County staff delivered a progress report on Tuesday regarding
its emergency plan in the event of an avian flu – or any other –
pandemic. The S.B. County Health Department presented a report from
its Isolation and Quarantine Project team leader, Paige Batson,
which outlined six phases of pandemic response. The county is now
in Phase 3, which means it is on “alert” for the bird flu. Phases
4, 5, and 6 involve isolating the symptomatic and quarantining the
exposed. Paige said identifying sites for quarantine is a chief
priority. The avian flu has not been found in the western
hemisphere, but has occurred in small pockets elsewhere with a 40
to 50 percent fatality rate. Another 18 project teams are at work
clarifying legal issues, increasing disease surveillance,
organizing a medical corps, establishing a command structure, and
more. The county plans to conduct public outreach in every city and
on public access TV once staff members are prepared to answer
questions with more certainty.


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