Category Archives: USA

New York | $200M awarded to meet healthcare and human services needs resulting from SuperStorm Sandy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $200 million has been awarded to more than 450 healthcare and human service providers and other community-based organizations following the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

“Nearly one year after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, the State’s healthcare and human service providers continue to serve communities recovering from the storm, even while many of these organizations themselves are still getting back on their feet,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help providers cover significant costs resulting from the storm, including repairs and renovation of critical facilities, unreimbursed expenses, and ongoing services to impacted New Yorkers. With today’s grants, we are directing assistance to the people and communities that need it most so the State as a whole can continue to build back stronger than before.”

The federal Superstorm Sandy Social Services Block Grant is designed to cover unreimbursed expenses resulting from the storm, including social, health and mental health services for individuals, and for repair, renovation and rebuilding of health care facilities, mental hygiene facilities, child care facilities and other social services facilities.

The grants will provide approximately $65 million for repair, rebuilding and renovation costs resulting from Superstorm Sandy; $52 million for unreimbursed operating costs during and after Sandy; $72 million for ongoing or new services to meet the continuing needs of Sandy-impacted New Yorkers; and $11 million for other eligible health and social services costs.

The grants will be awarded to 464 organizations pending full documentation of eligible costs. Some of the recipients include:

Region-Wide

  • $166,000 to Save the Children to reimburse the international non-profit for establishing “Child Care Safe-Child Friendly” emergency spaces and respite locations for child care within six shelters and serving 1,033 children.

Long Island

  • $6.6 million to South Nassau Communities Hospital for construction and operating costs to establish an Urgent Care Center to be located in Long Beach to replace a facility that was destroyed due to Superstorm Sandy.
  • $1.4 million to Long Island Coalition for the Homeless to make needed repairs at a community center that houses 10 not-for-profits that will provide services to homeless persons, including homeless veterans.
  • $2.9 million to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, a 48-acre campus that includes Long Island Jewish Hospital, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center and The Zucker Hillside Hospital, for unreimbursed operating costs to house and care for an influx of patients during and after Hurricane Sandy, as well as maintaining the well-being of their existing patients, and providing ongoing services to Sandy-impacted New Yorkers.
  • $2.2 million to South Shore Association for Independent Living Inc., to repair and rebuild a community residence that was severely damaged and to create a Recovery Case Management and Services program that will provide supportive counseling to aid individuals that continue to recover from the lasting effects of Superstorm Sandy.
  • $2.1 million to FEGS Health & Human Services to reimburse the non-profit for damage to a 10-story 138-unit low-income residential building for senior citizens, people with disabilities and people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to provide services to Long Island children and to adults with developmental disabilities impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

New York City

  • $22.3 million to New York University Langone Medical Center for uncompensated operating costs incurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy as it cared for critically ill patients and worked to reopen its facility.
  • $2.3 million to Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center for unreimbursed operating costs to house and care for nursing home residents as well as other patients in its main building in Brooklyn, and for the expenses incurred to renovate and retrofit two floors in the hospital to make them patient-ready.
  • $2.6 million to Sunset Park Health Council Inc. / Lutheran Family Centers, a federally-qualified community health center in Brooklyn, to provide medical, behavioral health, health education, and clinical support to the storm-affected populations in nine neighboring public housing developments in Coney Island.
  • $1 million to CAMBA to fund the Ocean Village Recovery Project, which will address the immediate needs of residents of the Ocean Village complex on the Rockaway Peninsula by providing unemployed and under-employed residents with services to enable them to obtain gainful employment, including assistance in accessing job training opportunities and direct job placement.
  • $482,000 to Richmond University Medical Center for unreimbursed costs to repair extensive damage to the facility’s roof and other exposed building elements as well as unreimbursed operating costs incurred as a result of the influx in patients during and after Hurricane Sandy. Richmond University Medical Center provides essential health care services to a catchment area of over 500,000 and was the only fully operational acute-care hospital open in Staten Island throughout Superstorm Sandy.
  • $446,000 to Project Hospitality, an organization that provides food, shelter, and services to more than 26,000 poor, hungry and homeless residents of Staten Island per year, to allow them to continue to provide essential recovery services which include providing food, housing, and information to thousands Staten Islanders impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
  • $68,000 to Hamilton-Madison House to provide case management, referrals for disaster mental health/substance abuse services, assistance with applications for Small Business Association (SBA) loans, and replacement of Sandy-destroyed equipment in lower East Side communities, including Chinatown.

