West Seattle Blog... » Swine flu http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 15:44:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Fighting the flu: More H1N1 vaccine in West Seattle, White Center http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/fighting-the-flu-more-h1n1-vaccine-in-west-seattle-white-center/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/fighting-the-flu-more-h1n1-vaccine-in-west-seattle-white-center/#comments Thu, 17 Dec 2009 20:35:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=25036 Two notes today if you want to get vaccinated against H1N1 flu but haven’t done it yet: First, new WSB sponsor West Seattle Community Clinic just sent word that it’s received more H1N1 vaccine. They have mist and shots, and will administer by appointment (they’re open M-F and occasional Saturdays/Sundays at 35th/Henderson): 206-937-9722. King County Public Health also has announced upcoming clinics to provide H1N1 vaccine to people who can’t afford it – including two in White Center, this coming Saturday and Wednesday. Read on:

The full county announcement:

It’s not too late to get an H1N1 flu vaccination. H1N1 flu, also called swine flu, is expected to continue to spread, and H1N1 vaccination will protect you and your family so you won’t miss days of school, work or other important events due to this flu.

Anyone over 6 months of age is now eligible to receive H1N1 vaccine in King County . It’s especially important for people who are at highest risk for H1N1 influenza, including pregnant women, babies and young children, and people with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems. H1N1 vaccine is being distributed to many health care providers and local pharmacies.

Call your health care provider or check pharmacy locations at www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1.

In addition, free vaccination clinics for those who cannot afford to pay will be held at the following locations:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Auburn: HealthPoint ( 126 Auburn Avenue, Suite 400 ), 9 am – 12 pm
Bellevue: Eastgate Public Health Center ( 14350 SE Eastgate Way ), 9 am – 5 pm
Bellevue: Sea Mar – Bellevue Medical ( 1811 156th Ave NE, Suite # 2 ), 9 am – 5 pm
Federal Way: Public Health Center ( 33431 13th Place S ), 9 am – 5 pm
Kent: HealthPoint (403 E Meeker, Kent), 9 am – 12 pm
Redmond: HealthPoint ( 16315 NE 87th St, Suite B6 ), 9 am – 12 pm
Renton: Public Health Center ( 3001 NE 4th St ), 9 am – 5 pm
Seattle: Columbia Public Health Center ( 4400 37th Ave S ), 9 am – 5 pm
Seattle: North Public Health Center ( 10501 Meridian Ave N ), 9 am – 5 pm
Seattle: Sea Mar – South Park ( 8720 14th Ave S ), 9 am – 5 pm
Seattle: Sea Mar – White Center ( 9650 15th Ave. S.W. #100 ), 9 am – 5 pm

Tuesday, December 22 , 2009

Seattle: Sea Mar – South Park ( 8720 14th Ave S ), 2 pm – 8 pm

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bellevue: Sea Mar – Bellevue Medical ( 1811 156th Ave NE, Suite # 2 ), 10 am – 4 pm
Seattle: Sea Mar – White Center ( 9650 15th Ave. S.W. #100 ), 1 pm – 8 pm

For more information, go to www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1 or call the Flu Hotline at 1-877-903-5464.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/fighting-the-flu-more-h1n1-vaccine-in-west-seattle-white-center/feed/ 12
H1N1 flu vaccine: King County expands eligibility http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/h1n1-flu-vaccine-king-county-expands-eligibility/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/h1n1-flu-vaccine-king-county-expands-eligibility/#comments Wed, 09 Dec 2009 23:15:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=24011 Another news release to share – just in from Seattle-King County Public Health – the shortage of H1N1 vaccine has eased and now they say anyone 6 months or older is eligible – read on for the full announcement:

Starting this Saturday, December 12, those eligible to receive H1N1 influenza vaccine will be expanded to everybody six months of age and older in King County . Depending on early demand among this broader group, supplies may be limited for a time at some locations.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is taking this next step in widening H1N1 vaccine eligibility because many health care providers in King County are now reporting that they are able to meet the demand for their highest risk patients and vaccine supplies are increasing and expected to continue to rise steadily.

“We’re pleased that many of our highest risk residents have been vaccinated and that we have enough vaccine now to open eligibility to anyone who wants it,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County . “Even though flu has peaked, at least temporarily, H1N1 illness continues in our community. Getting vaccinated is still a very good idea.”

As of December 4, an estimated 380,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza, and an additional 58,000 doses of vaccine are on the ground or in the process of being shipped to vaccine providers in the county.

Vaccination continues to be particularly important for people at highest risk for H1N1, including pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, people between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, and healthcare and emergency workers

New clinics and vaccine availability

H1N1 vaccine is available from local health care providers and pharmacies; see availability at pharmacies.

Additionally, some health centers are offering free H1N1 vaccination to people who cannot afford to pay. Clinics will be held this Saturday, December 12, Wednesday, December 16, and Saturday, December 19.

