directive 20-01

  • March 6, 2020

    Mayor Cantrell's COVID-19 Tabletop Session

    OPCD leadership joined City of New Orleans Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, and other public health and safety officials, and private sector partners in condecting a COVID-19 preparedness exercise, testing response plans in the event of an outbreak in New Orleans.

    The tabletop exercise, coordinated by the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD), challenged participants to walk through a variety of scenarios in which COVID-19 spreads in New Orleans. For each scenario local, state, federal officials and stakeholders in the healthcare, education, and hospitality communities discussed their response plans.

  • March 9, 2020

    First Presumptive-Positive / Issuance of OPCD Emergency Directive 20-02

    On Monday, March 9, 2020, Louisiana diagnosed the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 within the state. The patient was a Jefferson Parish resident who was hospitalized in Orleans.

    After consultation with our public safety partners, OPCD Executive Director, Tyrell Morris, activated OPCD Emergency Directive 20-02 – Activation of Protocol 36: Pandemic/Epidemic/Outbreak Triage.

    View Emergency Directive 20-02

  • March 10, 2020

    Two More Diagnosed

    The Louisiana Department of Health announced two additional presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to three cases in Orleans Parish.

  • March 11, 2020

    EOC and JIC Activation

    Upon the diagnosis of three total presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Orleans Parish, Governor John Bell Edwards, declares a state of emergency for Louisiana. Mayor Cantrell also declares a state of emergency for the City of New Orleans.

    The city of New Orleans also activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Joint Information Center(JIC), lead by New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and the New Orleans Health Department.

    The OPCD public information team, along with a wide variety of other city public information teams were called upon to participate in these activations in an effort to provide the citizens of New Orleans with strong, unified messaging throughout the duration of the outbreak.

    The JIC has continued to be active throughout the duration of the outbreak, supplying much needed information guidance to business owners, residents and visitors in New Orleans.

    View OPCD Public Engagement Resources

  • March 12, 2020 (Through Duration)

    NOLA-311 Adds Services for New Needs

    As COVID-19 spreads, so do the needs of New Orleans residents. From ensuring illegal evictions do not take place, to reporting businesses not adhering to Mayor Cantrell’s proclamations, to requesting hot meal deliveries for elderly and home-bound citizens, NOLA-311 continues to add and provide services to the people of New Orleans, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    View New Services Social Media Graphic

  • March 13, 2020

    Issuance of Special Guidance - Pandemic Level 1 / Level 2 Staffing / Carbyne C-Lite

    There are now 23 presumptive-positive cases in New Orleans, with clear indication of community spread.

    OPCD begins checking temperature of employees as they enter OPCD facilities.

    In consultation with the leadership of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, OPCD Leadership raised the pandemic level of COVID-19 to Pandemic Level 1. Through this guidance, OPCD Emergency Medical Dispatchers are instructed to place callers with possible COVID-19 into low triage when using Protocol 36 in compliance with Emergency Directive 20-02.

    View Special Guidance – Pandemic Level 1

    Members of the Carbyne public safety team provides OPCD with c-Lite software that allows call-takers to view the location of 9-1-1 callers, which provides first responders more accurate locations of callers in need. The software also allows paramedics stationed at OPCD to place video calls with residents to track their symptoms and movements without added risk of exposure to first responders in the field.

    View OPCD SOP 2.15 – Use of c-Lite Platform

  • March 15 & 19, 2020

    Calls Placed with ECC Leadership

    On March 15 & 19, 2020, OPCD leadership joined with the Louisiana Chapters of APCO and NENA and leadership from other Emergency Communications Centers across the state to share information and discuss strategy for the growing COVID-19 crisis.

  • March 18, 2020

    Families First Coronavirus Response (FFCRA) Act Signed Into Law

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding, was signed into law.

  • March 21, 2020

    OPCD Leadership Provides Guidance to Louisiana ECC Leadership

    Based on the discussions held on March 15 & 19, 2020, OPCD leadership provided the following technical guidance to ECC leadership across the state of Louisiana:

    Many of us are dealing directly with the impacts of COVID-19.  At this moment Louisiana has 763 positive cases with 20 deaths across 35 of the 64 parishes.  This situation is rapidly developing and we all should take the precautions to protect the critical operational infrastructure to keep our centers operational.

