Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published May 07, 2009, 08:15 AM

Our View: S.D. shows readiness in case of an outbreak

It’s not necessarily an “all-clear” signal, but statements made in recent days by the South Dakota Department of Health have shown the agency is downgrading its response to the H1N1 influenza virus.
Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health this week said it is no longer recommending school dismissal or closure of child care facilities in response to the virus. It noted that two child care facilities in Sioux Falls were notified they may reopen.

It’s not necessarily an “all-clear” signal, but statements made in recent days by the South Dakota Department of Health have shown the agency is downgrading its response to the H1N1 influenza virus.

Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health this week said it is no longer recommending school dismissal or closure of child care facilities in response to the virus. It noted that two child care facilities in Sioux Falls were notified they may reopen.

What’s next with H1N1?

New guidelines from the CDC, and in turn the Department of Health, call for facilities to treat H1N1 as a seasonal influenza. That means students or staff of all facilities that show symptoms should just stay home while they are potentially infectious. Good hygiene is, of course, still recommended, and that means covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands frequently.

The policy changes come after “it now appears that the disease caused by this new virus is similar to what we see with seasonal influenza and is not causing unusually severe illness,” said Doneen Hollingsworth, our state’s secretary of health.

So the H1N1 virus scare appears to be tapering, and we’re glad to see it go.

In the past 10 days or so in South Dakota, we’ve seen two day-care facilities temporarily close, more than 1,000 negative tests and three probable cases, although the first of those cases proved not to be H1N1. The other two are still pending.

Influenza containment plans were implemented statewide.

In the end, all the hype has led to zero hospitalizations.

Yet we’re proud of the way South Dakota reacted in the first days of uncertainty. As we learned of the outbreak, there certainly was an air of apprehension throughout America; yet here in South Dakota, all the preparations that have been conducted in the past few years gave us assurance that we have plans in place for just such an outbreak.

South Dakota was aggressive in this fight. The state tested more specimens than seven states in this region, including Minnesota and Iowa, which have much larger populations.

It’s good to know the H1N1 virus was taken seriously in our state. The past week also shows us that when the next outbreak threatens, South Dakota will be ready.

Tags: