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*SWINE FLU May 5th UPDATE 1 AM-*14 Bay Area Schools Closed Due To Swine Flu Outbreak

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*Update May 5th 2009-BAY AREA SCHOOLS CLOSED DUE TO SWINE FLU OUTBREAK

Reports of probable and confirmed cases of swine flu have closed at least 14 schools across the Bay Area as educators and public health officials continue monitoring the virus’ spread through the region. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has 30 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. The CDC has confirmed 286 total cases in the country. Schools in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Clara County were closed today to guard against the potential spread of the disease among children and their families.  In Santa Clara County, Rucker Elementary has reopened after a
suspected case tested negative, according to public health officials. However, Branham High School, Ruskin, Challenger, and Delphi elementary schools remain closed, according to Belinda Quesada with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Two preschools, Elan Esprit and Sunshine School, are closed because they are located next to closed elementary schools. The county is still awaiting test results for four probable cases of the virus, Quesada said. Contra Costa County has reported eight probable cases of the H1N1 virus and closed five elementary schools: Brentwood; Coyote Creek; Highlands; Shore Acres and Lone Tree.  In Alameda County, Malcolm X Elementary School is closed and county officials know of two confirmed instances and one probable case of the virus, said Alameda County Public Health spokeswoman Sherri Willis.   The new probable case is an adult, but Willis said health workers
are examining a 26-page printout of test results for about 50 additional specimens and should have more information later today. So far the county has
sent in about 120 specimens for testing, she said. In Marin County, public health officials reported this morning they will reopen Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael after a potential H1N1 test turned out negative. Tamalpais High School remains closed.  San Mateo, San Francisco and Solano County are reporting probable cases, and four confirmed in San Francisco, but no school closures.  Officials say the number of swine flu cases is still evolving. In a briefing this morning, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC said his agency expects “ongoing hospitalizations and additional deaths” across the country as the disease spreads. He advised people “not to let your guard down, but not to overreact.”  Simple measures like washing hands, coughing into sleeves instead
of hands, and staying home when you feel sick are the most effective guard against the disease, he said.  So far in the U.S., one infant in Texas has died from the H1N1 virus, according to the CDC. Like the seasonal flu, this strain can have a mild to severe effect on humans. Symptoms are similar to traditional human
flu, and include fever, cough, body aches, chills, sore throat and fatigue, according to the CDC.

*UPDATE-MAY 4 2009-*Contra Costa County Has Fifth School Close Due To Probable Case of Swine Flu

A fifth Contra Costa County elementary school will be closed Monday because medical tests found a student in Brentwood has a probable case of swine flu. Starting Monday, Brentwood Elementary School will be closed. Coyote Creek Elementary School in San Ramon, Shore Acres Elementary School in Bay Point and Lone Tree Elementary in Antioch will also be closed starting Monday after a student at each of the schools were found to have a probable case for the H1N1 virus Friday. An additional student from Coyote Creek Elementary was also found to have a probable case today. All the students are recovering at home. These schools could be closed for at least one week and as long as two weeks, according to Contra Costa Health Services. In addition, Highlands Elementary School in Pittsburg was closed earlier this week after three probable cases of the H1N1 flu were detected. The school is expected to be closed another week.  Other schools throughout the Bay Area were also closed due to the virus, including five schools in Santa Clara County and one in Marin County.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a 14-day closure for schools that have students with probable cases of the swine flu.  State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is working on a system that will allow people to easily check the status of school closures. In addition, O’Connell said he plans to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for an executive order to modify or push back dates for certain standardized tests because deadlines for the exams are approaching. As of this afternoon, there have been 160 cases of swine flu reported in the U.S. and one death, according to the CDC.

*Update-Berkeley Health Experts to Hold Forum on Swine Flu Outbreak

A panel of health experts at the University of California at Berkeley will hold a forum Monday to discuss the swine flu outbreak.        The forum, titled “Swine Flu 2009: Are We Facing a Pandemic?” will be offered by the university’s Alliance for Global Health, a campus-wide initiative that aims to merge global health research from across various departments and disciplines.  Discussion topics will include the epidemiology and biology of the H1N1 virus, the response of the human immune system to infection, and the
development of new diagnostic tools used to detect pathogens in the field. Speakers will include professors Arthur Reingold, an expert on infectious disease transmission, surveillance and prevention; Russell Vance, an expert on pathogenesis and immunology; Wayne Getz, an expert on the ecology and epidemiology of wildlife and human diseases; and Amy Herr, an expert on the potential role in a pandemic of “lab-on-a-chip” diagnostic tools. The forum will take place at Berdahl Auditorium in Stanley Hall,
near the campus’ East Gate entrance. A webcast of the forum can be accessed at

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/features/flu.

