Saturday, May 2, 2009

Metro Prepares for Flu Outbreak -John Dunn

Fox TV Nashville leaders are warning people not to panic. New plans are being put in place that they hope will keep you and your family safe. It's a clear sign that people are worried about a flu outbreak. "Started on Monday. A few people came in and it got worse, and today's been really bad," says Julie Blake with Metro Medical. Metro Medical is one of many local businesses that are completely out of surgical masks. The discovery of H1N1 in Nashville has city leaders taking action. "The local presence of this strain of flu was not unexpected," says Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Metro has not activated its Emergency Operations Center. Health officials, emergency workers, and school nurses are now sharing information as the threat of flu rises. "We do expect to find additional cases, and would be very surprised not to see more of this virus in this community," says Metro Health Director Dr. Bill Paul. Metro's ambulance service is also changing its medical protocols to help control the spread of virus. Metro's paramedics are now wearing surgical masks when they are treating a patient who has flu-like symptoms. While Metro Government has a plan if this situation gets worse, they are now focusing on prevention. "If you are sick, stay home, cover your mouth, keep your hands clean, do not touch your face, says Dr. Paul. Information signs can now be found in schools, businesses, and other government buildings. They remind you to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands frequently. "We are making sure that all of our restrooms have hot water, and hand soap, and hand sanitizer," says Metro Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register. Metro leaders hope by limiting the spread of germs, they will be able to stop this flu. "Do everything we can of a preventative nature and are prepared if incidents of illness pick up," says Dr. Register. Nevertheless, they are now making sure they are prepared. "We're hoping for the best and we're preparing for the worst," says Metro Medical Director Dr. Corey Slovis. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says he will continue to get daily updates on the H1N1 flu until the virus passes, or is brought under control.

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