This Saturday’s HealthPoint free H1N1 clinics are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or while supplies last. Locations are:

· Auburn HealthPoint: 126 Auburn Avenue, Suite 400
· Kent HealthPoint: 403 E. Meeker
· Redmond HealthPoint: 16315 NE 87th Street, Suite B6
· SeaTac HealthPoint: 4040 S. 188th Street

Public Health will have free H1N1 clinics this Saturday and next Saturday, December 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and next Wednesday, December 16 from noon to 7 p.m. Locations are:

· Seattle: Columbia Public Health Center, 4400 37th Ave South
· Seattle: North Public Health Center, 10501 Meridian Ave North
· Bellevue: Eastgate Public Health Center , 14350 SE Eastgate Way
· Renton Public Health Center, 3001 NE 4th Street
· Federal Way Public Health Center, 33431 13th Place South

Vaccinations are first come, first served, and no reservations will be taken. If demand is high, people will be given a designated time later that day to return and receive their vaccination. Once supply is exhausted, people will be informed as soon as they arrive.

For more information on future clinics and other H1N1 updates, visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1. The Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464) is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. The Flu Hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over the weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/h1n1-flu-vaccine-king-county-expands-eligibility/feed/ 2
H1N1 flu update from King County Public Health: Fewer cases http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-flu-update-from-king-county-public-health-fewer-cases/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-flu-update-from-king-county-public-health-fewer-cases/#comments Fri, 20 Nov 2009 18:43:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22527 If you’ve been worried about H1N1 flu – a bit of good news from King County Public Health - the number of cases is on the decline. KCPH just sent a news release with the newest info – read on:

Following the relentless increase in H1N1 influenza (swine flu) illness in King County since late August, cases of H1N1 influenza are now decreasing – at least temporarily – from a peak in late October. Although the future course of the epidemic remains uncertain, based on the experience of the H1N1 outbreak during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season, illness would be expected to continue to spread locally among those who are not immune during the coming weeks.

“The break in the rising rate of infection gives us more time to vaccinate people who don’t yet have immunity, especially given the slow start to vaccinations because of the national vaccine shortage,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Office, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Availability of vaccine will continue to improve in coming weeks, and we encourage people who are recommended to receive vaccine to seek it out. Eventually, everyone who wants vaccine will have an opportunity to get it.”

While down from the previous two weeks, emergency departments continue to see an elevated number of visits for flu-like illness similar to spring outbreak levels. Recent hospitalizations for H1N1, while lower in number than in October, still remain above the levels seen in the spring.

An estimated 190,000 people in King County who are at high-risk for complications have already been vaccinated for H1N1 influenza. Additionally, an estimated 132,000 people have had H1N1 influenza between April and October 17, 2009. These factors may be contributing to the slowing of infection rates overall, yet more vaccination will help to protect the community and those most at risk.

People who are recommended to receive H1N1 vaccine should continue to seek it. Vaccine supply is gradually improving each week, and it is expected that eventually there will be enough vaccine in King County for anyone who wants it.

Given delays in supply, H1N1 vaccine is presently reserved for people in priority groups:

* Pregnant women
* People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
* People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
* People between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems
* Health care and emergency workers

Given the limited supply, Public Health’s current focus is on getting most of the available vaccine to health care providers, so that they can vaccinate patients who are most at risk. To provide another option for people prioritized to receive H1N1 vaccine, Public Health is allocating a limited portion of vaccine supplies for distribution more widely through pharmacies.

Visit the Public Health H1N1 influenza website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1 for updates on vaccine availability in the community or call the Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464), which is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. Hours of operation with operators are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over this weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

Flu illness activity

Indications are that flu activity has peaked for now in King County :

· The approximate daily numbers of visits for flu-like illness to King County emergency departments have fallen by half from a high of over 250 visits per day, but remain significantly elevated and are now in a range similar to that seen during the spring H1N1 outbreak. Similarly, the proportion of patients seen in emergency departments with flu-like illness has decreased from a peak of 10% to 5% this week.

· Hospitalizations for H1N1 have been decreasing for the past few weeks, but they are still above the peak of the spring outbreak.

The county’s list of pharmacies with vaccine, by the way, shows clinics (for the “high risk,” ages 9 and up) at the West Seattle Walgreens stores next Tuesday.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-flu-update-from-king-county-public-health-fewer-cases/feed/ 5
H1N1 vaccine: Update from King County Public Health http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-vaccine-update-from-king-county-public-health/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-vaccine-update-from-king-county-public-health/#comments Sat, 14 Nov 2009 01:46:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22366

Just in from James Apa at King County Public Health, at the end of a week in which people lined up to get H1N1 vaccine wherever it was available (above, one of West Seattleite Brandon Nicholson‘s photos from the line Wednesday outside a Sand Point pharmacy that briefly was the only one in the county offering vaccine to babies and toddlers):

We wanted to give you a quick update on vaccine availability in King County. Due to the national delay in H1N1 vaccine production, the supplies we have in the community aren’t enough to meet the demand right now, and it’s been a challenge for many to find vaccine. With the latest deliveries this week, King County has received approximately 165,000 doses of vaccine total since shipments began, and approximately 90,000 more doses are in the process of being ordered and shipped to King County.

Given the shortage, our current focus is on getting most of the available supplies to health care providers, so that they can vaccinate patients who are most at risk. As more vaccine becomes available, we’ll continue to provide it to health care providers to vaccinate more of their patients, so we encourage people in the priority groups to continue to stay in touch with their health care providers about vaccine availability.

To provide another option for people prioritized to receive H1N1 vaccine, Public Health is also allocating a limited portion of new vaccine supplies for distribution more widely through public venues. The 15,000 doses of vaccine we made available to pharmacies this week is the beginning of our widening distribution strategy.

He also suggested keeping an eye on the pharmacy list on the King County website – linked from our FLU tab atop all pages. We just checked again, and there’s no new availability listed in the West Seattle/White Center area right now.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/h1n1-vaccine-update-from-king-county-public-health/feed/ 12
West Seattle Walgreens’ H1N1 vaccine clinics draw long lines http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/west-seattle-walgreens-h1n1-vaccine-clinics-draw-long-lines/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/west-seattle-walgreens-h1n1-vaccine-clinics-draw-long-lines/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2009 20:28:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22293

You probably won’t be surprised to hear long lines formed quickly at the two West Seattle Walgreens that offered H1N1 clinics with vaccine for high-risk people ages 9 and up starting at 11 this morning for one-day “clinics” – WSB’er Kerry, commenting on our preview from this morning, reported being told 35th (photo below shows the line inside during the first half-hour) is out, but 16th/Roxbury (photo above) reportedly did not run out as fast, and was planning to extend the clinic till 4 pm or till supplies ran out. We’ll stress again, check before you go. We were not allowed to talk with store employees while there.

We’ll continue to report on vaccine availability as we get word from the county and other sources – with stories here on the news page and also adding to the FLU tab below the header as info comes in. 2:38 PM UPDATE: Brooke just e-mailed to say 35th SW has extended its clinic till vaccine runs out and she just got vaccinated with little wait.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/west-seattle-walgreens-h1n1-vaccine-clinics-draw-long-lines/feed/ 10
Fighting the flu: Update on county’s H1N1 vaccine announcement http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-update-on-countys-h1n1-vaccine-announcement/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-update-on-countys-h1n1-vaccine-announcement/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2009 04:35:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22206 New information from King County tonight, after the county’s announcement this afternoon — saying two local drugstores would be offering H1N1 vaccine to some high-risk people — conflicted with what WSBers were told when they called those stores. We inquired immediately with the King County Public Health staffers who sent out the media release – and just received this update from James Apa with King County:

Wanted to get you the latest on the H1N1 vaccination clinics. Our website is updated now, and the two Walgreens in the West Seattle vicinity are hosting flu clinics on Tuesday, November 10th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We have a great relationship with our pharmacy partners and they’re doing a public service in hosting these clinics. In some cases, there was a timing issue with information being communicated to their individual sites, but it’s resolved now. Thanks to everyone for their patience.

Schedules for appointments are already starting to fill up, and we’ll be continuing to update our site over the weekend as availability changes:
www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/preparedness/pandemicflu/swineflu/locations.aspx

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-update-on-countys-h1n1-vaccine-announcement/feed/ 5
Fighting the flu: Some H1N1 vaccine expected in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-some-h1n1-vaccine-arriving-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-some-h1n1-vaccine-arriving-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2009 22:27:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22196 8:36 PM NOTE: Just received an update from the county – published here – superseding all the earlier stuff here.

3:10 PM NOTE: As pointed out in comments — also in an e-mail and also in a school mailing list we’re on — there appears to be a discrepancy between what the county has sent out – and what the pharmacies are telling callers. King County Public Health spokesperson Matias Valenzuela tells WSB, “We’re looking into it.” So stand by for an update. Meantime, as commenters suggest, DON’T CALL YET – until this is straightened out by the county. Another spokesperson tells us they are “reconnecting with participating pharmacies” to find out what the discrepancy is about.

ORIGINAL 2:27 PM REPORT: An update from King County Public Health today – certain pharmacies around the county are now getting more H1N1 vaccine to make available to “people prioritized to receive” it. The list includes the two Walgreens (6330 35th SW and 9456 16th SW) stores in West Seattle – both by appointment, for ages 9 and up. Read on for the full countywide announcement:

To provide another option for people prioritized to receive H1N1 vaccine, selected King County pharmacies are receiving limited supplies to begin vaccinating. A total of 15,000 doses of vaccine have been allocated to pharmacies, with more available in future weeks.