Mid-Hudson

  • $257,000 to The Children’s Village, which serves over 10,000 children and families annually through a variety of short-term residential and community-based programs. Their residential campus in Westchester County sustained the most significant damage from Superstorm Sandy with torn roofs, fallen trees, and broken fences.
  • $241,000 to The Summit Children’s Residence Center in Nyack. Summit Children’s Residence will use the funding to repair and maintain structures damaged by Superstorm Sandy, to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of the 115 severely emotionally disturbed adolescents in its care 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

Grantees were selected through a competitive and transparent request for proposals. All awards are preliminary. Adjustments may occur in instances of specific ineligible expenses, duplication of benefits with other federal, state or private reimbursements, and insufficient documentation of costs. New York State may also make additional awards based on availability of funds.

For a full list of preliminary allocations, go to: www.Stormrecovery.ny.gov/SandySSBG

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos said, “This grant is critically important to ensure that the residents of Long Beach have access to urgent care services provided through South Nassau Communities Hospital and the Long Beach Medical Center. These funds are a big step forward towards helping our area’s continued recovery from Hurricane Sandy that devastated health care services in Long Beach.”

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein said, “One year after Superstorm Sandy, our commitment to rebuilding New York remains stronger than ever. These organizations continue to be some of the most important boots on the ground in New York’s hardest hit areas. I’m proud that we can deliver the funds these organizations need, so they can rebuild and continue to serve communities in need.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “When New York was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, I and many of my Assembly colleagues worked closely with our local non-profit organizations to deliver essential services to those who were in desperate need. Non-profits stepped in to lend a vital hand to residents and business owners. True to their core missions, it has been our non-profits, the health care and human services organizations, which have upheld that support for the past year. In my Lower Manhattan community, local organizations sprang into action, working around the clock to help the most vulnerable and they have continued to deliver crucial services. Despite their own needs to repair and rebuild, New York’s non-profits always put their neighbors first. I commend them all for their ongoing dedication to our communities and I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing the efforts of the more than 450 community-based organizations.”

Richard Murphy, President and CEO of South Nassau Communities Hospital, said, “I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Social Services Block grant funding that will assist the Hospital in its commitment to helping meet the health care needs of its residents that were impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. In particular, this will allow South Nassau to further its commitment to the residents of Long Beach to provide urgent care services to the community. South Nassau Communities Hospital looks forward to continuing its work with the Long Beach Medical Center and the NYS Department of Health in fulfilling this goal.”

Terry Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality, with several locations throughout Staten Island, said “Since November 1, 2012, we have reached more than 4,000 Hurricane Sandy impacted families and we continue to manage the only ongoing evacuation center in NYC. We are overwhelmed and express our gratitude to Governor Cuomo and the team that reviewed our application. We are deeply moved by this extraordinary grant and know the impact of these funds will make a real difference to all Staten Islanders.”

Greta Guarton, Executive Director, Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, said, “We are so grateful to the Governor and to New York State for this funding, which will allow us to complete work on a community center that had been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Once the building has been rehabilitated, homeless veterans and other homeless Long Islanders will be able to access a variety of services, including housing and employment assistance, in a “one-stop” model offered by the 10 non-profits co-locating in the building.”

Jeanne-Aimée De Marrais, Advisor for Save the Children’s Domestic Emergencies Programs, said, “The Governor’s support meant that when children were most vulnerable – when their families lost everything and had to seek shelter in large evacuation shelters (sometimes sleeping next to hundreds of strangers), Save the Children was able to provide programs and care to help keep kids safe. We are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s support which allowed Save the Children to help support children’s protection and recovery when they were in evacuation shelters immediately following the storm when New Yorkers needed it the most.”

Mark E. Toney, President and CEO of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, said, “As a community hospital, Brookdale’s core belief is that we are here to serve. After Hurricane Sandy, we were honored and proud to work with the Governor’s office, DOH, and GNYHA to provide care for our extended communities and their most vulnerable citizens in their time of need. We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s leadership during the storm. In addition, today, we appreciate him acknowledging Brookdale’s efforts and this Block Grant will assist us with covering some of the extraordinary costs that we incurred during that very difficult time.”

Kathy Teemer-Campbell, Kathy’s Korner of Care, said, “As the owner and operator of a small child care program in Long Beach, my business was devastated by Super Storm Sandy. My home and place of business sustained extensive water damage as it approached the five foot level and ignited a fire which consumed the entire first floor. I have been fortunate enough to be able to operate out of an alternate location, providing critical child care to other families also impacted by the storm. This funding is going to go a long way to helping me repair my home and resurrect my child care program. I’m grateful for this opportunity to repair and rebuild my business, my home and my life.”

