Cedar Heights Swine Flu Case: A Correction and Clarification

Wrong information: The South Kitsap School District on Friday issued an automated phone notification to Cedar Heights Junior High School families and staff about a student who had been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. A story that ran Saturday said the notice was district-wide.

The district posted text of the announcement on the district’s Web site.

I spoke to Superintendent Dave LaRose today about the district’s response. According to LaRose, the student, a Pierce County resident, was at home recovering when the district learned that she had the H1N1 virus late Friday afternoon. The student never showed symptoms while at school and had spent the whole week at home recovering, therefore the risk of exposure was deemed to be low, health district officials told the district.

There was no discussion of closing the school, LaRose said.

I also checked with Kitsap County Health District Director Scott Lindquist, who confirmed that health officials advised SKSD the case did not warrant a formal health advisory. He also confirmed that the risk of exposure in this case was low.

The district decided to issue the phone and Web site notices to make sure people had accurate information, and to ease concerns, said LaRose.

By the time the district got the notice, the student was on the mend. She is back at school this week, he said.

Confirmation of the first swine flu case in Kitsap resident came late Monday.

Lindquist said flu-like symptoms caused by the H1N1 virus in local residents have not been severe. The health district is advising doctors to treat it like the regular flu, taking precautions in high risk populations, but otherwise letting it run its course.

The district had two new positive cases today, Lindquist said. Not everyone with flu-like symptoms is getting tested at this point, so the actual number may be higher, he added. He advised a common sense approach and the usual precautions: wash hands, cover to cough and sneeze, stay home if sick.

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