Monday, September 21, 2009

Hudson Could Overflow During Possible Flu Outbreak

By Pat Henderson

For the last two weeks students going to Hudson Health Center were turned away. Health administrators told Athens MidDay they just didn't have the staff to take care of all the patients. Now many students are asking what this could mean if there is a flu outbreak?

Interim Director of the health center, Jackie Legg, says the Unversity and Hudson are working together on a plan for a potential H1N1 outbreak. Legg says the current staffing situation is circumstantial and things should improve as the quarter goes on, as early as Monday.

The Long Wait
Athens MidDay reporter Jessica Neidhard conducted a field observation at Hudson during the second week of classes. She talked to several students who had been waiting for over an hour. One student waited for two hours to get a prescription for her asthma.

"I could have driven to Marietta and back. Had an appointment there and came back in the time I was sitting there," says fifth year Kerri Conway. "Hudson's always been really iffy. I never choose to go here, but if I have to I will." Conway says she doesn't think Hudson could handle a potential H1N1 outbreak.

Student Kerri Conway speaking about her visit to Hudson

At the end of week two of fall quarter, there were only three providers available to help students which is why the health center had to turn students away.

"When you have X number of providers you know how many patients you can see in a certain time frame," Legg says. Hudson Health Center lost three of seven doctors and nurses this month because of illness, surgery and a military call-up.

What if the Flu Hits?
Interrim director Legg says that if there were a large-scale flu outbreak like the one at Washington State University, Hudson could be overwhelmed.

Jackie Legg speaking about staffing and H1N1

A Plan for H1N1
Hudson administration and Ohio University have been working together on a plan to address the needs of faculty and students in the case of a potential outbreak. One proposed policy is controlling the flow of students into the health center. If students display flu symptoms, they will be directed to a separate waiting room.

Students with the flu will receive instructions and be asked to isolate themselves from others. The University has a website designated for the distribution of information on the H1N1 virus.

Jackie Legg speaking about university plans

Sick students will also receive alternate plans for class work.

"Students are going to be told not to go back to class until they are fever free without treatment," Legg says. "So that might have them be out of class for 4 to 5 days." The provost is working with faculty on developing ways of getting work to students who are sick.

Abigail Clem on her visit to Hudson

Griffen Weisberg on his visit to Hudson

Christine Fram her visit to Hudson

Hudson Health Center expected to be back up to full staff by Monday. Calls to the Health Center to confirm that were not returned Monday morning.

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