Garfield County has swine flu case

An H1N1 (swine) flu case has been confirmed in Garfield County, in what is the second confirmed case in western Colorado.

The case involves a Glenwood Springs High School student. Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said there were no plans to close the school, based on public health officials’ assessment that the disease is generally mild in nature.

The district is continuing to stress hygiene for students, and is asking those with flu symptoms to stay home.

As of Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health and Environment stopped recommending that schools be closed if a student is diagnosed with the illness. That’s based on additional evidence that the severity of H1N1 is similar to that of seasonal flu.

The state said in a news release that as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, 19 cases had been confirmed in the state, up from 10 a day earlier.

None of the newest cases required hospitalization and all of the people involved are recovering, the state said.

Earlier this week a case was reported in Eagle County. Other confirmed cases have occurred in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Fremont and Jefferson counties.

Only one person is known to have required hospitalization.

The cases include 12 males and seven females. Only one case involves someone under 5 years old. Six involve people between ages 5 and 17, 10 of those infected are between 18 and 39, and two are between 40 and 59.

The number of confirmed cases is not necessarily indicative of overall infection levels. The health department isn’t providing numbers on reported suspect cases. Also, now that there is evidence that the virus is circulating, the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Ned Calonge, said it isn’t necessary to diagnose or treat every case and there are insufficient testing resources to test everyone with symptoms.

“We need to use our testing capacity strategically and will prioritize testing for the highest public health priorities, such as hospitalized patients, health care workers with influenza-like illness, and unique outbreak situations where confirmation of the H1N1 strain will inform public health response,” he said in a news release.

The state continues to urge people who experience flu symptoms to stay home for seven days after the symptoms’ onset, or at least 24 hours after the they have gone away, whichever is longer.


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