Topeka (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Wednesday that it is now following new testing procedures for the H1N1 virus.
KDHE says it's no longer accepting specimens from everyone who sees a doctor with symptoms.
It will continue collecting samples from hospitalized patients, along with a limited number of speciments and random samples from a network of clinics across the state so they can monitor the spread of the disease.
State Health Officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips says any testing done in non-hospitalized cases would not affect the treatment advice given to doctors and patients. In addition, he says, even the reduced testing will stretch the state's lab capicity to the limit this fall and winter.
In addition, Dr. Eberhart-Phillips issued a joint statement with the Board of Regents, offering reassurances to college students, saying H1N1 can be effectively controlled on campuses.
“Public colleges and universities have been working hard to stay ahead of the curve in their efforts to reduce the risks of H1N1 spread on their campuses,” said Reginald L. Robinson, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “Sending ill students home or otherwise distancing them from others are effective ways to reduce the spread. It is critically important for us to communicate constantly and consistently about these issues if we are to effectively combat the spread of rumor and misunderstanding about the risks to student health.”
Officials say the state's colleges and universities are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and KDHE.
“Colleges and universities are doing the best things that they can do to help keep students and faculty healthy,” Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips said. “We truly hope that people are heartened by this knowledge, not discouraged or frightened. Public health and education professionals are working in partnership to protect student health when it comes to H1N1.”
While the state awaits its first shipments of H1N1 vaccine later this fall, the Shawnee County Health Agency has set its first seasonal flu shot clinic. It will be from 9 am to 2 pm, September 17th at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.
Shots will cost $25. People should bring their insurance cards with them.
In addition, established patients of the Health Agency's Community Health Clinic may get flu, pneumonia and tetnus shots at the clinic starting Sept. 14. Those patients may schedule an appointment by calling 785-368-2000, ext. 5315.
The Health Agency has a flu hotline to answer questions, 785-368-2025. KDHE also has a statewide hotline for H1N1 questions, 1-877-427-7317.