Many of the 44 participating pharmacies are taking appointments by phone starting today; some will be holding walk-up clinics without appointment starting next week. The full list of participating pharmacies, including hours, types of vaccine available, vaccination age ranges and administrative fee, is posted at www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/preparedness/pandemicflu/swineflu/locations. This site will be updated Monday through Friday by noon; people should contact pharmacies directly for the most up-to-date information.

With limited national vaccine supplies, Public Health – Seattle & King County has had to delay its plan to make vaccine widely available through community venues. As more vaccine becomes available, there will be additional sites for getting vaccinated, including community clinics.

“Making vaccine available through pharmacies is an important next step in protecting our community, but supplies at both pharmacies and health care providers will continue to be limited for at least several weeks,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County . “Eventually there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to get vaccinated, but we are still dealing with limited vaccine supplies.”

With the latest deliveries this week, King County has received approximately 142,000 doses of vaccine. A new allocation of approximately 71,000 doses is being ordered for delivery to the county. Most of the vaccine is being made available through health care providers.

Pharmacy vaccination details

People eligible to receive vaccine through pharmacies include:

* Pregnant women
* People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
* People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
* People between 25 through 64 years of age with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems
* Healthcare and emergency workers with direct patient contact

The amount of H1N1 vaccine at pharmacies will be limited, with each pharmacy receiving a few hundred doses each. Vaccine will be re-supplied to pharmacies as more becomes available over the coming weeks, so people should regularly check Public Health’s website for updates.

Many pharmacies are unable to vaccinate babies and young children because their staff is not licensed and/or trained for these age groups. Residents trying to vaccinate children should check with pharmacies directly and with their health care providers since vaccine is continuing to arrive.

Pharmacies may charge a fee for administering the vaccine, typically between $12 and $22 (not to exceed $22). This fee is covered by most health insurance. People should bring their health insurance information to the pharmacy, and they may need to submit a receipt to their insurance company for reimbursement.

Visit the Public Health H1N1 influenza website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1 for updates on vaccine availability in the community or call the Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464), which is staffed with operators to answer questions from King County residents about H1N1 influenza. Hours of operation with operators are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with special 24-hour nurse line service extended over this weekend for people with flu seeking medical care advice. Recorded information will be available 24 hours a day.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/fighting-the-flu-some-h1n1-vaccine-arriving-in-west-seattle/feed/ 19
H1N1 flu: County opening 4 clinics for those who most need shots http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/h1n1-flu-county-opening-4-clinics-for-those-who-most-need-shots/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/h1n1-flu-county-opening-4-clinics-for-those-who-most-need-shots/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2009 18:02:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=21691 Just in from King County Public Health: The county will open four clinics to provide H1N1 vaccine to people with “significant health problems” and without health insurance. One of them is in White Center. Read on for the official announcement – which also includes info about a county flu hotline for everyone, starting tomorrow (877-903-KING):

As private providers begin to receive H1N1 influenza vaccine for their patients at highest risk for complications, starting Wednesday, October 21, Public Health – Seattle & King County is making vaccinations available for people without health insurance who are at increased risk because they have significant health problems.

Four Public Health vaccination clinics will be open to people up through 64 years of age who have significant health problems that put them at greater risk for serious complications for H1N1. Examples would include heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Most children and pregnant women have public or private health care coverage, so it is anticipated that the clinics will primarily serve uninsured adults. People over age 65 are at relatively low risk for H1N1 influenza and so should not seek vaccination at this time.

For people who have health insurance, local health care providers are receiving initial, small shipments of vaccine for their existing patients who need protection most. Vaccine availability from health care providers is expected to improve gradually as additional supplies arrive in upcoming weeks.

Public Health clinic details

Four Public Health H1N1 vaccination clinics will be operated at the following locations:

White Center Public Health Center ( 10821 8th Ave SW , Seattle )
Alder Square Public Health Center (1404 Central Ave S., Suites 101 & 112, Kent)
North Public Health Center ( 10501 Meridian Ave N. , Seattle )
Federal Way Public Health Center ( 33431 13th Place S. , Federal Way )

All clinics will be open 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays and 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. All clinics are walk-up and appointments will not be needed or scheduled. Visit the Public Health H1N1 influenza website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1 for clinic directions.

Vaccinations at these clinics will continue over time, pending vaccine availability from the federal government.

Clinic locations may also expand with demand. As supply increases, more vaccine will be available in Public Health clinics and other community locations. The Public Health website will be updated regularly with information on vaccine availability.

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that vaccine production is proceeding slower than originally expected, which will result in smaller amounts of vaccine in ongoing deliveries over the next two months.

