in the county
By Jeanne Sager
LOCH SHELDRAKE After weeks of watching news of the pandemic sweeping the globe, Sullivan County residents faced news this week that swine flu has arrived.
A Ferndale resident who attended a Mets game in New York City on Mother’s Day began showing symptoms of gastrointestinal distress on May 13.
Tests at Crystal Run Healthcare in Rock Hill showed it was the flu. Further tests confirmed this week, it wasn’t just any flu.
It was H1N1.
The staff member at New Hope Community in Loch Sheldrake has been quarantined at home since diagnosis, while the non-profit immediately put measures in place to prevent the spread of the disease among staff and clients.
Staff was given time to visit with their own primary care physicians or to receive Tamiflu from Crystal Run, while courses of Tamiflu were started with all residents of the house where the staff member worked.
Staff who came in contact with the staff member have also been limited to that one house for now to lessen the chance that the disease will jump from residence to residence within New Hope.
A second staff member has been infected and has been treated with Tamiflu by their own primary care physician and likewise sent home to recuperate. So far, no residents have shown any signs or symptoms of infection.
“A lot of credit goes to New Hope for the way they’ve handled this from the beginning,” said Sullivan County Legislative Aide Alexis Eggleton, speaking on behalf of the county’s public health system.
New Hope began monitoring its residents for signs and symptoms when swine flu was first reported in New York City, Eggleton said, weeks before the organization encountered the disease within its own walls.
Sullivan County Public Health had already been working on an awareness campaign, stressing handwashing and making hand sanitizer available to county workers to decrease the spread.
Several tests for residents with suspected cases of flu have been sent out, but this was the first to come back positive. New Hope has worked hand-in-hand with Sullivan County Public Health, Eggleton said.
Residents who are concerned about the swine flu can call Public Health for assistance. During regular business hours, call 292-5910, press 2, then option 1. After regular business hours and weekends, call 513-2268. For more information the public can also call the New York State Department of Health swine flu information line 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-808-1987.