Flu keeping students out of schools

Harry Sullivan
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Flu keeping students out of schools

TRURO - A vast majority of area schools are reporting increased levels of absenteeism as the H1N1 virus continues to spread.
While school board officials can only attribute the numbers as "absent due to illness," the wide-spread numbers do correlate with an increase in the number of people attending flu-assessment clinics.
"We did see a huge increase in the visits to the flu assessment clinics yesterday," said Krista Wood, spokeswoman for the Colchester East Hants Health Authority, of Monday's numbers. "So the numbers are increasing at the assessment centre."
On Monday, nearly 130 people visited the assessment centre in the former Douglas Street school, Wood said. That is up from 19 individuals who were checked out at the site when it opened on Saturday and nearly double Sunday's attendance of 67 persons who were assessed.
"Given the symptoms we're getting, I think there's an assumption that the majority of cases we're seeing are in fact H1N1," she said.
And school attendance numbers also indicate a growing increase of people falling victim to illness.
Yesterday, 21.7 per cent of the student population at Upper Stewiacke Elementary School was out sick. On Friday, that number stood at 11.7 per cent.
Bible Hill Central Elementary School recorded an absenteeism rate of 20.8 per cent yesterday (up from 11 per cent on Friday) while Redcliff Middle School reported a rate of 20.4 per cent (11 per cent on Friday) and Brookfield elementary saw 19.1 per cent of its students out of commission (compared to 14 per cent on Friday).
Absenteeism rates varied among the remainder of the schools with only four schools within Colchester County reporting absences lower than on Friday. Those included Hilden elementary (below 10 per cent out on Tuesday compared to 38.7 per cent on Friday), South Colchester Academy (10.7 per cent, down from 12.1 per cent), West Colchester Consolidated (which includes Bass River elementary, down to 10.4 per cent from 13 per cent), and Bible Hill junior high, where yesterday's absentee rate was 19 per cent compared to 20.8 per cent on Friday.
Debert, Tatamagouche and Great Village elementary schools and Cobequid Consolidated and North Colchester High were all reporting absenteeism rates lower than 10 per cent, so specific numbers were not available.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com


Organizations: Colchester East Hants Health Authority, Douglas Street school, Upper Stewiacke Elementary School Hill Central Elementary School Redcliff Middle School South Colchester Academy West Colchester Consolidated

Geographic location: Colchester County, Bass River, Great Village

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Recent comments

  • Steve
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Kind of ironic, isn't it? Yesterday they were telling us about a shortage, and today the CBC says extra vaccine for the H1N1 virus has been exported out of Canada to other countries ...

    You can see the article here:
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/11/03/vaccine-swine-flu.html?ref=rss

  • Brian
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    dave, exactly. How many confirmed cases of swine flu have there been? Also, as a basline, what is the noraml absenteeism rate for this time of year?
    The media is the first to say don't panic but then they incite it with the stories they cover. Assinine

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    they assume it's swine - that's how i want my science done...on assumptions. swin flu is the new excuse like the dog ate my homework.

  • Elaine
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    @Steve
    It's not extra vaccine being shipped out, it's extra antigen. They have surplus antigen, which is the main ingredient of the vaccine. The vaccine shortage is due to the other steps in their production line.

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Using assumption in this case isn't that out of line given the whole H1N1 deal is a train wreck. Par for the course on this deal.