Call center activation

Beginning Wednesday morning, October 21, the Flu Hotline at 877-903-KING (5464) will be staffed with operators to answer questions about H1N1 influenza and provide information about Public Health – Seattle & King County vaccine clinic locations for people without insurance and with significant health problems. Hours of operation with operators will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; recorded information will be available 24 hours a day.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/h1n1-flu-county-opening-4-clinics-for-those-who-most-need-shots/feed/ 40
Seattle Lutheran HS closes for rest of the week; flu precaution http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/seattle-lutheran-hs-closes-for-rest-of-the-week-due-to-flu-fear/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/seattle-lutheran-hs-closes-for-rest-of-the-week-due-to-flu-fear/#comments Wed, 27 May 2009 19:54:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17238 Thanks to Andrea and Tamara for the tip, which we subsequently found confirmed on the Seattle Lutheran High School website:

**We are sending the students home immediately. We had a student that roomed with someone that has a confirmed case of the swine flu. The school will be closed the remainder of the week, we will reopen on Monday.***

We are calling the school – if anyone’s in the offices – to find out more. 1:03 PM UPDATE: Just talked with Jenny in the SLHS office. The school was closed Friday anyway, because of the trip to the state softball tournament (as reported here), so in the “better safe than sorry mode,” they decided to just shut down now. Jenny says the “rooming” mentioned in the online announcement was during a trip that student took. And she says that school personnel who aren’t making phone calls right now are busy cleaning, just as a precaution.

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/seattle-lutheran-hs-closes-for-rest-of-the-week-due-to-flu-fear/feed/ 0
Got flu questions? County beefs up the hotline http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/got-flu-questions-county-beefs-up-the-hotline/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/got-flu-questions-county-beefs-up-the-hotline/#comments Wed, 06 May 2009 01:28:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16585 A note from King County Public Health:

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Public Health’s Flu Hotline at 877-903-5464 will provide expanded service by offering callers an opportunity to speak with registered nurses. Hotline nurses will tell callers how to manage their symptoms at home, tell them if they need to see a doctor or health care provider and answer other medical questions about H1N1 flu. The Flu Hotline number is 1-877-903 KING (5464).

Also tomorrow, perhaps coincidentally, county political leaders plan a media briefing to “call for state legislators to provide dedicated public health funding to help counties statewide.”

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/got-flu-questions-county-beefs-up-the-hotline/feed/ 2
Flu update: Another 6 suspected cases announced today http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-another-6-suspected-cases-announced-today/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-another-6-suspected-cases-announced-today/#comments Mon, 04 May 2009 01:18:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16507 In what’s becoming a daily update from Seattle-King County Public Health, the latest announcement says 6 more probable cases of swine flu have been reported, bringing the total number of likely cases in the county to 22. Health authorities also have changed their recommendations for how schools should handle news of a case of this flu – read on for the latest details:

Six additional persons with probable H1N1 virus (swine flu) in King County

Flu strain continues to appear no more severe than a typical flu season, and policy for schools modified to reflect this

KING COUNTY, WA – Today, 6 more probable cases of swine influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, have been identified in King County through the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. The number of probable cases in King County is now 22, including 21 that were identified through laboratory tests. Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health – Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

Current case counts and updates will be posted later today on the Public Health website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu.

“We know that the H1N1 virus is circulating widely and the disease has proven to be relatively mild, so we believe that many cases are not being formally diagnosed,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We need to find new ways to reduce infections besides focusing on diagnosed, probable cases. We will no longer recommend school closure when we have just one or two probable cases in a school. Instead, we will recommend symptom checks at home and school.”

Public Health will work closely with school districts to support this new approach to reduce infections in schools. Instead of closing a school when there is a probable case, Public Health is recommending that:

o Parents carefully check their children before school for signs and symptoms of the flu. If symptoms are present, they should not send their children to school.
o Schools should monitor children and conduct symptoms checks. If they find children with symptoms of the flu, those children should be sent home.
o School staff and faculty should assess themselves for symptoms of influenza.

“Our parents are at the front lines of stopping the spread of infection. We are urging all parents to assess their kids every morning to see if they’re sick, and keep them home if they are,” said Dr. Fleming. “In addition, we will be working with schools across King County to help them identify if children are ill so that sick students are sent home before they expose other children.”

Public Health has a Flu Hotline for the public at 877-903-KING (5464), staffed from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interpreters are available.

Tamiflu and treatment

There appears to be very limited demand for the antiviral drug Tamiflu to treat patients who have severe illness. However, Public Health is launching a strategy to make sure that adequate and accessible supply exists in the community for every patient with a prescription that is in need of this medication.

While there is plentiful supply of Tamiflu in King County, distribution may be slightly backlogged. Public Health will distribute Tamiflu to any hospital that requests it, and it is identifying sites throughout the county so Tamiflu can be dispensed to patients who cannot find it in their local pharmacies.

Recommendations for seeking medical care

Public Health is recommending that you do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated. Your health care provider will determine if a test is appropriate, based on guidelines from Public Health.

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters of other sick people, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than three days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from person to person. Symptoms of swine flu include a fever of more than 100°F, coughing, joint aches, and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

What can I do now to get prepared?

