Here’s what our governor has to say this hour about H1N1:
TWO PROBABLE CASES OF H1N1 INFLUENZA REPORTED IN IOWA
DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported two probable cases of H1N1 influenza in the state. The initial testing, performed by the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, is expected to be confirmed tomorrow by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The first case, an adult California resident, came to Iowa late last week. The individual traveled through Scott and Clinton counties. The second case, a southeast Iowa adult female, became ill last week after returning from Mexico. She traveled through Johnson, Des Moines and Muscatine counties.
“I have instructed Director Tom Newton to take the necessary steps to declare a public health disaster in Iowa if these cases are in fact confirmed,” said Governor Culver. “I want to be clear: this is a reasonable, precautionary measure with one goal in mind -keeping Iowans safe.”
A public health disaster declaration gives the state additional flexibility that may be needed to carry out the work of protecting the health of Iowans by allowing for several provisions, including:
• The purchase, storage and distribution of additional antivirals and other medical supplies.
• The deployment of public health response teams to supplement and support overburdened local medical and public health personnel, hospitals and resources.
• The adoption of reasonable measures, as necessary, to prevent the transmission of infectious disease and to ensure that all identified cases are properly controlled and treated.
• Possible isolation of individuals or groups of individuals if necessary.
In addition to preparing a public health disaster declaration, Governor Culver and the Iowa Department of Public Health have taken a number of actions in response to these latest developments:
• The department’s emergency coordination center in the Lucas Building has been activated. If necessary, Governor Culver has given clearance to activating the State Emergency Operations Center.
• IDPH is sharing information regularly with local public health officials, health care providers, other state agencies, and private partners.
• IDPH has received a shipment of federal assets, which included anti-viral medications and personal protective equipment.
“The Iowa Department of Public Health has been working round the clock since last Friday, when the potential for the spread of influenza began to become apparent,” said Tom Newton, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. “Now that we have two probable cases of swine flu in Iowa, it’s especially important to remind Iowans of those prevention messages to help contain the spread of the illness.”
“It’s important to note that both of these cases had recently visited areas where outbreaks of swine flu are occurring,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “However, now that the virus has been introduced in the state, it’s even more important for Iowans to help prevent the spread of the disease.” There are important actions Iowans can take to protect the health of themselves and their family:
• Wash your hands frequently, and always wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your sleeve or elbow.
• If you feel ill, even if you think you could ‘tough it out’ at work, stay home! Don’t send your children to school if they feel ill.
• If you have an illness in which your temperature rises above 100 F, along with other symptoms, including a cough, sore throat, and extreme tiredness, contact your health care provider to be seen and tested in a way that will not endanger the health of others.