*Health Officials Urge Residents Not To Panic Over Swine Flu

SANTA CLARA  COUNTY REPORTS MORE PROBABLE SWINE FLU CASES . NO MORE SCHOOL CLOSURES  The Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced three more probable cases of H1N1 flu today, bringing the total number of probable
cases in the county to nine. Two women from San Jose, ages 18 and 73, and a 22-year-old Morgan Hill man were diagnosed to likely have virus, according to the health department. The 73-year-old woman was hospitalized for five days and is now recovering at home.  None of the cases in the county has been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. County officials are advising residents to stay home if sick and not attend work or school.  As of today, five schools were closed in the county due to swine flu. Rucker Elementary is scheduled to reopen Monday and Branham High School in San Jose is set to open Wednesday. Delphi Academy, Santa Clara Elan Esprit Preschool and Santa Clara Challenger School are scheduled to reopen May 11.

*The numbers of probable and confirmed cases of swine flu continued to rise in the Bay Area today but state officials say the increase was anticipated.  “We are fully expecting to see an increase in numbers and an increase in severity (of the cases),” said California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Mark Horton. He added, though, that the increase in cases in both California and the nation does not mirror the greater number of cases in Mexico, where the contagious virus was first reported in March. “We have small numbers,” Horton said. “We’re not seeing the kind of severity they’re seeing in Mexico.”   Fear mounting in response to the swine flu outbreak that as of this afternoon is known to have sickened 16 Californians is likely due to Mexico’s much deadlier reaction to the virus.  “We have a neighbor very close to us to the south who is having a different experience,” Horton said. “It’s still very early in the game. This is a novel virus.”  Local health officials at news conferences throughout the Bay Area today also encouraged the public not to panic.  Dr. Scott Morrow with the San Mateo County Health System said at a news conference today that most cases of swine flu have not been serious and there is a good chance there are many more undocumented, also mild cases.  “Focusing on numbers is excessive,” he said. “It may be looking much worse than it actually is.”   San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom echoed Morrow’s statements, asking people to stick to the facts and keep calm after announcing the city’s first case of swine flu today.  At a news conference in City Hall, Newsom said a private physician confirmed Tuesday night a child who has not been hospitalized, is not in school and recently traveled to Mexico is infected. He refused to release any further details regarding the child to maintain confidentiality.   He also said he is submitting for a local state of emergency to help the city receive federal funding for prevention efforts. “It is deliberative, not reactive,” Newsom said. He also discouraged residents from wearing facemasks for protection or acting any differently than normal because this particular flu is not necessarily anymore threatening than the common flu. “Let’s not forget that 36,000 people a year succumb to the normal flu virus,” he said.  The city’s Director of Health Dr. Mitch Katz said he understands “this all sounds like a frightening science fiction movie, but we don’t have deaths. We have an epidemic spread of a non-serious infection.”  More than a dozen other swine flu cases have popped up in the Bay Area this week, but most if not all were considered mild and many have since recovered.  A 60-year-old woman and her 20-month-old granddaughter in Marin County were confirmed by the state health department to have contracted swine flu, but both have since recovered. In Solano County, health officials said a 50-year-old Vacaville man likely has the virus.  Two other probable cases, afflicting a 46-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man, were reported by health officials in San Mateo County. Neither person had traveled to Mexico, both cases were considered mild and both victims have recovered, Morrow said.  The woman in particular expressed few symptoms of the swine flu but went to an emergency room and demanded to be tested, according to Morrow.  At least six probable cases of swine flu have been detected in Santa Clara County, three in Contra Costa County and one in Alameda County. No probable cases have been detected in Santa Cruz County, according to health officials.  Six Bay Area schools have been closed in response to the swine flu outbreak — five in Santa Clara County and one in Contra Costa County.   Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib today announced four school closures in Santa Clara County.  Challenger School in San Jose, Delphi Academy of Santa Clara, Elan Esprit Preschool in Santa Clara and Rucker Elementary School in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County closed today and are expected to reopen May 11 in response to a student at each school contracting probable cases of swine flu, according to Fenstersheib.  Branham High School in San Jose and Highlands Elementary School in Pittsburg closed earlier this week after probable cases were reported among students as well and are expected to reopen May 6.  As of this morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 109 cases of swine flu in the U.S., including one fatal case in Texas. There were 14 confirmed cases in California.  Suspected swine flu cases first surfaced in the Bay Area on Tuesday, but the outbreak, believed to have originated in Mexico, was first reported in the U.S. in late March in Southern California and Texas,according to health officials. Though not airborne, the virus can spread through germs. Residents are advised to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in response to the virus Tuesday morning, which allows the California Emergency Management Agency to work with the state Department of Public Health to prevent the disease from spreading, governor’s spokesman Jeff Macedo said.

CONTACTs:

CDC media line (404) 639-3286
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office (916) 445-4571
California Department of Public Health (916) 440-7259
California Department of Food and Agriculture (916) 654-0462
Santa Clara County Department of Public Health spokeswoman
Joy Alexiou (408) 885-4164
Contra Costa Health Services spokeswoman Kate Fowlie (925)
313-6268
San Mateo County Health Department spokeswoman Beverly Thames
(650) 573-3935
Alameda County Public Health Department spokeswoman Sherri
Willis (510) 267-8001
City of Berkeley Public Health spokeswoman Zandra Lee (510)
981-5356
San Francisco Department of Public Health spokeswoman Eileen
Shields (415) 370-3377
Santa Cruz County Health Service Agency spokeswoman Natasha
Kowalski (831) 454-7561
Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (415)
473-4163
Pittsburg Unified School District (925) 473-2300
Campbell Union High School District (408) 371-0960

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*SWINE FLU UPDATE 10 PM-Four Probable Swine Flu Cases Reported in Santa Clara County

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced this afternoon that there are four probable cases of swine flu in the county. The first case, reported Tuesday, was a 16-year-old female student of Branham High School in San Jose, according to health officials. School officials will keep the school closed until May 6 to help prevent the virus from spreading. The health department today reported three new probable cases of swine flu affecting a 30-year-old man who did not require hospital treatment and is recovering; a 32-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Mexico and who also has not required hospital treatment; and a 53-year-old woman. In addition to the four probable cases in Santa Clara County, at least three probable cases have been reported in Contra Costa County, where schools have also been affected, and at least two probable cases have been reported in Marin County. As of this morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 91 cases of swine flu in the U.S., including one fatal case in Texas. There were 14 confirmed cases in California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in
response to the virus Tuesday morning, which allows the California Emergency Management Agency to work with the state Department of Public Health to prevent the disease from spreading, governor’s spokesman Jeff Macedo said. After the World Health Organization announced it has raised the pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5, Schwarzenegger issued a statement
reading, “From the moment the first cases of swine flu arose in California, my administration has responded vigorously by deploying resources and preparing for the additional cases of swine flu we are now seeing. We are already taking the steps that are appropriate for a level 5 pandemic alert.” Health officials are urging people not to panic. The H1N1 virus is a new virus that people don’t have a natural immunity to, but most people in the U.S. who have come down with the illness reported mild symptoms,
according to health officials. The swine flu outbreak was first reported in the U.S. in late March in Southern California and Texas, according to health officials. It is spread mainly person-to-person through coughing and sneezing. An estimated 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year from the seasonal flu.

*Health officials in Contra Costa County are testing a “cluster” of children who attend Marina Vista Elementary School in Pittsburg for swine flu today after eight students reported feeling ill, according to Contra Costa Director of Public Health Dr. Wendel Brunner. Highland Elementary School, which is also in Pittsburg, and Branham High School in San Jose were closed today after four students were identified as probable cases. Both schools will remain closed until May 6. A public school in San Bernardino is also closed as well as a private school in Sacramento, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said at a news conference in Pleasant Hill this afternoon. As of this morning, there were 14 confirmed cases of swine flu in California and a total of 91 confirmed cases nationwide. One person in Texas has died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Health officials are urging parents not to send their children to school if they are sick. “We’re asking people if they’re sick to stay home,” Brunner said. People should also take precautions, such as washing their hands with soap and hot water and covering their mouths with their arms when they cough, to prevent the spread of the disease. People should stay home for at least 24 hours after they stop experiencing symptoms to avoid infecting others. Health officials are also urging people not to panic. While the H1N1 virus is a new virus that people don’t have a natural immunity to, most people in the United States who have come down with the illness reported mildsymptoms, according to Brunner. The illness also responds well to anti-viral drugs that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been stockpiling. “If your child is healthy, he or she should go to school,” Contra Costa County Superintendent Joseph Ovick said. Schools are required to have safety plans that include response to a pandemic flu. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in response to the virus Tuesday morning, which allows the California Emergency Management Agency to work with the state Department of Public Health to prevent the disease from spreading, governor’s spokesman Jeff Macedo said. The swine flu outbreak was first reported in the U.S. in late March in Southern California and Texas, according to health officials. It is spread mainly person-to-person through coughing and sneezing. According to Brunner, an estimate 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year from the seasonal flu.

Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse
without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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