CDPH Also Announces Contract to Lead the H1N1 Prevention Media Campaign
Following an announcement by Governor Schwarzenegger, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is deploying half of the state’s emergency stockpile of N95 respirators to local health departments for dispersal to hospitals and clinics so they will have them on hand to ensure they can protect patients and themselves from the spread of H1N1 in health care settings and continue to safely provide care to those infected with H1N1.
“These 25 million respirators are tools of the trade for the safety of patients and health care workers,” said Dr. Mark Horton, director of CDPH. “We were forward-thinking when we purchased these devices; we have the largest supply in the country, and the time is now to use them wisely.”
Truckloads of the N95s, part of the state’s stockpile of emergency medical supplies, are on their way around the state to be used by health care workers as needed. Meanwhile, Horton said, California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal OSHA) has released new guidance to the health care community for the proper use of the respirators. In 2006, the State purchased the cache of respirators as part of its pandemic planning.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to observe widespread activity from the H1N1 (2009) influenza virus in the state. To date, there have been more than 3,500 H1N1-related hospitalizations, and 233 deaths. Although H1N1 is causing more severe illness in young children, persons with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women, and healthy persons can also have serious illness.
The California Department of Public Health also continues to coordinate with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the distribution of H1N1 vaccine.
Horton said as of this week, California has registered more than 12,000 providers who will be able to administer vaccine. Vaccinators had ordered more than 1.7 million doses of H1N1 vaccine in California, but because of delays in manufacturing the vaccine Californians will have to remain patient and check with their providers and public health departments for availability.
“We fully expect that, in time, enough vaccine will be available for everyone who wants to get vaccinated,” said Horton. “Meanwhile, continue to fight the flu by using common sense—washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick until 24 hours after symptoms and fever pass.”
Horton also announced today that a vendor has been chosen from a field of nine applicants to lead a seven million dollar media campaign to raise awareness this flu season. The federally funded campaign, which will use mass media, social networking and multi-cultural outreach was awarded to the partnership of Edelman and M&C Satcchi, following a review by a team comprised of California state employees with backgrounds in influenza prevention, social marketing and media relations.