This is an excellent time to get prepared at home and work for a possible influenza pandemic. See www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu

Everyday behaviors to stay healthy and prevent spread of influenza

o If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
o To further prevent the spread of germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
o Avoid close contact with sick people

What is H1N1 virus (swine flu)?
H1N1 virus, also known as “swine flu” and “swine Influenza A” is a virus that can spread from people who are infected to others through coughs and sneezes. When people cough or sneeze, they spread germs through the air or onto surfaces that other people may touch. H1N1 virus is not transmitted from pigs to humans or from eating pork products.

For more information and frequent updates: www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu. Flu Hotline: 877-903-5464

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-another-6-suspected-cases-announced-today/feed/ 7
Flu update: 6 more potential cases in King County http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-6-more-potential-cases-in-king-county/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-6-more-potential-cases-in-king-county/#comments Sun, 03 May 2009 03:17:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16474 The daily update from King County Public Health came in a little while ago, so for everyone following the saga, the latest is: Six more potential cases, one of which was already suspected – three from Seattle: a 12-year-old and 14-year-old who haven’t been hospitalized, and an 80-year-old who has been, but is now out of the hospital. Read on for more details in the official news release:

Today, six probable cases of H1N1 virus (swine flu) have been identified in King County through the Washington State Public Health Laboratory. Five of these cases are new; one of the six had already been reported and designated as a probable King County case due to symptoms and contact with a previous case.

The number of probable cases in King County is now 16, including 15 identified through laboratory testing. Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health – Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

“Now that we know that the virus is circulating more widely in our community, we expect to see our numbers continue to increase, at least for a while,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “But because much of the disease caused by this virus is mild, some cases may be going undiagnosed and increasingly these official case counts will underestimate the incidence of infection in our community.”

As the virus becomes more common, Public Health is recommending new steps to help reduce future infections in schools. “Our parents are at the front lines of stopping the spread of infection. We are urging all parents to assess their kids every morning to see if they’re sick, and keep them home if they are,” said Dr. Fleming. “In addition, we will be working with schools across King County to help them establish health checks at school entry, so that sick students are identified and sent home before they expose other children.”

Public Health has established a Flu Hotline for the public at 877-903-KING (5464), staffed from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interpreters are available. The Flu Hotline provides health and safety information on the current Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak. If you need medical advice, contact your healthcare provider.

Current case counts and future updates will be posted on the Public Health website at www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu.

Recommendations for seeking medical care

Some local hospitals and health care providers are reporting that many people are unnecessarily going to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with mild symptoms. In terms of seeking medical care, use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season.

Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated. Your health care provider will determine if a test is appropriate, based on guidelines from Public Health.

If you need care and do not have a medical provider or health insurance, call the Community Health Access Program at 800-756-5437. You will not be asked to show proof of your immigration status.

New cases

Public Health is currently learning more about these individuals with probable H1N1 virus infections, and investigating if any schools were affected. This school attendance information is not yet known. The cases include:

o An 80 year old woman from Seattle, who was hospitalized and discharged.

o A 12 year old female from Lake Forest Park; not hospitalized.

o A 14 year old female from Seattle; not hospitalized.

o A 7 year old male from Auburn; not hospitalized.

o A 15 year old male from Kent; not hospitalized.

o A 12 year old male from Seattle; not hospitalized – previously reported by King County as a probable case due to symptoms and contact with a probable lab-identified case.

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than 3 days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu include a fever of more than 100°F, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

Public Health is reporting that school absenteeism in King County is normal for this time of year. In addition, emergency department surveillance at King County hospitals did detect an increase in visits beginning Sunday, April 26th, coinciding with the increased swine flu publicity; however, local hospitals are not reporting an increase in serious illnesses or hospital admissions related to respiratory illness.

Everyday behaviors to stay healthy and prevent spread of influenza

o If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
o To further prevent the spread of germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
o Avoid close contact with sick people

For more information and frequent updates: www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu
Flu Hotline: 877-903-5464

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-6-more-potential-cases-in-king-county/feed/ 0
Flu update: 5 King Co. schools now closed (none in West Seattle) http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-4-king-co-schools-now-closed-none-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-4-king-co-schools-now-closed-none-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 01 May 2009 21:56:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16443 King County health authorities just finished a short briefing on the flu situation. One more case of suspected swine flu is now reported, a 9-year-old patient, and because of that, an additional school has closed in King County, Midway Elementary in Des Moines, but no more Seattle Public Schools closures were announced, beyond the current three (Madrona, Stevens, Aki Kurose), none of which is in or near West Seattle. Perhaps the most important thing Dr. David Fleming said: Right now this flu seems to be behaving like “regular” flu – different levels of severity, but no worse than the seasonal outbreaks. Also participating in the news conference was Mayor Nickels, who noted that the city’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated to help track the flu outbreak. And authorities again stressed, the most important thing you can do is to stay home if you feel sick. We’ll add more info here when the official roundup from today’s briefing is available.

