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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Westport Officials Meet on Flu Outbreak; Mask Sales Soar

Westport’s emergency management team met today to discuss the town’s preparations for a pandemic flu outbreak while getting an update from state officials, including Governor M. Jodi Rell. WestportNow.com Image
Russell Levine, pharmacist and owner of Colonial Surgical Supply and Druggist, Inc. on Post Road East reported a run on protective masks and anti-flu medicine. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff convened the mid-day meeting as Westport pharmacies reported a run on protective masks as well as medications used to treat swine flu.

“Westporters need to know that we have plans in place to cope with a flu outbreak and while there is a need for vigilance, there is no reason for panic,” he said.

Among those also participating in the meeting were Fire Chief Christopher Ackley, Police Chief Alfred Fiore, Mark A. R. Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, and Human Services Director Barbara Butler.

The officials listened in on a conference call with Rell and representatives from the state Department of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

At Colonial Surgical Supply and Druggist, Inc., at 611 Post Road East, pharmacist and owner Russell Levine said he was having a hard time keeping up with demand for protective masks and had sold about 1,200 over the past three days.

His wholesalers and distributors have had their supplies depleted, he said, adding: “That’s why we’re limiting purchases to 10 masks per customer.”

He said that there “has been a huge demand” for Relenza and Tamiflu, two drugs that have been approved for treatment of swine flu. 

Dave Matlow contributed reporting for this story.

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Posted 04/30/09 at 10:29 PM  Permalink



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