From pew to classrooms, swine flu prep sweeps Ohio - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

From pew to classrooms, swine flu prep sweeps Ohio

Ohio hospitals, colleges, churches and businesses are preparing for a swine flu epidemic with extensive planning for a variety of scenarios.

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus and Akron Children's Hospital are among medical centers that developed emergency plans in case a full-fledged epidemic hits.

Nationwide's plan, developed more than two years ago, will covert doctors' clinics into flu clinics, erect a tent outside the emergency department and staff it with doctors and nurses to funnel flu patients to the clinics.

Xavier University has a recovery center ready to open if cases outgrow the university's current treatment areas.

Baldwin-Wallace College is handing out masks, thermometers and hand wipes to students who stop by the health center.

Students at Kent State and Ohio State universities got word before classes started to bring medicine, tissue boxes and a thermometer with them to school.

Two years ago, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland began changing toilets from manual to automatic flush to reduce the risk of passing along infection. Businesses such as American Electric Power have stockpiled flu kits for employees and revised their sick leave policies.

Nationwide plans to spend $302,000 on seasonal flu vaccines for its 35,000 workers, even though one in three employees say they don't want the shot.

At St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in North Canton, the chalice holding wine for Holy Communion will not be shared with parishioners. St. Paul's has also placed hand sanitizers at the front of the church for Eucharist ministers who distribute the host, or wafer.

 At Canton's Shaaray Torah Synagogue, Cantor Bruce Braun said members aren't shaking hands for now so germs aren't spread. Dayton schools sent permission slips home Friday with the district's 14,500 students that would allow the district to vaccinate them for swine flu later this month. The district will use its 30 registered nurses and other support staff to conduct the clinics at each of its schools.

At the sprawling Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, with 5,000 active-duty air personnel, officials with the 88th Medical Group are keeping a close eye on the base day care centers.

The Ohio News Organization, a group of Ohio's eight largest newspapers, reported Sunday on swine flu planning and tips for staying healthy.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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