Governor Paterson Activates Health Emergency Preparedness Plan; Puts State on "High Alert" for Swine Flu
Eight Confirmed Cases in New York City; Suffolk County Specimens Test Negative
April 26, 2009
Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he has activated New York State's health emergency preparedness plan, and put the State on high alert to quickly identify and respond to any cases of swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed eight cases of a new strain of influenza (swine flu H1N1) in New York City, and has declared a public health emergency. As a course of normal operating procedure during events such as this, it is common, and welcomed, for the CDC to make a declaration of public health emergency. This enables the State and localities to receive quicker access to vital resources, and other necessary assistance.
New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. said: "We have been preparing for an event such as this for years. We have the finest public health and health care systems and adequate supplies to address swine flu. We are implementing comprehensive plans that have been developed and practiced for many years and will mobilize our stockpiles of medical supplies as needed."
Governor Paterson said that results confirming eight swine flu cases in New York City were expected. "We have been operating on the assumption that the CDC test results would be positive for swine flu and had already activated a strong statewide system to rapidly identify and respond to any additional cases. To date, this system has not identified an increased level of influenza activity, although the outbreak is still in the early stages," continued Governor Paterson.
"Today I am also pleased to announce that the DOH's Wadsworth Center laboratory is reporting that testing for swine flu on eight samples from Suffolk County, including one sample from a student in the Amityville school district and seven samples from Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, were negative for any type of influenza," said Governor Paterson.
Governor Paterson said the State coordinates its response in part through New York's web-based Health Alert Network (HAN) to communicate and coordinate disease monitoring activity, laboratory testing, and health care response with county health departments, hospitals and other health care providers. An advisory issued through the HAN Saturday evening was sent to 25,000 recipients. In addition, the State is taking other actions, including:
DOH, in coordination with local health departments and health care providers, is monitoring hospital emergency department visits for respiratory illness and monitoring volume of Medicaid prescriptions for influenza antiviral medications to quickly identify any increased influenza activity. Currently, no increased level of activity has been identified.
The public can obtain more information about swine flu and precautionary measures at DOH's web site at www.nyhealth.gov.
This article was provided by New York State Office of the Governor.