Flu Epidemic Goes Under Review at Council Meeting
WETHERSFIELD - The winter’s flu epidemic, amongst other issues, was under review last night in a presentation delivered by the Central Connecticut Health District at Wethersfield’s Town Council meeting.

       The state saw a high volume of flu cases despite the administering of vaccinations, representatives from the CCHD, which serves 97,000 residents across Wethersfield, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Berlin, told the Council and members of the public.

       “It was one of the worst years, recently, for us, and for the state,” said CCHD Director Paul Hutcheon. “It seemed to hit the elderly harder than in other years.”

       Hutcheon admitted that the vaccinations did not have the intended flu-offsetting effect.

       “I’m sure you heard plenty of people say, ‘I got the vaccine, and I also got the flu’,” he said.

       Another problem was the ease at which the virus could be spread, according to Hutcheon.

       “Unfortunately you’re able to infect others before the symptoms show up,” Hutcheon said.

       The CCHD highlighted other health issues, including dental cleanings/screenings, teen driver safety, tobacco control, and nutrition, that fall within the agencies wide scope. The CCHD is largely volunteer-driven, with personnel providing in-home services, such as the flu vaccinations, to community members, Hutcheon said.

       Forty percent, or $385,209, of CCHD funding comes from its member towns as of the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to the presentation. Thirty-five percent, $344,517, is awarded in grants.

       The agency, which aims to promote healthy communities through programs established in collaboration with the towns it serves, is making plans to add digitalized components such as data and a rating system for local restaurants based on sanitation assessments, Hutcheon said. The CCHD also wants to use the web to spell out health-related trends.

       “We pulled in, in many cases, a 10-year comparison so we can see what the trends are,” Hutcheon said.

       The CCHD inspects over 800 licensed facilities, including pools, hotels, and dining establishments.