Officials on alert for H1N1 virus

WINSTED — While Laurel City schools were not experiencing a severe outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus at press time, schools across the state have reported significant outbreaks, putting officials on alert for signs of the disease.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell asked the state Department of Public Health last week for an inventory of anti-viral medication in Connecticut and urged federal health officials to immediately release a second round of anti-viral medication from the Strategic National Stockpile. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised Connecticut’s flu activity classification to “widespread,†the highest level of activity, on Oct. 29.

“In one week, we have seen a dramatic increase in suspected cases of the H1N1 flu across the state, and it is vital that our hospitals and pharmacies have enough Tamiflu and Relenza on hand to meet any surge in demand,†Rell said.

In Winsted, several students at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) have missed classes this week, but school President Barbara Douglass said she hasn’t noticed a significant problem.

“What we’re finding is not any more unusual than the ordinary seasonal flus,†she said. “Last week we had a couple faculty out but nothing of an epidemic proportion of all. I don’t see any kind of closure of the school coming.â€

Douglass said NCCC students are in a somewhat safer environment than in many public schools.

“I think we have a little bit of an advantage over other places because we’re in 10 separate buildings and we’re taking precautions with hand sanitizers all over campus,†she said.

In April, the CDC provided Connecticut with more than 130,000 treatment courses of antiviral medication, or 25 percent of the state’s SNS allocation for distribution to acute care hospitals and community health centers. The drugs, either Tamiflu or Relenza, are administered in the early stages of the illness and lessen the severity and duration.

“The number of people coming down with the flu is growing rapidly, and we must take precautions,†Rell said. “This includes our request for the immediate release of more of Connecticut’s share of Tamiflu and Relenza from the national stockpile for those who develop influenza-like illness.â€

The drugs interfere with the ability of the virus to make copies of itself, which in turn helps the body fight the infection. Each treatment course is a 10-day supply of either Tamiflu or Relenza.

Douglass said Tuesday that the college remained in good health.

“Right now we don’t see anything that I would signify as alarming, but if you don’t feel well and you have flu symptoms, stay home,†she said.

For more information on H1N1 resources in Connecticut call the H1N1 hotline at 800-830-9426 or visit

Latest News

Robert J. Pallone

NORFOLK — Robert J. Pallone, 69, of Perkins St. passed away April 12, 2024, at St. Vincent Medical Center. He was a loving, eccentric CPA. He was kind and compassionate. If you ever needed anything, Bob would be right there. He touched many lives and even saved one.

Bob was born Feb. 5, 1955 in Torrington, the son of the late Joesph and Elizabeth Pallone.

Keep ReadingShow less
The artistic life of Joelle Sander

"Flowers" by the late artist and writer Joelle Sander.

Cornwall Library

The Cornwall Library unveiled its latest art exhibition, “Live It Up!,” showcasing the work of the late West Cornwall resident Joelle Sander on Saturday, April 13. The twenty works on canvas on display were curated in partnership with the library with the help of her son, Jason Sander, from the collection of paintings she left behind to him. Clearly enamored with nature in all its seasons, Sander, who split time between her home in New York City and her country house in Litchfield County, took inspiration from the distinctive white bark trunks of the area’s many birch trees, the swirling snow of Connecticut’s wintery woods, and even the scenic view of the Audubon in Sharon. The sole painting to depict fauna is a melancholy near-abstract outline of a cow, rootless in a miasma haze of plum and Persian blue paint. Her most prominently displayed painting, “Flowers,” effectively builds up layers of paint so that her flurry of petals takes on a three-dimensional texture in their rough application, reminiscent of another Cornwall artist, Don Bracken.

Keep ReadingShow less
A Seder to savor in Sheffield

Rabbi Zach Fredman

Zivar Amrami

On April 23, Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield will host “Feast of Mystics,” a Passover Seder that promises to provide ecstasy for the senses.

“’The Feast of Mystics’ was a title we used for events back when I was running The New Shul,” said Rabbi Zach Fredman of his time at the independent creative community in the West Village in New York City.

Keep ReadingShow less