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County delays H1N1 order

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will postpone consideration of an order requesting Gov. Ted Kulongoski to declare an emergency related to H1N1.

The board had been scheduled today to discuss asking the governor to declare a flu emergency. The Josephine County Board of Commissioners declared its own emergency last week.

The postponement will allow local public health officials to determine how President Obama's federal flu emergency declaration on Friday may affect the local health care community, said Chad Petersen, the county's flu information officer, in a press release.

Petersen said public health officials plan to talk with representatives from the governor's office and the state Department of Human Services about the different levels of emergency declaration (county, state and federal) and how each might affect local efforts to treat the H1N1 outbreak.

Since Sept. 1, 482 people in 24 Oregon counties have been hospitalized with influenza-like illness, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Human Services. Fifteen people in eight counties, including one in Jackson County, have died since Sept. 1. Another person with a Jackson County post office box died in July of influenza-like illness.

Jackson County has recorded 69 patients who were hospitalized due to the H1N1 virus and Josephine County has recorded 36 hospitalizations. The reports put both counties near the top of the list in per-capita hospitalizations within the state and Jackson County has the largest total number, 69, among Oregon's 36 counties, according to the state Department of Human Services.