    1. Here are a few recommendations:
      • Remind all staff to practice good hygiene which includes frequent hand washing and do not touch their face.
      • Allow for social distancing at work (6-8 ft).  Consider your console spacing to allow for this.
      • Staff that are showing symptoms (fever, cough, labored breathing) should not be permitted to work.
      • Consider conducting temperature checks of all staff at the beginning of their shift.  Those who have an elevated temperature should not be permitted to work.  We are beginning to see our first cases of 9-1-1 centers being shut down due to exposed employees allowed to work and potential spreading the virus to others at the center.
      • Consider your back-up staffing plans in the event the virus hits your center and it is ordered to close.
      • For those agencies that do Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), consider doing voice/video triage for flu-like symptoms if possible to prevent EMS personnel from being exposed unless it is absolutely necessary.
    1. Attached is a map of the state and the 9-1-1 tandems by region.  Consider who in your region can take your calls in the event your center goes down due to staff shortages.
    2. Also attached is the latest roster of 9-1-1 directors in the state.  If this information needs to be updated, use the link below to update it.  These updates will reflect on the document in real time.  911 DIRECTORS LIST FOR STATE.xlsx
    3. Every PSAP should have access to your regional channel on the LWIN system.  This is the fail safe system for another PSAP or GOHSEP to reach you should they need to.  If you have any questions about this functionality, please contact Travis Johnson at GOHSEP ([email protected]).
    4. We have developed a cloud based call intake application that is available to any PSAP in the state should you need it.  This will allow you to see in real time what calls are taken at another PSAP for your agency.  Attached is the information that will be collected.  Although the alternative PSAP may be able to take your calls and collect the information, they will rely on the LWIN radio system to get that information back to your first responder agencies to send help.  Consider who will staff this radio and where.  It may be your EOC or at a back-up location.

    The Louisiana chapters of both APCO and NENA are monitoring this situation closely and will provide updates as they become available.  Any PSAP that needs technical assistance or guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out.

    View the Incoming Calls For Service/Director List and the Louisiana Tandem Map

  • March 24, 2020

    Louisiana GOHSEP Provides CDC COVID-19 Guidance to ECC Leadership

    The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security provided the following guidance:

    Please see attached link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for COVID-19 in the United States page:

    This guidance applies to all first responders, including law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, and emergency management officials, who anticipate close contact with persons with confirmed or possible COVID-19 in the course of their work.

    This link, along with other COVID19 information, has been posted on the SIEC newsletter page, which is transitioning into a “newsfeed” page in order to provide critical information in real time (without flooding your email).

    Please bookmark the link as we will update daily/weekly as appropriate, and pass along any information you would like to be reviewed for inclusion on the SIEC newsfeed page to [email protected]

  • March 26, 2020

    OPCD Launches TXT29-1-1 and Smart911 Technology

    OPCD, in conjunction with the City of New Orleans, announced the launch of TXT29-1-1 services by Intrado Life and Safety, and Rave Mobile Safety Smart911 technology in Orleans Parish.

    OPCD’s adoption of TXT29-1-1 and Smart911 is designed to provide residents and visitors of New Orleans with more opportunities to connect and share information with first responders during emergency events, especially as efforts from city officials to respond to the spread of the coronavirus continue.

    View the Launch Press Release

    View the Launch Video

    View the Launch Video Transcript

  • March 27, 2020

    CARES Act Signed Into Law

    The CARES Act, a historic $2 trillion stimulus package, was signed into law to help the American public and the US economy fight the devastating spread of Covid-19.

  • March 30, 2020

    Issuance of OPCD Guidance in Response to the FFCRA and COVID-19

    OPCD Leadership issues OPCD Guidance in Response to the FFCRA and COVID-19 to employees.

    View Guidance Memorandum

  • April 3, 2020

    Issuance of Emergency Directive 20-03

    In an effort to protect OPCD staff from COVID-19 while on campus, OPCD leadership issued Emergency Directive 20-03. This directive limits the ability of staff members to leave campus during a scheduled shift, in turn, limiting the possibility of staff members spreading COVID-19 to other coworkers during shifts.  Access to visitor on OPCD campus have also been limited to essential business, only.

    View Emergency Directive 20-03

  • April 6, 2020

    Launch of OPCD Tactical Dispatch Team

    GOHSEP and the Louisiana Department of Health temporarily utilize the Morial Convention Center as a Medical Monitoring Facility for patients recovering from COVID-19.  To support this operation, OPCD deploys its inaugural Tactical Dispatch Team.  All individuals have been hand-picked and we have full confidence that you all will SHOWUP for the call of duty during this time of disaster. Two emergency communications specialist per shift were assigned to the tactical dispatch team during this operations, and their primary function is to provide service to the emergency resources located at the MCCNO in the event of an emergency.

  • April 14, 2020

    Issuance of Directive 20-04

    In an effort to ensure a swift and coordinated response to reports of illegal evictions, OPCD leadership has issued Directive 20-04 will route these reports to the Constables that service Orleans Parish for immediate response. The New Orleans Police Department will provide support to the agents of the Constables office should the need arise.

    View Emergency Directive 20-04

  • April 26, 2020

    Suspension of Level 2 Staffing/ Recall of Tactical Dispatch Team

    Due to successful efforts to flatten the curve in New Orleans, effective Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 0700 hours, Level 2 staffing was suspended by OPCD leadership and staffing was returned to Level 1.

    In addition, OPCD recalled the deployed Tactical Dispatch Team which acted in support of GOHSEP and the Louisiana Department of Health temporary utilization of the Morial Convention Center as a Medical Monitoring Facility for patients recovering from COVID-19.

  • May 4, 2020

    Issuance of Special Guidance - Pandemic Level 0

    After consultation with the OPCD Medical Director and leadership from New Orleans EMS, at 0600hrs OPCD officially lowered the pandemic level to zero (0) which took the agency back to the surveillance level.  This returns all EMS response levels to normal operations and eliminates the video triage of patients. OPCD continues to closely monitor the situation and will make adjustments accordingly.

    View Special Guidance – Pandemic Level 0

  • July 1, 2020

    Issuance of Directive 20-05

    As the City of New Orleans responds to the impacts of COVID-19 and under the authority of an emergency declaration issued by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, face coverings are required for everyone while in public. To further protect the OPCD staff and visitors from potential exposure to COVID-19, OPCD leadership has issued Directive 20-05, requiring face coverings to be worn by OPCD staff and visitors while inside of OPCD buildings except when the wearing of a mask will interfere with the execution of emergency communication duties.

    View Emergency Directive 20-05

  • August 2, 2021

    Issuance of Directive 21-01

    In consultation with the OPCD Medical Director and the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch, OPCD shall activate the use of Protocol 36: Pandemic/Epidemic/Outbreak Triage-LEVEL 1. This will allow the certified emergency medical dispatchers to properly triage calls for service and give the responding agencies an opportunity to adjust their response plans and resource allocation if needed. 

    View Emergency Directive 21-01

  • October 29, 2021

    Termination of Directive 20-05

    Based upon the decisions made by Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Cantrell on the week of October 25, 2021, OPCD leadership formally terminated Emergency Directive 20-05 Face Covering Requirement effective at 0700hrs on Friday, October 29th.

    View Emergency Directive 20-05

  • March 31, 2022

    Deactivation of Directive 20-02

    Based on the consultation of OPCD Medical Director, Dr. Meg Marino, Executive Director Tyrell Morris has formally deactivated Emergency Directive 20-02 at 1300hrs on Thursday, March 31st.