ADDED 4:53 PM: As promised, we’re adding the official roundup. It also includes word of a new flu hotline – 877-903-KING – and the total number of schools in King County closed because of the flu situation is now five (so we have changed our headline):

One more person with H1NI virus (swine flu) in King County
Flu strain appears no more severe than a typical flu season;
Public Health opens information call center to support the public

KING COUNTY, WA – Today, one more case of swine influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, has been identified in King County . The number of probable cases in King County is now 11. Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health – Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

“It is not surprising that we are seeing more infected people, and we expect more over the coming days and even weeks,” said Dr. David Fleming , Director & Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County . “So far, locally and nationally, this swine flu strain appears to be no more severe than the flu we’d see in a typical flu season. We will continue to learn about this virus and watch its activity in the community.”

As the virus becomes more common, Public Health is recommending new steps to help reduce future infections in schools.

“Our parents are at the front lines of stopping the spread of infection. We are urging all parents to assess their kids every morning to see if they’re sick, and keep them home if they are,” said Dr. Fleming. “In addition, we will be working with schools across King County to help them establish health checks at school entry, so that sick students are identified and sent home before they expose other children.”

Starting today, Public Health is establishing a Flu Hotline for the public at 877-903-KING (5464), staffed from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interpreters are available. The Flu Hotline provides health and safety information on the current Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak. If you need medical advice, contact your healthcare provider.

Some local hospitals and health care providers are reporting that many people are unnecessarily going to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with mild symptoms. In terms of seeking medical care, use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season.

Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated.

The new case is a female child, resident of Des Moines , who attends Midway Elementary School in the Highline School District . The illness was mild, and the child is recovering.

Out of an abundance of caution, Public Health has worked jointly with the Highline School District to decide that the best course of action is to close the school involved for seven days. Midway Elementary School in Highline will be closed starting on Monday.

Other schools currently closed include Madrona K-8, Aki Kurose Middle School and Stevens Elementary in Seattle and Woodmont Elementary in Federal Way .

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than 3 days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu include a fever of more than 100°F, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

Public Health is reporting that school absenteeism in King County is normal for this time of year. In addition, emergency department surveillance at King County hospitals did detect an increase in visits beginning Sunday, April 26, coinciding with the increased swine flu publicity; however, local hospitals are not reporting an increase in serious illnesses or hospital admissions related to respiratory illness.

What can I do now to get prepared?

This is an excellent time to get prepared at home and work for a possible influenza pandemic. See www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu

Everyday behaviors to stay healthy and prevent spread of influenza

* If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
* To further prevent the spread of germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Avoid close contact with sick people

What is swine flu?

“Swine flu” is an influenza A (H1N1) virus normally found in pigs. There are many such viruses and they rarely infect humans. The virus currently causing human illness is a new type of swine flu that has developed the ability to infect people and be transmitted from person to person.

Although this new virus is called “swine flu,” it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, or from eating pork products. Like other respiratory diseases, it is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. When people cough or sneeze, they spread germs through the air or onto surfaces that other people may touch.

For more information and frequent updates: www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu

Flu Hotline: 877-903-KING (5464)

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/flu-update-4-king-co-schools-now-closed-none-in-west-seattle/feed/ 3
Flu update: 3 schools closed (none in West Seattle) http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/flu-update-3-schools-closed-none-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/flu-update-3-schools-closed-none-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 01 May 2009 04:42:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16239 Couple of updates since the last addition to our ongoing flu story (we will launch a new one tomorrow for any updates during the day): The city of Seattle has added extra resources to its home page, including a special section about the flu; see it here. The city also has joined with Seattle Public Schools in the announcement of three schools (NOT in West Seattle) now closing for at least a week because of flu concerns, and asking that students from those schools be kept at home. Here are the latest announcements (and a map of those three schools’ locations):


View Three schools closed in a larger map

First, here’s the district’s announcement that Madrona K-8, Stevens Elementary, and Aki Kurose Middle School are the three schools now closed.

Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson and Public Health Director Dr. David Fleming today urged parents to keep children at home if their schools are closed due to possible swine flu.

City, school and public health officials strongly discourage parents from dropping off kids at libraries, community centers or other public facilities. The virus is spread person-to-person, mainly through the coughs and sneezes of sick people. It is important that kids stay home to avoid the risk of spreading infection.

“Bringing children to public libraries, community centers or other public facilities defeats the purpose of closing schools,” said Nickels. “We understand that keeping kids at home presents child-care challenges for some families, but we’re asking the community to work together for the safety of our children and others.”

“We’re closing schools out of an abundance of caution,” said Fleming. “The purpose is to reduce the risk for the infection to spread quickly in a close network, which is why it’s important that these same people don’t gather in different locations. If your child is from a closed school, please help protect him or her and the community by not dropping them off at community centers or libraries.”

“We continue to work closely with public health officials and follow their recommendations which are made in the best interest of our students,” said Goodloe-Johnson. “Resuming our normal activities will take all of us doing our part – that includes keeping children at home and supporting families in our community to quickly find good arrangements for children whose schools are closed.”

