Las Cruces Prepares For H1N1

Las Cruces – Las Cruces city government is initiating an action plan to deal with an outbreak of the H1N1 Flu as the fall and winter flu season draws near.

The Las Cruces Fire Department is scheduled to deliver an in-depth presentation on the action plan at a city council work session Tuesday, September 29th at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

The City is working on strategies to ensure continuation of essential services, including public safety, utilities and social programs in the event of a flu outbreak or other unforeseen large scale event.

An action plan formulated by the Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) includes reducing risks of exposure to the flu by front line employees and employee succession planning.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that at the peak of an outbreak, community-wide worker absenteeism could be as high as 30 to 40 percent, and disruptions in transportation could slow the movement of essential supplies.

The city's action plan also calls for maintaining essential operations should city government experience high rates of employee absenteeism during long term outbreaks or outbreaks and events that occur in waves. The plan also calls for the possibility of reducing gatherings at City facilities to create social distancing in order to assist in slowing the spread of the flu, increasing the number of cross-trained personnel at all levels to cover essential services, and ensuring family and childcare support for essential workers. Additionally, the City would stockpile adequate levels of essential reserve materials and resources prior to an outbreak, and develop leave policies to accommodate sick or caretaker employees.

"We do not wish to create panic. However, we want to ensure the residents of Las Cruces that their city government is prepared to deal with any H1N1 related health threats, or any other large scale event that could adversely affect City services," said City Manager Terrence Moore.