Robert I. Grossman, MD, Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, said, “We are grateful to all those who supported NYU Langone as we have sought to meet the critical need for healthcare services in our community. I especially want to thank Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New York State officials, including the staffs of the State Departments of Health and Homeland Security. This support will benefit our patients, and the entire city, as NYU Langone works to recover from the immense impact of the storm.”

New Hampshire | DHHS identifies horse positive for WNv in Belmont

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces a positive test result for West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse from Belmont.

This finding necessitates increasing the risk level in Belmont from “Remote” to “High.” Towns surrounding Belmont, including Northfield, Tilton, Sanbornton, Laconia, Gilford, Gilmanton, and Canterbury, will be raised to “Moderate Risk.”

“Though parts of the State saw frost last night, we are not through with the mosquito season yet,” said Dr. José Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS. “There are still mosquitoes around and we are urging residents to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites including using a repellent.”

So far this season New Hampshire’s Public Health Lab has tested 5,174 batches of mosquitoes. Of those, 14 have tested positive for WNV and 20 tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). One person was also diagnosed with WNV, and three other horses were found positive for EEE earlier in the season.

Symptoms of WNV disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

Questions about EEE and WNV can be answered by calling the toll free EEE/West Nile Virus information line at 1-866-273-6453. You can also find extensive information about both diseases on our website www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm.

Maine | Governor declares Civil Emergency to minimize fiscal impacts of Federal shutdown

With the federal shutdown now into its second week, Governor Paul R. LePage today issued a proclamation declaring a civil emergency so his administration can minimize the financial impact to the State of Maine and its federally funded employees. Maine law enables the Governor to declare a civil emergency.

“The failure of leadership in Washington, D.C. has resulted in a federal shutdown, preventing the flow of federal money to Maine,” said Governor LePage. “Unfortunately, this means that a large number of our federally funded state employees may have to be laid off. The State of Maine simply cannot fill the financial gap created by the prolonged loss of federal dollars. It would be unlawful for the State to ask our federally funded employees to continue to work without having the authority to pay them.”

More than 2,700 state employees are paid, either partially or entirely, by federal funding. Governor LePage sent a letter to all state employees, explaining why the civil emergency is necessary. The federal shutdown not only affects federally funded state employees, it also impacts many federally funded programs and services that Mainers rely upon.

Services and/or programs have already been adversely impacted at several state agencies, including the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor.

“Some politicians tell us not to worry about it, that the check is in the mail,” said Governor LePage. “But they cannot tell us when or if any federal money will be available. In the meantime, we cannot use Maine taxpayers’ money to pay for positions or programs that are supposed to be federally funded. We did not create this mess in Washington, D.C., but our administration is working tirelessly to assist our employees and to allow the continuation of important programs and services to the citizens of Maine.”

The proclamation language is as follows:

WHEREAS, the Civil Emergency Preparedness Act (“CEPA”), 37-B MRSA ��701-850 confers emergency powers upon the Governor in civil emergencies;

WHEREAS, since October 1, 2013, Congress has failed to pass appropriations legislation for the 2014 fiscal year;

WHEREAS, the shutdown of federal government and the resultant impacts to the State of Maine have unexpectedly extended beyond a time period manageable by the State of Maine;

WHEREAS, the State of Maine funds hundreds of state programs with federal grant moneys that are not currently available due to the federal shutdown;

WHEREAS, the State of Maine regularly employs thousands of workers whose positions are funded either entirely or partially by federal moneys;

WHEREAS, the loss of federal revenue disrupts state services and interferes with the Governor’s ability to meet his obligation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Maine citizens;

WHEREAS, there may be statutory or regulatory obligations with which the state is unable to comply due to impacts from the federal shutdown;

WHEREAS, Departments and Agencies of the Executive Branch of the State of Maine may be unable to comply with, carry out or enforce their laws or provide state services;

WHEREAS, Congress has failed to pass appropriations legislation to meet its obligation to fund the employment of thousands of State of Maine employees over a prolonged period of time;

WHEREAS, it is unknown at this time whether appropriation legislation ultimately passed by Congress will fund and authorize reimbursement of the State’s expenditures since October 1, 2013 which were made in reliance on previously promised federal funding;