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/flu-update-3-schools-closed-none-in-west-seattle/feed/ 6
Thursday swine-flu updates: Latest in Seattle/King County http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/thursday-swine-flu-updates-latest-in-seattleking-county/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/thursday-swine-flu-updates-latest-in-seattleking-county/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2009 16:20:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16212 Last night, we covered the developing story of three “probable” Seattle swine-flu cases. While there is no specific “West Seattle angle” at this point, we plan to include major area developments here at WSB, knowing this is one of the places you come for news. Right now, our plan is to start with one story – today, this one – that will be updated throughout the day with what’s new, whenever there’s something more major to add. We start with:

THURSDAY MORNING: Seattle Public Schools has announced Madrona K-8, attended by one of the patients with a “probable” case, will close until next Thursday to be on the safe side. Here is the SPS announcement, including a message to all district families.

ALSO THURSDAY MORNING: The Everett Clinic is talking with reporters right now about the pediatrician who lives in Seattle and works at their Mill Creek clinic and was identified last night as one of the “probable” cases. They say she saw 22 patients on Monday and they are notifying them all. The doctor and her family, who also showed some flu symptoms, are all said to be “doing well.” Here is the clinic’s news release.

THURSDAY, 11:21 AM: Pathfinder K-8 has postponed tonight’s Multi-Cultural Night until May 21 as a school-initiated decision to be “proactive.” Separate story here.

THURSDAY, 4:47 PM: More new probable cases announced in King County – here’s a Seattle Times roundup.

Information resources (we’ll add more, and let us know if you have something to recommend):
Seattle/King County Public Health swine-flu page
CDC (federal) swine-flu page
Fast-breaking CDC updates via Twitter
State Department of Health swine-flu page

Any other Seattle/King County swine-flu news announced today will be added here, unless there’s something WS-specific, in which case we’ll publish a new, separate story.

7:02 PM THURSDAY: Here’s the news release about the additional probable cases announced today, and additional school closures (NOT in West Seattle):

Seven additional people with probable swine flu (H1N1) in King County

So far, flu strain apparently no more severe than in a typical flu season

KING COUNTY, WA – Today, another seven probable cases of swine influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, have been identified in King County . This brings the total number of probable swine flu cases in King County to ten. Laboratory samples have been sent to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Public Health – Seattle & King County is awaiting final confirmation.

“In the United States, what we’re seeing so far is that the severity of these cases is no more than what would be seen in a typical flu season. At the same time, we have limited experience, so it’s important not to draw premature conclusions. It’s important that we continue to learn and monitor activity in the community,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health Seattle & King County.

Public Health is also reporting that school absenteeism in King County is normal for this time of year. In addition, emergency department surveillance at King County hospitals did detect an increase in visits beginning Sunday, April 26th, coinciding with the increased swine flu publicity; however, local hospitals are not reporting an increase in serious illnesses or hospital admissions related to respiratory illness.

The five new probable H1N1 flu cases in King County include two children under 5 years of age; two children between 5-12 years, and a 22-year-old woman. In addition, two elementary school-aged children that are linked to a probable case were classified as suspect cases.

Human cases of swine influenza virus infection also have been identified nationally and internationally.
Out of an abundance of caution, Public Health has worked jointly with Seattle Public Schools and Federal Way Schools to decide the best course of action is to close the schools involved for seven days. The schools include Madrona K-8, which was closed today and will open again on March 7. Seattle’s Aki Kurose Middle School and Stevens Elementary K-8 in Seattle and Woodmont Elementary in Federal Way will close tomorrow, and these schools are scheduled to re-open on May 8.

The CDC has determined that the swine flu virus H1N1 is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu include a fever of more than 100°F, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

When should you seek medical care?
Use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season. Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated.

Public Health will continue to work with health care providers to test flu patients who develop severe illness or are associated with clusters, but does not currently recommend testing for all flu patients.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required: runny nose or nasal stuffiness; low-grade fever for less than 3 days; mild headache; body aches and mild stomach upset.

What can I do now to get prepared?

This is an excellent time to get prepared at home and work for a possible influenza pandemic. See www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu

Everyday behaviors to stay healthy and prevent spread of influenza

o If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
o Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
o To further prevent the spread of germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
o Avoid close contact with sick people

What is swine flu?

“Swine flu” is an influenza A (H1N1) virus normally found in pigs. There are many such viruses and they rarely infect humans. The virus currently causing human illness is a new type of swine flu that has developed the ability to infect people and be transmitted from person to person.

Although this new virus is called “swine flu,” it is not transmitted from pigs to humans, or from eating pork products. Like other respiratory diseases, it is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. When people cough or sneeze, they spread germs through the air or onto surfaces that other people may touch.

For more information and frequent updates: www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu
Public Health Hotline: 206-296-4949

]]>
http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/thursday-swine-flu-updates-latest-in-seattleking-county/feed/ 6