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Flu pandemic stats hint at stark reality

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  • Flu pandemic stats hint at stark reality

    Nothing like your local health department telling you...and I quote:
    ?We?re ****ed if we do and ****ed if we don?t,?

    Flu pandemic stats hint at stark reality

    DANVILLE ? No influenza pandemic exists. But the potential for as many as 29,000 cases and 600 deaths in Vermilion County makes current preparation necessary for future survival.

    ?We?re ****ed if we do and ****ed if we don?t,? local health department community relations coordinator Linda Bolton told about 30 people Wednesday. ?So we darn well better start planning.?

    County health officials gathered local representatives from a variety of areas to look for ideas and to discuss a preliminary draft of a pandemic flu plan for Vermilion County.

    Representatives from CRIS Senior Services, Provena United Samaritans Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System joined the afternoon meeting.

    County officials, including Sheriff Pat Hartshorn and Emergency Management Director Bob Huff, also attended.

    Health Department Administrator Steve Laker said the draft is just the first phase of the process and preparations are ?behind the curve.?

    ?This is going to have to be an organic process, a dynamic process that will last for some time,? he said.

    Meeting attendees took away preliminary drafts of the pandemic plan with the request that they return comments and opinions to the health department by June 30. Another meeting will take place in mid- or late July to go over a revised version of the plan.

    The county health department must send its plan to the state by Aug. 1.

    According to the plan?s current draft, Vermilion County could see 12,600 to 29,400 cases of influenza during a pandemic. Hospitalizations could reach 2,500, and people who die as a result of the pandemic could range between 200 and 600.

    Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, who attended the meeting, questioned the planning, noting the state and cities like Danville have spent time preparing for other problems, such as the West Nile virus.

    ?And none of that has really come to a conclusion,? he said. ?So, I?m concerned we?re going to start working on a pandemic before it?s decided there?s no money and there?s not time because we?ve got something new.?

    Laker said this situation isn?t going away.

    ?I?m not trying to make this doom and gloom, people,? he said. ?I?m trying to make this as real as possible.

    ?This is impending.?

    Laker said the country has been at what is considered the third phase of a pandemic for two years. A pandemic is split into six phases, the final being sustained transmission among the general public.