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CVS Caremark to donate $50K to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Continuing to assist those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, a private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corporation, announced on Friday that it is donating $50,000 to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Established by Gov. Chris Christie and chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie, the relief fund is a nonprofit organization that raises and distributes funds to organizations to support the recovery and rebuilding efforts of New Jersey communities impacted by the storm.

The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund’s priority is to work with community-based nonprofit organizations to ensure funds address needs not met by FEMA, insurance and immediate disaster response organizations. Allocations from the fund will be made in stages, allowing for qualifying organizations to assess their changing needs as the recovery process continues. The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund supports healthcare-related initiatives, such as mental health services, as well as financial counseling and assistance for those who have lost homes and jobs.

"We know that many of the people we serve in New Jersey continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and we share Gov. and Mrs. Christie’s dedication to rebuilding affected communities," stated Eileen Howard Boone, president of CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. "As a pharmacy healthcare provider, we are committed to providing assistance where it’s needed most and support the mission of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund to provide support to programs that address the unmet needs of communities throughout New Jersey."

To date, the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy have provided more than $200,000 in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, including support to the Red Cross, Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund and Jewish Family Services of Atlantic County. In addition, CVS/pharmacy continues to operate a mobile pharmacy in Margate City, N.J., at the site of its closed store at 9301 Ventnor Ave. in Margate City, N.J., to ensure that affected communities continue to have access to their prescribed medication.

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Disease from Down Under: New Australian norovirus strain responsible for most outbreaks in U.S., CDC says

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new strain of norovirus from Australia accounts for more than half of outbreaks around the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that the new strain of the virus, called GII.4 Sydney, was responsible for 53% of the 266 norovirus outbreaks reported through CaliciNet, an electronic laboratory surveillance network, between September and December 2012. The new strain emerged in Australia in March 2012. The other outbreaks resulted from other strains of the virus, including GII.4 New Orleans. The CDC noted that the new strain appears to have replaced GII.4 New Orleans, which had previously been the predominant strain.

Norovirus is a common cause of food poisoning and so-called stomach flu, causing gastroenteritis that leads to symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. It can be spread through direct human contact or contaminated food. Most people recover in one or two days, but the virus can cause serious complications and death in young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.


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Minn. flu deaths more than double over last year

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The number of people who have died from flu in Minnesota is 75, more than double what it was last year, according to the state health department and published reports.

According to data released by the department, the third week of January — Jan. 13-19 — saw 15 people die from flu-related illness, bringing the total for the season to 75. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that 33 people died from flu last season, while 67 died during the 2009-2010 season, coinciding with the H1N1 pandemic.

During the third week, 208 people were hospitalized, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 2,128, according to the state health department.


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