Local News

Jan 31, 2014 9:28 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

H1N1 flu virus hits local elementary school

San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials say someone from Ocean View Elementary School in Arroyo Grande has tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus.

This is the ninth person who has been hospitalized with H1N1 in SLO County and health officials are urging everyone in the community to get a flu shot.

The county will not say if the victim is a student or a staff member, nor will the Lucia Mar Unified School District. But according to the district, it doesn't matter - if anyone with a communicable disease was on campus, they take the case very seriously. This is why they say they have notified all parents at the school.

Penny Borenstein with SLO County Public Health Services said cases of H1N1 only get reported to her office and the state if the person is hospitalized or has died from flu associated causes.

"There's only been one flu associated death in our county. We have had nine individuals under the age of 65 who have been hospitalized, but in some of those cases, it's not clear if flu is the cause of their illness," she said.

One of those nine cases was confirmed on Friday to come from Ocean View Elementary School.

School officials say they're taking proactive steps to make sure no one else gets sick.

"We had four additional custodians that went in and did additional sanitization. Normally rooms are sanitized every other day," said Borenstein.

School officials say that while this is not a particularly bad flu season, they still want to make sure everyone is educated on how to take care of themselves.

"We did notify all individuals on site, we had a staff meeting and sent out notices to parents, phone calls, emails, and then today notices are going home with all students," said Borenstein.

Health officials will not say how the patient is doing because of privacy laws. Public Health says anyone can contract H1N1, but children, the elderly, and pregnant women are most susceptible to the virus.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says three people there have died from the flu, and five people have been hospitalized in intensive care. It is unknown if any of those cases was from the specific H1N1 strain.

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