Governor declares state of emergency because of swine flu

New York Gov. David Paterson has declared a state of emergency because of the rise in swine flu case

New York Gov. David Paterson has declared a state of emergency because of the rise in swine flu cases.

The executive order means that far more health care professionals — including dentists — will be permitted to administer vaccines with only brief training. The order is needed to suspend provisions of state law.

State officials say the number of vaccine doses is also being increased. The federal government is ramping up availability of the vaccine, allowing the state to order twice as many doses as a week ago, a trend that’s expected to continue.

The executive order obtained by The Associated Press says at least 75 deaths in the state have been attributed to the swine flu.

In a related development, Mechanicville City School District Physician Carl W. Sgambati met with school administrators and the Board of Education this week to discuss a strategy for dealing with H1N1 flu.

As a result, the district has extended the hours and number of cleaners on staff in an effort to cut down on the spread of the illness.

Superintendent of Schools Michael McCarthy said the cleaning staff at the middle and high schools are reporting for work earlier than usual to disinfect desk tops and door handles in order to prevent the spread of the flu.

“The district will be hiring two 8-hour per day substitute cleaners, one for the elementary school and one for the middle school/high school to assist the existing staff in the extra duties required to prevent the spread of the flu,” he said, adding the nurses’ offices in school are getting special attention due to increased numbers of ill children.

In a letter to parents on Monday, Sgambati said five confirmed cases of H1N1 have been diagnosed in the district.

“I suspect from this initial outbreak that the H1N1 virus will spread quite quickly through the student body and the community at large,” he wrote. “Therefore, I am sending this message out with the hope of inspiring a calm and reasoned approach for all of us during this very active 2009-10 flu season.”

He urged parents to get vaccinated against the seasonal and so-called swine flu.

“Remember, we are at the beginning of a very long and likely active flu season, and as the parents/guardians of our children we are their primary caregivers. They are depending on us to act responsibly, so please do not put others at risk by sending a sick child to school,” he said.

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