State awards $600,000 for pandemic flu planning

State awards $600,000 for pandemic flu planning
Gov. Mike Rounds said the state is awarding $601,724 in grants to health care entities and city, county and tribal governments for pandemic influenza planning on the local level.

� "When we gathered back in March for South Dakota's pandemic flu summit, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding reminded us all that state and national plans for pandemic flu are not enough. Local community plans are also critical and that's why we're providing this funding," said Gov. Rounds.

� The 21 applications selected for funding represent a mix of health care, city, county and tribal governments from rural and urban areas across the state. Gov. Rounds said the intent is that the applicants will develop plans that not only meet their own community needs but that can also be used as models for other South Dakota communities to develop plans.

The funding comes to the state Department of Health through a federal pandemic flu planning grant. This the first phase of funding and the state anticipates additional federal dollars will be available in the future for planning.

"We all need to recognize that in a pandemic it will not be business as usual. The likelihood is that a pandemic will be occurring simultaneously across states and communities, which means we will not be able to shift resources from one area to another as we're able to do with other disasters such as blizzards or forest fires," said the Governor.

"That's why it's so critical that communities create their own plans now for how they will take care of themselves and keep essential services going in a pandemic. Individuals should be doing the same."

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