OTTAWA — Putnam County health officials announced Thursday the county’s first confirmed swine flu case.
Sherri Recker, director of nursing at the Putnam County Health Department, said they received lab results Thursday from the Ohio Department of Health that confirmed a 54-year-old had the H1N1 virus.
The patient, who officials declined to identify, is recovering at home after spending almost a week in a Lima hospital. Recker said the person had “some underlying medical conditions” that complicated the illness.
Multiple cases of swine flue have been confirmed in Hancock and Allen counties since it emerged in May. Most recently, two Delphos Jefferson Middle School pupils tested positive for the virus earlier this month. Everyone has since recovered.
Though the first case in Putnam County wasn’t confirmed until Thursday, several other people from three “clusters” had already been tested for the virus. Recker expects some of those results to be back from the state lab today.
Recker said the testing had been done on individuals within Ottawa-Glandorf, Leipsic and Continental schools.
“Many of the schools in our area are reporting increased numbers of absences, but right now those are the clusters we’re looking at,” she said.
The Health Department has asked all schools and physicians to keep an eye on the number of flu-like illnesses. Swine or seasonal, Recker said the flu appears to be wide-spread across the county.
Putnam County’s health department has received its first batch of the long-awaited H1N1 vaccine and this week has distributed a limited amount to health care workers.
“We’re supposed to be getting shipments pretty regularly,” Recker said. “So far we’ve had two other clinics for healthcare workers and we haven’t had a huge response yet for those, but I’m anticipating [today] and Wednesday to be a little busier.”
Today’s clinic is exclusively for health care personnel. The first public vaccination will be Wednesday. Though it will be a walk in clinic at the health department, only pregnant women, people who live or work with children younger than 6 months old and people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years will be vaccinated.
Eventually the health department plans to hold vaccination clinics at schools after hours, though if they see a number of cases develop at a specific school they could hold a vaccination clinic specifically for that school.
In the meantime, Recker said people should take note of any flu-like symptoms, practice good hand washing, cover any coughs or sneezes and stay home from work or school if they feel ill.
Putnam County residents who fit into the tier-one risk group can receive H1N1 virus vaccines from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Putnam County Health Department. The walk-in clinic is open to health care workers, pregnant women, people who live or work with children less than 6 months old and people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years.