WHEREAS, the State of Maine has incurred the cost of wages of the aforementioned State of Maine employees due to the lapse of previously promised federal funding;

WHEREAS, the Governor has no authority to continue to pay these wages that the federal government is failing to fund; WHEREAS, the State of Maine has a severely constrained budget and the Governor has no authority to continue to make payments that have not been appropriated;

WHEREAS, these constraints prohibit the State of Maine from continuing to employ workers whose positions the federal government is failing to fund;

WHEREAS, this substantially affects the means by which the Executive Branch may faithfully execute the laws in accordance with Article V, Part First, Section 12 of the Maine Constitution;

WHEREAS, these stated constraints and circumstances give rise to a civil emergency within the meaning of the Maine Civil Emergency Preparedness Act, 37-B MRSA 701 et. Seq; and,

WHEREAS, the CEPA empowers the Governor, upon declaration of a civil emergency, to minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from the emergency;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of Maine, and after finding that the aforementioned conditions constitute a civil emergency within the meaning of 37B M.R.S.A. � 742, I do hereby declare a State of Civil Emergency as of October 9, 2013 and exercise my authority to suspend strict compliance with laws or rules that prevent, hinder, and delay effective management of the emergency.

Florida | Health officials report additional cases linked to multistate salmonella outbreak

The Florida Department of Health has been notified that three additional cases of salmonellosis in Florida residents are linked to Foster Farms chicken by DNA fingerprinting, bringing the total to four cases in Florida.

Three cases reside in Miami-Dade County and the fourth case was reported in Brevard County. These results are based on current information and may be adjusted as new information becomes available. The Department is working together with the CDC and USDA in the ongoing investigation.

“Individuals who have eaten the suspect chicken and experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps should seek medical attention,” said Dr. Anna Marie Likos, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection Director and State Epidemiologist. “The Department will continue to monitor the situation and inform the public as new information becomes available.”

Consumers who believe they have been sickened by eating contaminated chicken should contact their local health department and provide any available information about the chicken. Consumers who have purchased any samples from the problematic plant numbers P6137, P6137A, and P7632 should dispose of the chicken in order to protect
themselves and their families.

Salmonellosis is an infection with Salmonella, a group of bacteria (germs) that can cause illness in humans. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment other than oral fluids. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads outside of the intestines.

What can I do to prevent salmonellosis?

· Cook poultry, meats (including ground meats) and eggs thoroughly. Using a meat thermometer is the only way to be sure you have cooked meat to a proper temperature.
· If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
· Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
· Use one cutting board for raw animal proteins and another for other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
· Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, elderly, and immunocompromised.
· Do not work with raw poultry or meat and handle an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.

For more information, visit:
http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Zoonoses/Salmonella.html

North Carolina | NCEM achieves EMAP re-accreditation

EMAPseal_web

Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry today announced that the state’s Emergency Management program has been granted full re-accreditation by the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).

“This is yet another affirmation of what an outstanding group of emergency managers we have in North Carolina,” Secretary Perry said.  “Time and time again our local, state and federal agencies and volunteer organizations prove they are up to the challenge and can respond to any emergency.”

The EMAP accreditation is a voluntary process for state and local government programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for natural or man-made disasters. It affirms an agency’s ability to bring together staff and resources from a variety of organizations to prepare for, respond to and recover from any given emergency, and validates that agency can provide continuous and consistent response to disasters. The EMAP process evaluates several areas including: planning, resource management, training, exercises, evaluations and corrective actions, communications and warnings. The accreditation status is valid for five years after which time the agency must be reassessed and recertified to ensure they are compliant with EMAP procedures and standards.

After months of preparation, NCEM staff worked with trained EMAP assessors last spring as they conducted a peer-review assessment of the agency’s programs and practices to ensure the division was in compliance with 64 national standards. Assessors examined 18 capability categories ranging from Hazard Mitigation to Incident Management to Crisis Communications.

“In many ways, re-accreditation is even more arduous than the initial qualification process, requiring an extensive review of all aspects of our state’s emergency management programs, including ways we’ve improved our response plan and program,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “To be recommended for full-accreditation with no deficiencies is a rare accomplishment and is extremely gratifying.”

In 2008, North Carolina became the eleventh state to earn national accreditation. There are now 30 states and 15 local jurisdictions which have earned accreditation status.

“I’m extremely proud of our staff and the partnerships we’ve forged with local responders to prepare for and respond to all types of disasters,” said Sprayberry.

North Carolina | Gov McCrory proclaims Oct 17 as Earthquake Preparedness Day

Sprayberry-EQprep-web

In proclaiming October 17 as Earthquake Preparedness Day, Governor Pat McCrory reminds North Carolinians how to protect themselves by using three simple steps: drop, cover and hold.

“Parts of North Carolina felt tremors this past year, and while they are uncommon, earthquakes do happen here and it is always best to be prepared,” Governor McCrory said.

North Carolina joins six other Southeastern states in the second Great SouthEast ShakeOut, an earthquake exercise, scheduled at 10:17 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17.

“Ground shaking from earthquakes typically lasts only a minute or two, but aftershocks can continue for several days,” said North Carolina’s Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.  “It only takes a few minutes to rehearse what to do in such an emergency, and I encourage everyone to take part in the SouthEast ShakeOut.”

Emergency Management officials are asking homeowners, businesses and schools to register their participation on the website, www.ShakeOut.org/southeast.  Participants will be notified of events in their area and receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

Recommended actions to stay safe in an earthquake:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take cover under a sturdy desk or table
  • Hold on to the desk until the shaking stops.
  • If there is no table or desk nearby, crouch in an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
  • Stay away from bookshelves, lamps, TVs, cabinets and other objects as much as possible. Such items may fall and cause injuries.

Do not get in a doorway. They are not safe and do not protect you from falling or flying objects.

Do not run outside. Running in an earthquake is dangerous. The ground is moving making it easy to fall or be injured by falling structures, trees, debris or glass.

The Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) is coordinating the SouthEast ShakeOut event with North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia to promote earthquake awareness and preparedness.

New Hampshire | DHHS identifies additional horse positive for EEE

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announces a positive test result for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a horse from Deerfield.

This finding necessitates increasing the risk level in Deerfield from “Remote” to “High.” Towns surrounding Deerfield, including Northwood, Nottingham, Candia, Raymond, Epsom, Allenstown and Hooksett will be raised to “Moderate.”

“Even though it is October,” said Dr. José Montero, Public Health Director at DHHS, “there are still mosquitoes around and therefore the risk for more cases of EEE and West Nile virus. Until there is a killing frost that covers the entire State it is important that people protect against mosquito bites no matter where you live.”

So far this season New Hampshire’s Public Health Lab has tested 5,121 batches of mosquitoes. Of those, 14 have tested positive for WNV and 20 tested positive for EEE. One person was also diagnosed with WNV, and two other horses were found positive for EEE earlier in the season. There have been no positive tests for animals with WNV.

EEE is a serious disease that carries a high mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck. There is no treatment for the disease, which can lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to 10 days after being bitten. Symptoms of WNV disease often appear 4 to 10 days after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical provider.

Questions about EEE and WNV can be answered by calling the toll free EEE/West Nile Virus information line at 1-866-273-6453. You can also find extensive information about both diseases on our website www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm

Vermont | Emergency notification system launched in state

Vermonters have a new tool at their disposal to stay informed of pending disasters, weather conditions, public health notifications, and countless other alerts that could affect themselves or their loved ones.

Vermont Alert (www.vtalert.gov) is a free service for users. It allows the public to sign up and receive notifications through a number of delivery systems, including text, e-mail, telephone, or even a game console. Vermont Alert is hosted and maintained by the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (VT DEMHS) and is available to all emergency response agencies in the state in order to allow for localized alerts.

“We’ve seen over the past couple of years the value of speedy and accurate information as emergency situations develop,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said. “This new system will give Vermonters a head start in preparing for storms or other hazardous conditions.”

Users will create accounts, then chose their local area and what types of alerts they wish to receive, as well as which delivery system they prefer.

For example, you can receive weather advisories as they are issued from the National Weather Service. Local fire, police, and other local emergency responders will soon be able to issue alerts.

“We have worked long and hard to bring Vermont Alert to fruition,” Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Joe Flynn said. “This provides not only the state, but local responders with another tool to mitigate the effects of disasters on Vermont and its citizenry – at no direct cost to those local response organizations.”

Vermont Alert is modeled after New York Alert, which has been in operation since 2006, and was designed by the state of New York. Vermont paid $58,000 for the system.

Local jurisdictions will receive training on the system throughout the coming months.

Sign up for an account today by visiting www.vtalert.gov.

 

For more information contact VT DEMHS Public Information Officer Mark Bosma at 800-347-0488.

Examples of use:

• There is a large structure fire in a downtown. The local fire department can write and distribute a press release through VT Alert. Can contact the public directly with an evacuation notice (phone, text, or e-mail), issue a travel alert for motorists to avoid the area, and alert the public of any public health hazards from smoke.

• A wildfire is burning. Nearby towns can issue evacuation orders and notify residents in the affected area directly (via phone, text, or e-mail). Press releases can be written on and distributed through Vermont Alert and the National Weather Service can issue an Air Quality warning if the fire warrants such a notification.

• An accident on Interstate-91 is blocking the road. The State Police can write and distribute a press release regarding the accident. The Agency of Transportation can issue a travel advisory and outline alternate routes. VTrans can then notify the public when the road has re-opened.

• A tropical storm is occurring in Vermont.

o In the state Emergency Operations Center VT DEMHS and partners can:

Prepare and release Emergency Alert System messages.

Prepare and distribute press releases and special notifications regarding conditions

Post state road closures

Post public health alerts

Post locations of emergency shelters

Automatically populate social media with information above

The National Weather Service can issue storm Watches and Warnings

o Local communities can:

Issue evacuation warnings

Post local road closures

Post public health alerts

• In the aftermath of a storm the state and federal government can post notifications about disaster aid to individuals and communities.

Maine | CDC investigates Hep A case at small community event in Durham

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is investigating a case of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection that has been traced to a community event in Durham.

A person infected with HAV prepared and served food at the Durham Friends Meetinghouse on Saturday, September 28. Approximately 100 people attended the church supper.

When administered within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A, vaccination is very effective in preventing illness. The end of the two-week window for effective treatment is this Saturday, October 12. The Maine CDC is urging those who attended the event and anyone who ate food prepared at the event to attend a free hepatitis A vaccination clinic Wednesday, October 9. It will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Durham Eureka Community Center located at 605 Hallowell Road in Durham.

HAV is an illness caused by a virus which affects the liver. “It can be particularly severe in people who have chronic liver disease,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Maine CDC Director, “But the good news is that HAV is 100 percent preventable by vaccine.”

Maine CDC staff went to the church on Sunday and has been working with church officials to conduct vigorous outreach to those who may have been exposed to the virus. HAV is most commonly spread through consumption of contaminated food and is not spread through casual contact. Some signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine and jaundice. Adults are more likely to show signs and symptoms of illness than children.

A healthcare provider can diagnose hepatitis A through a blood test. For more information, contact Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 or your healthcare provider.

Connecticut | WNv-positive mosquitoes identified in 22 towns this season

The State Mosquito Management Program today released an update on mosquito trapping and testing results. This season both West Nile virus (WNV)- and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus- infected mosquitoes have been identified in Connecticut.

“Although mosquito populations are declining, mosquitoes infected with West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis viruses are still present in several areas of the state,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). “Considering the warm weather recently, it is important that people continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

Since June 27, the CAES has identified WNV-positive mosquitoes at trap sites in 22 towns: Branford, Bridgeport, Darien, East Haven, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Manchester, New Haven, North Branford, Norwalk, Plainfield, Stafford, Stamford, Stratford, Voluntown, Wallingford, Waterford, West Haven, Westport and Wilton. The most recent positive mosquitoes were trapped in North Branford on September 24th. Two Connecticut residents have been diagnosed with WNV-associated illnesses including a Stratford resident, 60-69 years with onset of illness during the last week of July, and a Stamford resident, 80-89 years with onset during the third week of August. Both are recovering.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Since July 10, mosquitoes with EEE virus have been identified in 5 towns: Haddam, Hampton, North Stonington, Plainfield and Voluntown. The most recent positive mosquitoes were trapped on September 24th in North Stonington and Voluntown. A horse stabled in Griswold died from EEE-associated illness during the second week of September. During early to mid-September pheasants in a farm flock in Killingly and a flock in Sprague died from EEE infections. No human EEE infections have been identified.

The numbers and types of mosquitoes with EEE identified in the Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown prompted the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to temporarily close part of the forest to recreational activities and to conduct ultra-low volume ground spraying to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Pachaug State Forest is now open to daytime activities but overnight camping remains prohibited.

With the start of hunting season, those who will be spending time outdoors are encouraged to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including using insect repellent. In addition, hunters are reminded that, as with all game, they should take proper precautions when handling birds, including wearing gloves when field dressing, not consuming game that appears sickly, and thoroughly cooking all game meats.

For information on West Nile virus and EEE, including what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes and the latest mosquito test results, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.