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For Release:
July 10, 2009

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
(609) 984-7160

Governor Corzine and Commissioner Howard Applaud Obama Administration for $10 Million in H1N1 Preparedness Grants to New Jersey


Governor Jon S. Corzine and Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today applauded the Obama administration for allocating $10 million to New Jersey to enhance the state's efforts to be as prepared as possible to deal with the fall 2009 H1N1 Influenza season.


"During these difficult financial times, we appreciate that the Obama administration recognizes the importance of planning for the possibility that H1N1 Influenza could return in a more serious form," said Gov. Corzine.


"We know H1N1 Influenza is coming this fall so it is important that New Jersey remain vigilant and do everything we can now to protect the health of our families, friends, neighbors and co-workers," Corzine said.


Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $350 million in preparedness grants to state health agencies and health care facilities to ensure that state and local officials prepare now and coordinate efforts to prevent the spread of H1N1 and minimize social disruption.


New Jersey expects to receive $10 million: $7.5 million for state health department preparedness efforts and $2.6 million to ensure that hospitals and health care systems are ready for any surge of patients.


New Jersey has a July 23 deadline to apply for the funds. Governor Corzine has asked Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard to ensure that the state makes maximum use of these funds. The money is expected to be made available in a few weeks.


Commissioner Heather Howard, Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, State Police Lt. Col. Jerome Hatfield, Deputy Superintendent, Homeland Security; and Joe Picciano, Deputy Director Preparedness for the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness?joined 500 state health and education leaders at a national summit Thursday.


"The message of the summit was clear?states need to prepare now so they can be ready to prevent the spread of H1N1 and minimize social disruption this fall," said Commissioner Howard.


The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services will host a statewide Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Summit beginning Monday at the New Brunswick Hyatt Regency to bring local health, hospital, homeland security, emergency management and other officials together to coordinate efforts.


"We will use the dialogue from the pandemic influenza summit to help determine the best ways to apply funding to our preparedness efforts," said Commissioner Howard.


The summit consists of a series of workshops that begin on Monday, July 13 and continue on July 14, reconvene on August 20-21 and conclude on September 29 at the New Brunswick Hyatt Regency.


The goal of the summit is to enhance pandemic preparedness across government, in the private sector and throughout the healthcare system. Summit participants will include representatives from local health departments, local and state Offices of Emergency Management, Federally Qualified Health Centers, hospitals, the Department of Health and Senior Services and other cabinet-level agencies.


The capacity of health care facilities to treat a large influx of patients, continuity of operations, communications, disease surveillance, mental health concerns and vaccination planning are among the topics that will be discussed.


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