Local Virginia government releases pandemic response plan
| 09.18.2006 | 10:05:06 | Views: 2604 | ID:
September 18 '06: The Fairfax County regional government in Virginia has released a 112-page report detailing a response plan in the event that avian flu should break out, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. The report "depicts a grim scene of sick or at-risk people in widespread isolation or quarantine, at home or in hospital beds," the Post continued.
Fairfax head director Gloria Addo-Ayensu told the Washington paper, "Life as you see it today will not be the same. ... We will all have to make sacrifices." The Post found that as much as "40 percent of the county's workforce would be out of commission. And hospitals, nursing homes and other makeshift medical centers would have to set up temporary morgues and stockpile body bags to handle deaths."The plan, according to the Post, is a "communications plan that dispassionately lays out military-style procedures that would be set in motion at the first sign of a pandemic. The goal is to minimize the transmission of a highly contagious virus while keeping the county government of 11,000 employees running, albeit with truncated services." In the plan, a state of emergency would be called by the governor and curfews, prohibition and restricted movement of people, and banning public assemblies would be called into order. Working with local, state and federal medical officials, the county would also impose quarantines to restrict the spread of the disease. Coordination on all levels will be essential, the report wrote and an emergency management coordinator would be charged with linking all response services in the area. An outbreak could last as long as 18 months while, "Civil disturbances and breakdown in public order may occur," the report read. Police having to adjust to new duties could lead to a jump in crime rates and "security problems could be rampant as people might fight for access to limited vaccines and medication. Healthcare workers, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses would get first priority," the Post reported.
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