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Healthcare providers reporting higher than normal number of flu cases in Grant County

Healthcare providers reporting higher than normal number of flu cases in Grant County

The Grant County Health District (GCHD) reported that they have received over 200 positive influenza lab reports in Grant County. Most of the cases are from the past two weeks, and were located in Moses Lake, Quincy, and Mattawa. Additionally, several Moses Lake schools are reporting 10% absenteeism.

 

Since early December, GCHD has been in communication with healthcare providers and schools as the reports are positive flu cases began to increase.

 

With the higher than normal number of flu cases, Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny wants residents to know that the flu vaccine is still their best protection.

 

“The flu is in our communities year-long but is now increasing at significant numbers which tells us the seasonal epidemic of influenza has started,” states Dr. Brzezny.

 

With holiday travel quickly approaching GCHD urges all residents 6 months and older to get their flu shot as soon as possible. Currently, there is no shortage of flu vaccine and it is widely available through clinics and pharmacies.

 

Grant County Health Officer declares gonorrhea outbreak

Grant County Health Officer declares gonorrhea outbreak

Grant County Health Officer, Dr. Alexander Brzezny, has declared a gonorrhea outbreak due to the sharp increase in the number of gonorrhea cases in Grant County. Public Health nurses are working closely with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and health care providers to increase testing, reporting, and treatment for gonorrhea. According to Grant County Health, the more people that are tested and treated will reduce the disease being spread between people.

Gonorrhea is a treatable, sexually transmitted disease (STD) that rarely has symptoms in its early stages, especially in women. Gonorrhea can be found through a simple urine test and is treated with inexpensive antibiotics. Because this STD has so few symptoms, testing is extremely important.

INBC and PSBC host Apple Cup Blood Drive competition

INBC and PSBC host Apple Cup Blood Drive competition

Cougar and Huskies fans have yet another reason to get competitive this week. This year, the Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) and the Puget Sound Blood Center (PSBC) have teamed up host an Apple Cup Blood Drive to see which fan base can donate the most blood for Washington.

 

Along with providing one group of fans additional bragging rights, donors will have a chance to win one of two $500 Visa Gift cards. INBC's Marketing Communication Officer, Elizabeth Giles, said as of Friday, Husky fans led by 100 donations, but the Cougs still have plenty of opportunities to catch up this week.

 

FEMA wants you to participate in earthquake drill Thursday

FEMA wants you to participate in earthquake drill Thursday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging participation in a national earthquake drill this Thursday, October 16.

FEMA says over 40 states are at risk of earthquakes, but surveys report fewer than one-third of adults have participated in a drill in the last year. That's why they're spreading the word about this year's Great ShakeOut.

“Past practice and previous participation in a drill can make all the difference in an emergency,” FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said. “Everyone should know how to drop to the ground, cover themselves under a sturdy table or desk, and hold on to it until the shaking stops. It needs to happen with enough regularity that it becomes second nature during an actual earthquake.

At 10:16 am local time, participants should do the following:

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all Washington kids, Mr. Yuk needs your help! The lovable mascot of the Washington Poison Center wants children to send in their best artwork for the 8th annual statewide Poison Prevention Poster Contest.

The Washington Poison Center uses the contest to reminder parents and children to be vigilant about poisons and drugs. The winning poster will be part of the 2015 Poison Prevention Week campaign celebrated across the state during the third week in March.

The Poison Center is looking for young artists to create poison safety awareness through eye-catching posters displaying suggestions on how Mr. Yuk helps them avoid being poisoned. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 12 in Washington State. The top prize earns $500, a visit from Mr. Yuk to their school or program, a trip to the Capitol to meet their legislators and having their winning design featured as the poster for Poison Prevention Week. Four runners-up will receive $100 in the mail, and all contest participants will receive a gift from Mr. Yuk in the mail.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.