H1N1 update in Southwest Louisiana

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The swine flu continues to be a deadly threat to Louisiana residents.  The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says the death toll from the H1N1 virus has gone up again - the total is now 33.

DHH estimates that more than 172,000 Louisiana residents have had the virus, or have it right now. But the vaccine is arriving, the state has asked for more than half a million doses.  As of last Wednesday, it had well over half of that. More than 56,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered so far.

If you're wondering where you can get the vaccine, the Kroger pharmacy on 12th Street in Lake Charles has it.  They're offering it to healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49, but they only have the nasal spray form of the vaccine.

For other locations, the state is now posting them on a website, which you can access by clicking here.

As the vaccines become more available, people are still getting sick and many continue to go to work.  That's because millions of Americans do not have paid sick leave and can't afford to miss work.  Congress has a plan to help with that in the near future.

One House democrat proposes forcing employers to cover workers pay, if they're out with something contagious like swine flu.  California Representative George Miller says, "What we're saying is that, if the employer directs you to go home then he'll provide you a paid sick leave for that day."

Will they resist?  Backers say, not if they want to keep other workers, and customers, healthy.  Most people are getting through their bouts with the swine flu, but it has killed 129 children in the U.S. since April.

The proposal applies to companies with more than 15 workers, and only when a worker is told to stay home. Senators this week will hear from labor and CDC officials, and from critics who say sick leave decisions are better left to businesses.

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