On Sunday, May 6, U.S. Postal Service volunteers will make an unusual delivery in selected Twin Cities’ neighborhoods: an empty pill bottle at each residential mailing address.
The event is part of “Operation Medicine Delivery,” a test designed to see how fast postal teams can deliver medicine to homes in a public health emergency. Agencies involved in the test include the U.S. Department o f Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), local public health, law enforcement and emergency management.
“The May 6 event is only a test,” said Rina McManus, Director of Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health. “We have no reason to believe an emergency is imminent.” Government agencies will test the Postal Plan, which is one part of the federal Cities Readiness Initiative to help communities prepare for various public health emergencies. For example, if there were a bioterrorist attack using anthrax, people would need to get started on antibiotics with 48 hours. “Local public health agencies would set up special clinics to get people medicine,” explained McManus. “But we may also use postal delivery to quickly distribute medi- cine and to take some of the pressure off the clinics,” she said.
All Saint Paul and Minneapolis neighborhoods are covered by the Postal Plan, but Operation Medicine Delivery will only test delivery in a few ZIP codes; in District 16/ Summit Hill, just 55102 ZIP code neighborhoods are included.
“People who receive an empty pill bottle won’t need to do anything – just recycle it,” said McManus. More about Operation Medicine Delivery online at www.co.ramsey. mn.us/ph, www.health.state.mn.us/, www.echominnesota.org, or 888.883.8831