The Kodiak Island Emergency Services
Organization and Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Kodiak Emergency
Services Council held a special joint meeting Thursday to discuss
emergency preparedness in the event of swine flu reaching Kodiak.
According to Duane Dvorak, associate
planner with the Kodiak Island Borough's Community Development Department, who
ran the meeting, the gathering was all about communication among various groups
and sharing and disseminating information. Sally Abbott of the Alaska
Department of Health and Social Services, speaking at the meeting by phone,
emphasized that no cases of swine flu have been reported in Alaska, but that it's important to be
prepared nonetheless. She also said people shouldn't be alarmed by the
-- (Abbott 1 32 sec. "In the Lower 48, the cases ... not required hospitalization.")
said that in response to the situation in the Lower 48 and around the world,
DHSS has set up an emergency operations center, focused full-time on monitoring
the virus and informing the public.
-- (Abbott 2 20 sec. "We have people that are ... as to what they should be doing.")
also addressed the issue of when it would be appropriate to consider taking
measures such as closing schools and other community organizations and cancelling
-- (Abbott 3 40 sec. "It's a very important decision
... when to pull the trigger.")
said that Kodiak has a very small stockpile of antiviral medications, such as
Tamiflu, which have proven most effective in treating patients who contract the
virus. She said more is on the way, most likely by early next week. She also
emphasized that there is as yet no vaccine for swine flu.
Smith, chief of staff and ER physician at Providence Kodiak Island
said patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms at the hospital have been asked to
wear masks. He said the hospital does not currently have rapid tests for
swine flu, only for influenza A and B, and that any positive cultures are being
sent to the state for testing. Smith also
said the hospital has a contingency plan in the event of an outbreak.
-- (Smith 1 40 sec. "Hopefully we won't get to ... other areas if we need to.")
referred to the Kodiak Pandemic Influenza Annex, a plan adopted by the borough
in January, as Kodiak's primary source of guidance as the situation evolves. He
also proposed a series of such multi-organization meetings and creation of a
joint information committee to monitor and report on any developments.
-- (Dvorak 1 45 sec. "This is our playbook ... message that we send to the public.")
Also attending the
joint meeting were representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Kodiak
Area Native Association. As of Thursday morning, the World Health Organization
was reporting 257 confirmed H1N1 infections in 11 countries. According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 109 cases have been confirmed in 11 states
in the U.S.
with one death. I'm Erik Wander.