05/05/2009: "Flu Precaution Closes Private School On Orcas"
Salmonberry School on Orcas -which has both pre-school and elementary school students- closed for seven days after a child became ill with flu-like symptoms. Health officials say the student had recently returned form a trip to California.
There are still no confirmed or “probable” cases of Swine Flu among San Juan County residents, but today a private school on Orcas closed as a precaution, and a middle-school student from Bellvue who visited Camp Orkila last week was diagnosed as a probable case.
The school administration made the decision to close after consulting with County Health Officer, Dr. Frank James. Medical samples have been forwarded to a State laboratory for testing. The seven day closure corresponds to the incubation period for the influenza virus.
The King County youngster now classified as “probable” was one of 276 middle school students who arrived at the Camp Okila on Orcas Tuesday and were returned home Thursday after paramedics were summoned to check out the child. Camp Orkila has closed for a minimum of seven days and staff members who came in contact with the students have been quarantined in a section of the camp. The samples from that case have been forwarded to the federal Centers for Disease Control for further testing.
San Juan County Health and Community Services Director John Manning reports that a letter is going out to all pharmacies in the county today, releasing stockpiled anti-viral medications which have proven effective in relieving the symptoms of Swine Flu. “We feel like we have enough of the anti-virals on hand to deal with an outbreak, but we have made arrangements to have additional supplies delivered within 24 hours if we need it.”
The anti-virals require a physician’s prescription and are only effective in people who are already infected with the H1N1 virus.
Manning re-emphasized that at this point there are no confirmed cases of Swine Flu among County residents, but given the nature of the disease and the potential for infection, urges all residents to take common sense precautions -such as frequently washing hands, covering coughs with a shirt sleeve, and above all: “If you feel sick, stay home.”
Updated information about the Swine Flu locally, tips on dealing with the flu and links to Swine Flu sites set up by state, federal and international health organizations are all available on the County’s website at: http://www.sanjuanco.com/health/swineflu.aspx