Midway Latest Area School To Close Due To Swine Flu

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by Scott Schaefer

Friday afternoon (5/1), King County Public Health identified a new probable case of swine flu in Des Moines, and subsequently closed Midway Elementary School there until Monday, May 11th.

The illness was mild, and the child is recovering.

The Highline School District school is located at 22447 24th Ave South in Des Moines, making it the second school in that city to be closed; as we previously reported, Woodmont Elementary was closed Thursday.

Here’s the statement as posted on the Highline School District website:

A student at Midway Elementary has been diagnosed with a probable case of swine flu. Public Health has requested the school be closed for seven days so there will be no school May 4 – 8.

School will resume at Midway on Monday, May 11.

The district is monitoring the situation and working closely with Public Health. For information on Highline’s response plan and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, click here.

Public Health also opened a Flu Hotline for the public at 1-877-903-KING (5464), which will be staffed from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interpreters are available. This hotline will provide health and safety information on the current Swine Flu outbreak. If you need medical advice, contact your health care provider.

Some local hospitals and health care providers are reporting that many people are unnecessarily going to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with mild symptoms. In terms of seeking medical care, use the same judgment you would use during a typical flu season.

Do not seek medical care if you are not ill or have mild symptoms for which you would not ordinarily seek medical care. If you have more severe symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or are feeling more seriously ill, call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms and if you need to be evaluated.

“It is not surprising that we are seeing more infected people, and we expect more over the coming days and even weeks,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director & Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “So far, locally and nationally, this swine flu strain appears to be no more severe than the flu we’d see in a typical flu season. We will continue to learn about this virus and watch its activity in the community.”

As the virus becomes more common, Public Health is recommending new steps to help reduce future infections in schools.

“Our parents are at the front lines of stopping the spread of infection. We are urging all parents to assess their kids every morning to see if they’re sick, and keep them home if they are,” said Dr. Fleming. “In addition, we will be working with schools across King County to help them establish health checks at school entry, so that sick students are identified and sent home before they expose other children.”

For more information, please visit King County’s special swine flu website here.

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