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|Topic: Campbell County School District|
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| Topic: Campbell County School District
Posted: October 10 2009 at 8:56am
Schools hit hard with swine flu
By The News-Record staff
Published: Friday, October 9, 2009 11:56 AM MDTThe highly contagious swine flu is running through Gillette, affecting attendance at work and school.
Before this week, the Campbell County School District saw under 3 percent absenteeism in students because of H1N1, said Kip Farnum, director of student support services.
That’s about 200 out of 8,200 students who are absent with flu-like symptoms, Farnum said.
But this week could be another story after several school nurses said they were seeing more students with flu-like symptoms, she said.
Since Farnum and chief nurse Barb Anderson compile numbers of students absent from each school on Mondays, they couldn’t say for sure what this week’s change was.
If the number of flu absences is greater than 30 percent, those schools will begin to close, according to the school district’s Pandemic Flu Action Plan.
But Anderson simplified the diagnosis for parents: “If kids are running a fever, keep them out of school,” she said.
Traffic in and out of nurse Janet Moore’s office at the Campbell County High School South Campus increased this week.
“If they have a fever over 100 and one other symptom, they need to go home,” Moore said.
But at Paintbrush Elementary, part-time nurse Kristen Vissat hasn’t seen many students with flu symptoms. Vissat, who usually sees 30 to 50 students a day, said ear infections and stomach flu are just as numerous.
Influenza cases continue to spike statewide.
At Sheridan High School, 181 of 932 students were absent Wednesday, according to The Sheridan Press.
Of the 1,014 flu cases reported to the Wyoming Department of Health since May, 58 percent of those have come in the past three weeks. The department attributes that increase solely to H1N1 activity. The department has confirmed 341 H1N1 cases.
So far, there are two confirmed H1N1 deaths in Wyoming. A young woman from Fremont County died in August, and a woman from Laramie County died in October. According to the health department, both women had underlying health conditions, which are associated with more severe reactions to influenza.
Infection numbers for Campbell County were not immediately available Friday morning.
At Campbell County Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Dane Joslyn says anyone who displays flu-like symptoms is assumed to have the H1N1 strain. She says the hospital saw a spike in flu numbers Monday, and since then four people have been hospitalized because of the severity of their illnesses.
Meanwhile, the first doses of H1N1 vaccine arrived in Wyoming on Wednesday. The state ordered 3,400 doses, and Campbell County should be in line for about 200 of those, Campbell County Public Health director Della Amend said. Vaccines initially will be reserved for high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, health care workers and adults who care for infants under the age of 6 months.
Seasonal flu shots also have been extremely popular this year. Public health gave out a record-setting 2,665 shots at its Oct. 2 flu clinic, and is awaiting a backup shipment. In the interim, the department is only vaccinating children.
Local pharmacies have seen a rush on flu remedies like Tamiflu over the past week. At Smith’s Pharmacy, manager Dale Roth says employees are compounding liquid Tamiflu from capsules to make it available for children. The official liquid Tamiflu won’t arrive until December.
Medicap Pharmacy manager Claudia Urlaub says her store saw its biggest rush for flu medication Wednesday, but still has adequate supplies.
“We’re sitting tight, waiting for round two,” Urlaub said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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