State and local health officials are keeping tabs on schools and long-term health care facilities while the flu season wraps up, watching out for any outbreaks which may affect a significant portion of a school’s population.
Marion County Public Health Department officials say on two occasions this school year, two county schools had at least ten percent of their students out due to illness; this is the threshold for reporting an outbreak to the state. The Pella School District confirms two of its schools were the ones affected.
Judi Van Hulzen from the Marion County Public Health Department tells KNIA/KRLS News these incidents don’t necessarily constitute an emergency, or even an outbreak of just the flu.
“That just means that there’s a lot of kids in that particular building that are having some sort of illness. And so, schools are required to report that to the Iowa Department of Public Health; there’s a website that they utilize to report that,” Van Hulzen says.
“And then the Iowa Department of Public Health notifies us at the local public health, so we can kind of be aware and see how things are going. The same kind of works for long-term care.”
The state reports there have been 20 fatalities across Iowa which can be attributed to the flu; none of those have occurred in Marion County.
Van Hulzen says this is the peak time for the flu; cases will begin to drop off during April.