Date: 04/30/2009

H1N1 Briefing


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

01:34 PM -- H1N1 Briefing

Representative Riesberg called the joint hearing to order. He informed the audience that the committee would be briefed by the Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) about the recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus. Jim Martin, Executive Director of the DPHE, Dr. Ned Calonge, Chief Medical Officer of the DPHE, and Chris Lindley, Division Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, DPHE, introduced themselves to the committee.

1:36 PM -- Dr. Calonge stated that on April 21, 2009, the first case of the H1N1 was confirmed in San Diego, California. He stated that the source of virus is still unknown. He provided information regarding the status of the pandemic and stated that the World Health Organization recently increased the state of emergency to a level 5. Dr. Calonge stated that approximately 109 people have been infected in 11 states.

01:40 PM --
Dr. Calonge stated that Colorado has two confirmed cases, a woman from Arapahoe county who had been on a cruise and a man from Douglas County who is a baggage handler at Denver International Airport. He stated that the symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu. He stated that they are not sure why the virus appears to be more severe in Mexico. He stated that anyone with mild flu symptoms should stay at home and that children with fever should not go to school or daycare. He also stated that adults should not go to work if they have any symptoms. Dr. Calonge provided strategies to avoid the H1N1 virus. He stated that regular hand washing was key.

Dr. Calonge described the symptoms of the H1N1 flu. He stated that one cannot contract the virus from eating pork or coming into contact with pigs. He referred to a handout with information regarding the Colorado Help Line (Attachment A).


01:42 PM

Chris Lindley, Division Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, DPHE, spoke to the preparedness of the state. He stated that the various stakeholders have been reaching out to health care providers and community health clinics. He outlined the strategy that the division was using to spread the word on prevention and containment. He stated that every person in Colorado should have a personal preparedness kit that should contain two weeks worth of water and food. He stated that we should not be surprised if the numbers of infected individuals increase quickly. He referred to a handout that contained internet resource information (Attachment B).


01:48 PM

General Mason Whitney, Office of Homeland Security, stated every day at noon he has a conference call with the federal Homeland Security Department. He relayed to the federal department that Colorado had two confirmed cases. He applauded the information sharing between the various offices and departments regarding the H1N1 outbreak.

01:51 PM

Committee members asked several questions. Dr. Calonge stated that the virus has a five to seven day duration and that an individual can expect to feel poor for about three days. He stated that individuals with a fever should stay away from other for at least 48 hours and that the flu lasts approximately seven to ten days. He stated that approximately 36,000 people die from the flu each year, and that of that amount, approximately 700 to 800 die in Colorado. He stated that the cause of death is typically from a respiratory infection. He encouraged individuals to get vaccinated. Mr. Lindley reiterated what should be in a personal preparedness kit. Dr. Calonge spoke to how viruses mutate and stated that the definition of a pandemic is an epidemic that involves more than one continent.

02:16 PM

An article regarding the H1N1 flu virus from the Denver Post was provided to the committee (Attachment C). The committee adjourned.