DSHS Public Health Region 2/3 and Tarrant County Public Health - Hurricane Harvey (2017)

In August 2017, PHR 2/3 and Tarrant County Public Health used ESSENCE during Hurricane Harvey response efforts to determine how many evacuees from affected areas were seeking emergency medical care in the region, and what their health needs were after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. If necessary, this information would be used to inform emergency planners, so that they could better prepare for the patient’s particular needs. 

Although the data showed an increase in emergency room visits among patients from hurricane affected areas, it did not raise to the level that would necessitate a public health response. This allowed the focus of resources in other areas, such as surveillance of shelters set up for hurricane evacuees. The visit data from ESSENCE can also be used to predict the health needs of emergency evacuees in future events.