COVID-19 Community Levels Map Update, August 5, 2022: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed New Haven, Fairfield, Litchfield and Middlesex Counties in the Medium/Yellow category as part of its COVID-19 Community Levels Map. Hartford, New London, Tolland and Windham Counties are listed in the Low/Green category. Visit the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels Map for updates.

Monkeypox: Please visit our monkeypox webpage for the latest updates.

Pandemic Influenza (Flu) Planning

A “pandemic” is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily from person-to-person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in a very short time.

Public and private drinking water systems must plan and prepare in advance for a potential influenza pandemic. During a natural disaster or pandemic emergency, it should be assumed that public water systems will experience severe staffing shortages.  There could be a 30-40% absentee rate due to those who are ill, those caring for ill persons, those caring for others such as children when schools are closed, and those who will be fearful of exposure.  There is also potential for disruption to communications, transportation, services, utilities, and to public safety.

Experts agree that the question is not “if” a pandemic influenza outbreak will occur, but rather “when” it will occur. Health professionals are concerned that the continued spread of a highly pathogenic avian H5N1 virus across eastern Asia and other countries represents a significant threat to human health. The H5N1 virus has raised concerns about a potential human pandemic because:

  • It is especially virulent
  • It is being spread by migratory birds
  • It can be transmitted from birds to mammals and in some limited circumstances to humans, and
  • Like other influenza viruses, it continues to evolve
The Water Sector has been designated as a Critical Infrastructure by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7. This means that clean drinking water is an essential function of the United States society and economy. As such it is extremely important that you develop specific plans to protect your employees and maintain operations during a pandemic. As a critical infrastructure, public water systems have a special responsibility to plan for continued operations in a crisis.

The following resources have been compiled for your information as your public water system evaluates critical functions and how those would be covered in a disaster or pandemic situation.