Robert Miller, Director of Health for The Eastern Highlands Health District, of which Mansfield is a part, has issued the following update [Update 22] on H1N1 surveillance and the distribution of vaccine, as of Oct. 24, 2009.
Greetings Community Stakeholders -
It has been two weeks since my last update, and the health district is fully engaged in responding to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A pandemic. Weekly conference calls with the Connecticut Department of Public Health continue. The health district is conducting its own weekly operational period meetings.
Nationally, visits to doctors for influenza-like-illness (ILI) continued to increase and are now about equal to or higher than what is seen at the peak of many regular flu seasons.
Flu-related hospitalizations and deaths are continuing to go up and are above what is expected for this time of year.
Connecticut is one of only nine states not experiencing widespread influenza activity. That said, in Connecticut almost 6 percent of all hospital emergency room visits are [for] influenza-like-illness [this is greater than the] baseline for this time of year [of] about 3.4 percent. This number is expected to increase.
Locally, two of the 23 schools in our jurisdiction are reporting increased ILI activity above what would be expected for this time of year. We expect more schools to report increased ILI activity in the near term.
We continue to utilize assets of our Local Health Alert Network (LHAN) to get information out to specific community stakeholders. Updated information regarding use of antiviral medication has been sent to area healthcare providers. We also were using our voice reach system to notify area daycare facilities of H1N1 vaccine clinics targeting 2 to 4 year olds.
We continue to update our Web site [www.ehhd.org ] with the latest information on H1N1.
The state of Connecticut Department of Public Health has created a hotline of the general public. The hotline is currently operating from 7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday. The number is 800-830-9426.
We continue to field various questions regarding the surveillance forms and the CDC school guidance from school nurses. Nurses should continue to feel free to call us.
Most of the school districts have expressed interest in supporting a School Located Vaccination (SLV) clinic.
Many schools have reported to us their specific preferences in hosting a clinic.
There is still additional planning and preparedness to be done on this point. Unfortunately, when vaccine will be available for SLV clinics continues to be uncertain. Please keep in mind that this is a dynamic situation. I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work to get you the latest information available to us.
The State DPH was anticipating approximately 500,000 available doses by this time. The actual number is closer to 100,000.
The consequence is that the subset of the CDC priority groups continues to be the focus of both public and private providers statewide. This subset includes
- children 6 months to 4 years old,
- caregivers/household contacts of children under 6 months,
- pregnant women,
- children 6 to 18 with underlying health conditions,
- and healthcare/EMS personnel.
For our part, the health district has reached out to approximately 8,000 individuals that fall within these subsets.
We conducted our first clinic on Oct. 16, targeting 2 to 4 year olds, and caregivers of children less than 6 months and immunized 42 individuals.
We held an additional clinic on Oct. 24, for which [at least] 200 individuals pre-registered.
As we now have the correct vaccine on hand, these next two clinics [were] opened up to a broader subset within the priority groups.
Our Web site [www.ehhd.org ] should be checked frequently for updates on scheduled clinics, the priority groups they are targeting, and instructions on how to pre-register.
Because these initial clinics are targeting a subset of the priority groups, we are constantly seeking methods to get the word out to those eligible for vaccine. Consequently, we may call on some of you, our community partners that serve this subset in some capacity to help get the word out. When requested by our agency for your support in this regard, any assistance you could provide would be appreciated.
Please continue to refer to our Web site, or the following state and federal websites for the most up-to-date information on H1N1 influenza:
For additional information, contact the Eastern Highlands Health District at 860-429-3325.
Posted Oct. 28, 2009