News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 21, 2009

Public library, Indiana State preparing for possible H1N1 outbreak

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library has joined the growing list of agencies and organizations preparing for a possible H1N1 pandemic.

On Monday, the library board planned to discuss issues related to a possible temporary closure if a pandemic occurred.

“It is an internal document indicating what we would do should the local authorities ask us to close,” said Nancy Dowell, director of the Vigo County Public Library. “We are also revising some of our staff policies about who would be paid.”

As director, Dowell can close the library if county health officials deem it important to prevent the spread of pandemic influenza.

The library can continue internal operations and limited public remote services, Dowell said.

The library’s flu procedures include training sessions on protecting workers from the H1N1 virus and best practices such as frequent handwashing; avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth; using hand sanitizers and face masks; and staying home if sick. Workers, if possible, are to speak directly with a supervisor or human resources person to report that they are unable to work.

Meanwhile, Indiana State University is preparing on several fronts.

It has set up an infirmary that will serve as an isolation unit for students diagnosed with Influenza A who are unable to go home.

The 24-bed isolation unit is located in the former LeClub space of Hulman Memorial Student Union.

The university prefers that students diagnosed with influenza A go home to recuperate, but recognizes that that won’t always be possible.

The isolation unit has a lounge area with a television; it also has tables, a microwave and refrigerator. ISU will arrange to take food to any students who must stay there.

Two ISU students have been diagnosed with influenza A. While neither case has been confirmed as H1N1, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that cases of influenza A be treated as H1N1, said Tara Singer, ISU spokeswoman.

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