Fears about swine flu in Davis were alleviated yesterday after laboratory testing confirmed that two suspected local cases of the disease were in fact regular human influenza.
Holmes Junior High School was prepared to shut down for two weeks after school officials were told on Friday that a student there had a “probable” case of the H1N1 virus – more commonly known as swine flu.
Yolo County Health Officer Joseph Iser announced Sunday morning that testing by the Sacramento Public Health Laboratory determined that the two probable cases in Yolo County should be reclassified as human influenza type A.
“This is good news for the two individuals who have been ill, and I have approved Holmes being open for student attendance as early as tomorrow,” Iser said in a written statement on Sunday.
Iser asked for understanding from Holmes parents.
“With a novel virus, we want to prevent the transmission as quickly as possible,” he said. “Closing a school early with a possible case is important in making this happen. We understand the impact a closure has on the students and families and appreciate their support and the support of the district to keep our children healthy.“
Davis Joint Unified School District officials had originally planned to close the school for one week, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines on Friday to recommend that schools with a laboratory-confirmed case of H1N1 close for 14 days.
Holmes PTA President Cathy Farman told the Davis Enterprise that the school would have to cancel a planned all-day hike for ninth-graders, a Civil War reenactment for eighth-graders and an International Day for all students this week.
“This good news means that our students may resume their academics and the many activities planned for Holmes Junior High and for Holmes students in districtwide activities can be held as planned,” DJUSD Superintendent James Hammond said in a message sent to parents.
Hammond said teachers, administrators and district officials would be working through the day Sunday to prepare for a regular school day today and to make sure the information got out to all parents.
“We understand that some Holmes families may have made arrangements for child care/supervision that may be difficult to re-arrange before [this] morning,” Hammond said. “We will extend consideration for any absences related to this rapid turn of events.“
As of Sunday morning, 26 H1N1 cases in California have been confirmed through laboratory testing, according to the CDC. The California Department of Public Health reported 110 probable cases in 21 California counties as of Friday afternoon.
For the most up-to-date information as well as tips on how to stay healthy, visit cdph.ca.gov or cdc.gov.
JEREMY OGUL can be reached at email@example.com.
Swine flu prevention
Health officials are advising residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus and other forms of influenza, which are generally spread through direct contact with germs from an infected person.
“Washing your hands frequently, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your sleeve, and staying home when you are sick are important steps individuals can take to stop the spread of disease,” Yolo County Health Officer Joseph Iser said.
People experiencing more than mild flu-like symptoms, particularly individuals who have recently traveled to Mexico, should call their health care provider for advice, Iser said.