H1N1 spike hits hard

By on November 4, 2009

This is a follow-up to an article that ran in this week’s print edition. “QU activating H1N1 isolation zone” can be found here.

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Kathryn Macaione has worked at Quinnipiac for almost 40 years, but Tuesday, when more than 50 students went to Student Health Services, was something brand new for the director of student health services.

“I’ve never, ever had a day like that day,” she told The Chronicle Thursday afternoon.

But Macaione, alongside Joe Rubertone, associate vice president for facilities administration, has been working with the Connecticut Department of Health to keep up with the latest on H1N1 prevention and treatment. According to Rubertone, there is a “good chance” that the H1N1 flu vaccine may become available at Quinnipiac.

“As we move forward with this, the H1N1 vaccine is going to become more plentiful,” Rubertone said. “We are keeping our oar in the water there, to get some of these doses to make them available.”

The first to receive the vaccine would be Macaione’s staff and compromised students, Macaione said.

While the next step in dealing with H1N1 has not been discussed specifically, Rubertone mentioned making use of the five weeks during winter break, Thanksgiving break and even spring break to make up time.

“It’s possible we could even go into some Saturday classes,” he said. “We haven’t really broached that. What we’re trying to do with this isolation ward is keep us from going to that stage.”

As of Thursday afternoon, three students were in the isolation ward.

“I would personally like to correlate the fifty sick ones over the weekend to how many took the bus to New Haven Thursday and Friday night,” Rubertone said. “But we won’t do that.”

“And how many are going to be out there tonight, waiting to go to Toad’s, sitting on top of each other?” Macaione asked with a laugh.

When asked if Macaione expected the same spike following this weekend, she did not know.

“I would hope not,” she said.

According to Macaione, no specific group or dormitory has been hit especially hard by the flu.

“They’re all over,” she said. “Even off-campus housing, commuters, graduate students. It’s been the whole gamut.”

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