An influenza pandemic as severe as the 1918 pandemic could cause nearly a million Utahns to become ill and result in over 350,000 outpatient doctor visits, 80,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths over the course of a year. Critical assumptions used in developing this plan included: 1) outbreaks would probably occur widely across the state and nation, limiting the ability to share resources among jurisdictions; 2) vaccine would not be available until several months had elapsed; 3) shortages of critical medicines (including antiviral medications) and other supplies would occur; 4) capacity to provide medical care would be severely stressed or exceeded; and 5) absenteeism rates and fear would stress the abilities to maintain business continuity and to provide for essential community services including police, fire, water, food, transportation and sanitation.
The goals of this plan are, first, to minimize serious illness and death, and second, to limit societal disruption and economic losses. The plan is intended to coordinate with global and national plans developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It outlines responsibilities and activities in six areas (Planning and Coordination; Public and Risk Communications; Surveillance, Investigation and Containment; Vaccine Management and Administration, Antiviral Medication Stockpiling and Use; Laboratory Testing, and Health Care and Emergency Response). It uses the three pandemic planning phases outlined by WHO (Inter-Pandemic, Pandemic Alert, and Pandemic Periods), the U.S. Federal Stages, and introduces Utah Pandemic Response Levels.
This plan outlines activities and responsibilities for government public health agencies and builds upon preparedness assets developed at federal, state, and local levels of government and in the private sector. The Plan incorporates work by several advisory bodies, including a Pandemic Influenza Planning Committee (2005-2006), the Pandemic Influenza Workgroup (2006-ongoing), and the Governor’s Pandemic Influenza Taskforce, which met in 2006-2007 and developed recommendations that are included in and will set the stage for the next phase of this planning process.