Flu concerns keep call center busy

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - There is now another confirmed case of the swine flu in Virgina.

The State Health Commissioner said Saturday that one of the two probable swine flu cases announced Friday at Washington and Lee University in Lexington is, in fact, the H1N1 virus.

With three confirmed and one other likely case here in the Commonwealth, Virginia health officials decided to staff a call center throughout the weekend to answer public questions.

Hundreds of calls have been pouring in to the call center since it opened up Thursday morning.

On that first day, the two most frequent questions were is it safe to eat pork and is it safe to travel?

The dynamic has shifted a bit now that there are confirmed cases here in the Commonwealth.

Dr. Julia Murphy says now that swine flu is in Wirginia many questions she's getting involve personal health and safety.

"The calls we've been taking, a lot of them have to do with folks who don't feel so well and they are not quite sure what do to," she said.

Staff members are urging people who feel sick to seek professional medical advice.

"If you are feeling like you have flu like symptoms or you are concerned about that kind of thing that you should call ahead to wherever you are seeking care in case they have any special recommendations for you prior to you entering into a emergency room or a crowded waiting room," said Dr. Murphy.

Also with swine flu confirmated at Washington and Lee and with the Commissioner of Health turning a lot of attention to preventing outbreaks within Virginia schools, questions related to colleges and universities are coming in too.

"We took (a call) earlier from a concerned parent who had gone to visit his son at a university and was asking about any kinds of signs or symptoms he should be aware of, how concerned should he be," Dr. Murphy said.

The call center will be open again Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The number to call is 1-877-ASK-VDH3.

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