LIMA — Despite a second confirmed case of the H1N1 flu virus at Delphos Jefferson Middle School, school officials said Friday there is no cause for alarm.
Jeff Price, superintendent of Delphos schools, confirmed two middle school pupils had the virus. Both pupils have since recovered and have returned to class.
“It’s an unprecedented experience for us,” Price said. “We’re doing all we’re being instructed to do. We’re doing the very best we can to protect the staff and students.”
The district sent home a letter with pupils on Thursday informing parents of the situation, Price said. Because there were only two cases, and the illnesses were mild, Price explained they decided to keep school operating as normal.
“It’s hard as a parent not to overreact when something like this happens. I understand that,” Price said. “Both the cases we’ve identified it’s not been a severe case. We’re fortunate for that.”
The district continues to do everything possible to limit the exposure to the virus, including disinfecting surfaces, putting hand sanitizer in classrooms and encouraging staff and pupils to stay home if they are sick, Price said.
David Rosebrock, Allen County Health Commissioner, said the health department is doing all it can to assist.
“This confirms what we’ve already been saying that we know H1N1 is here. It’s circulating pretty readily within schools particularly,” Rosebrock said. “Young people, children, young adults, infants potentially are more at risk. They seem to be a little more susceptible to it. The good news is so far we’ve not had any deaths, and everyone that we know of is recovering or has recovered from the infection.”
Rosebrock told the health board Friday that health officials continue to work on a distribution plan for the H1N1 flu vaccine, which should be arriving in the county shortly. The first shipment, of a limited supply, will be used largely to vaccinate health care workers, he said.
“We’ll be getting it out in various ways to the community, including through some private physician’s offices and clinics and that sort of thing,” Rosebrock said. “We don’t have a schedule to give anyone yet so we suggest that people keep an eye open for that information we’ll be getting it out as soon as we can.”
Ohio child dies
Around the state, the worst fear among health officials came true when a 14-year-old boy from Columbus became the first child in Ohio to die of the H1N1 flu.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long said Friday that officials are working with the boy’s school, which was not identified.
The boy died Thursday night at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. No other details were released. He is the fifth person in Ohio to die of swine flu, according to lab-confirmed data compiled by the state.
Hospitals limit visitors
More Ohio hospitals are placing restrictions on visitors to stop the spread of swine flu and seasonal flu.
Starting Friday, Akron Children’s Hospital limited patient visits to two parents or primary caregivers. The hospital also wants only small numbers of family members with patients in the emergency room or outpatient surgery waiting room.
Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Gregg DiGiulio says the hospital has seen a big upswing in people suffering from fever and cough and wants to limit visits by potential flu carriers.
In Columbus, Nationwide Children’s Hospital won’t allow any visitors under 12 beginning Monday. The hospital says young children are more likely to carry and spread viruses.