Upcoming COVID-19 Educational Events:

WEBINAR: #FlatteningTheCurve – Lessons Learned During COVID-19 & the Future of Public Safety
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 11:00 a.m. Central Time |View Webinar Recording

  • Join us for this half-day event discussing COVID-19 public safety response. Visit for full schedule of speakers.
  • Speakers:
    • Tyrell Morris, MBA CPE, Executive Director, New Orleans 9-1-1

WEBINAR: New Orleans 911 Scales COVID-19 Response with Quick Base
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. Central Time |View Webinar Recording

  • Join us for a 30-minute fireside chat with Tyrell Morris, Executive Director of New Orleans 911. With Quick Base, Morris’ team is able to track incidents in real-time, provide visibility to leadership through dashboard reports, and help their community share information.
  • Speakers:
    • Tyrell Morris, MBA CPE, Executive Director, New Orleans 9-1-1

WEBINAR: Paramedic Chiefs of Canada – COVID-19 Webinar: National Conversation (Part 3)
Thursday, April 9, 2020 | 12:30 p.m. Central Time | View Webinar Recording

  • Join us for this next installment for more discussions on Patient Management including IAED Protocol 36 and other topics. Representatives from agencies using Protocol 36 in both level 0 – surveillance mode (Snohomish County, Washington) and level 1 (New Orleans, Louisiana).
  • Speakers:
    • Facilitators:
      – Kyle Sereda
      – Webinar facilitation and FirstWatch SitRep: Todd Stout
    • Guest Facilitator:
      Darren Sandbeck, Senior Provincial Director & Chief Paramedic, Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services
    • Advisors:
      Silvia Verdugo, MD, MPH, Medical Director – FirstWatch
      Pam Farber, RN, EMT-P, Public Health Advisor – FirstWatch
    • Invited Panel (expected to attend, but COVID-19 and other issues could take precedence):
      Tyrell Morris, MBA CPE, Executive Director, New Orleans 9-1-1
      Terry Peterson, Deputy Director, Snohomish County 911
      Greg Scott, IAED

WEBINAR: COVID-19: Public Safety Leaders Virtual Panel Discussion
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. Central Time | View Webinar Recording

  • Hear from public safety leaders on how their organizations are responding to COVID-19. Discussion topics include continuity of operations planning, lessons learned, workforce optimization considerations, and communications strategies. An audience Q&A will also be included.
  • Panel leaders include:
    • Tyrell Morris, Executive Director, Orleans Parish Communications District
    • Scott Brillman, Captain, 911 Director, City of Baltimore
    • Jim Lake, Director, Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Center, SC
    • Chuck Spalding, NG9-1-1 Director, Palm Beach County, FL
    • Christy Williams, Director, North Central Texas 9-1-1, TX
    • Moderator: Glenn Bischoff, Content Writer, Mission Critical Partners

WEBINAR: COVID-19 Q&A with 9-1-1 Center Leaders (Hosted by APCO International and NICE Public Safety)
Saturday, April 3, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. Central Time | View Webinar Recording

  • Emergency communication centers are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic and are dealing with unprecedented challenges. There is no hard, fast playbook, and that makes information sharing more important than ever. We invite you to attend this brief interactive Q&A session with 9-1-1 center Leaders from San Francisco Dept. of Emergency Services, City of New Orleans Parish Communication District and Miami-Dade Police Department. You’ll hear about their journeys and what steps they’re taking to protect telecommunicators and help them deal with added stress, how they’re coping with higher call volumes, what protocols and screening questions they’re using, what has worked and what hasn’t, and what they’re planning next. This will be an interactive Q&A and information sharing session, so please submit your questions ahead of time to [email protected].
  • Panel leaders include:
    • Tyrell Morris, Executive Director, Orleans Parish Communications District
    • Deborah (Dee Dee) Wesolowski, Police Communications Coordinator, Miami Dade County
    • Robert Smuts, Deputy Director, Department of Emergency Management, City and County of San Francisco

WEBINAR: 9-1-1 Leadership Webinar: Response to COVID-19
Saturday, March 28, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. Central Time | View Webinar Recording

  • 9-1-1 center leaders from across the country will discuss steps taken to respond to COVID-19.
  • Panel leaders include:
    • Tyrell Morris, Executive Director, Orleans Parish Communications District
    • Karima Holmes, Director, Office of Unified Communications DC Metro 911/311
    • Hope Downs, Director, New Hanover County (NC) 9-1-1
    • Shinar Haynes, Executive Director, Tarrant Country 9-1-1 Communications District
    • Many more…

Updates will be made to this timeline as events unfold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please check back regularly for the latest information.

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