Even as they prepare to send out telephone messages to tens of thousands of residents informing them of a probable case of Swine Flu in Harford County, local emergency operations and health officials maintain they know of no link between the potentially-infected individual and the local school system.
Without stating a location or circumstance, health officials have confirmed “an adult county resident” is among four additional probable cases of Swine Flu (now known as H1N1 virus) reported by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).
The full Harford County press release is below:
HARFORD COUNTY ANNOUNCES PROBABLE H1N1 FLU CASE
Bel Air, MD – May 4, 2009 – A case of “probable” H1N1 influenza A infection from Harford County is among four additional “probable” cases reported Saturday by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). The case in Harford County involves an adult county resident. There is no known association between this case and either students or teachers in Harford County public or non-public schools.
Acting Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly states, “We wish to assure the public that Harford County Health Department is communicating with and receiving regular updates from all appropriate collaborating agencies including the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and CDC to keep abreast of this rapidly developing situation, and to implement any components of our Preparedness Plan that become necessary. Likewise, we are working closely with our colleagues at DHMH, our local government agencies, and local health jurisdictions throughout the state to ensure we have the resources we need at our disposal to respond quickly and effectively to any emerging public health threat.”
This brings to fifteen the number of probable cases reported in Maryland thus far, all of whom either have fully recovered from their illness or are recovering well. A probable case of H1N1 influenza infection is defined as an individual with flu-like symptoms who is laboratory test positive for influenza type A but negative for seasonal influenza.
Ms. Kelly urges county residents to continue practicing basic flu protection and prevention measures, including frequent hand-washing, especially after coughing or sneezing, and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Recommendations also include avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth and avoiding crowded living and sleeping spaces or close contact with sick people.
Individuals showing symptoms of H1N1 flu that include a fever over 100 degrees coupled with a sore throat or cough, are advised to stay at home, limit contact with others so as to protect them from illness, consult with their doctors by telephone, and recover at home. Unless there is a medical emergency, going directly to the emergency rooms is not recommended.
The most up-to-date information about the H1N1 investigation and recommendations for personal and community well-being can be accessed by going to the HCHD website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com . There you will have access to current information as it evolves locally, as well as from the Maryland DHMH, the CDC and the World Health Organization. Residents can also call the State’s toll free H1N1 information line at 1-877-MDFLU4U (633-5848) Monday through Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm.
The county also released information on a new Swine Flu Call Center to open this week:
HARFORD COUNTY OPENS CALL CENTER TO ADDRESS PUBLIC QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE H1N1 FLU
Beginning at 5:00 pm this evening, on behalf of the Harford County Health Department, a recorded telephonic message from Rick Ayers, Emergency Manager for the Harford County Emergency Operations Center, will be transmitted to all Harford County residents using the County’s Connect CTY system. The message will inform citizens about the opening of a Call Center to address questions related to H1N1 influenza.
The telephone number of the Call Center will be 410-838-5800 and it will be operational from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, this evening only, May 4th, it will be open from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Questions can also be answered by calling the state’s information line at 1-877-MD-FLU-4U (633-5848).
Tomorrow, a similar message also will be sent to all businesses in Harford County.
Information about H1N1 is also available on the Health Department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com
Further reporting on Swine Flu in Harford County can be found here: