North Park and CRC Prepare for Possible H1N1 Outbreak

Post a Comment » Written on September 21st, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (September 21, 2009) – North Park University and Covenant Retirement Communities have taken precautions to limit the possibility of the H1N1 virus spreading among their populations.

No outbreaks have been reported at the Covenant institutions.

Although talk of the flu strain seemed to dwindle during the summer months, the back-to-school season brought a resurgence of concern about a potential pandemic, prompting the Center for Disease Control to issue guidelines for prevention for schools and businesses.

The university’s emergency management team had established precautions and procedures long before the academic year began, says Carl Balsam, North Park executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Comprised of members of senior administration and staff, the emergency management team is responsible for responding to crisis situations. This year the team was joined by biology professor Jeff Nelson, who also is a physician specializing in infectious diseases; professor of nursing Linda Duncan; and Director of Health Services Juanita Barrett.

The school disseminated information on the virus through multiple means, ranging from posters displayed on bathroom mirrors to electronic notifications circulated throughout the campus community.

Extra hand sanitizer dispensers were placed in highly trafficked areas such as the Helwig Recreation Center. University officials encouraged anyone with symptoms to avoid class and work settings. The school also has set aside several apartments on campus as quarantine units in the event of a flu outbreak.

Officials with Covenant Retirement Communities say they are as ready as possible for a potential outbreak of H1N1 influenza A or seasonal flu.

The communities make the seasonal flu vaccine available to residents annually. This year, CRC also provided the communities with information on how to contact their local health departments to gain access to the H1N1 vaccine.

Like seasonal flu, H1N1 can vary from mild to severe. Most people recover without needing medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Seasonal flu actually poses more of a threat to senior adults than does H1N1, the CDC reports. “At this time, there are few cases and few deaths reported in people older than 64 years old, which is unusual when compared with seasonal flu.”

Each year, an average of 36,000 people die from flu-related complications, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related causes, according to the CDC. Of those hospitalized, 20,000 are children younger than five years old. More than 90 percent of deaths and about 60 percent of hospitalizations occur in people older than 65.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog