December 12, 2006
A group of health officials met on Tuesday, and agreed the chance for a pandemic flu to hit the Charlottesville area is a real threat.
The question is not will a flu pandemic happen, but when will it happen. Health experts believe it is in the near future. In Central Virginia, they have started the "Let's All Get Ready" campaign as part of the government's overall message.
"To try to change the culture of the United States, so that we are more concerned about preparedness, said Doctor Lilian Peake, Director of Charlottesville's Health Department.
Federal government believes if we are prepared for a flu pandemic odds are we would be prepared for other disasters. Representatives from Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and University of Virginia revealed just how with regards to a task force.
"Including health care issues, schools, businesses, public safety, and infrastructure. We are also looking at specific workplace issues which could arise, and developing strategies," said Albemarle County Executive Bob Tucker.
A flu pandemic would require those affected to be quarantined from others. The campaign means those on the front lines with the patients could also be away from their families.
"We're actually considering providing temporary housing for essential workers in our dormitories," said Doctor James Turner, UVa's Director of Student Health.
Strains of a severe flu would put a severe strain on local government. Charlottesville is doing its part to prevent an outbreak.
"Considering that Charlottesville is the business center for the region with a seven county work force of over 260,000 people, we encourage businesses to promote common-sense hygiene in the workplace," said Charlottesville's Assistant City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney.
Health officials have also launched a public service announcement which should start airing on television soon.