What there is to know
- The San Diego Unified School District has confirmed there has been a high number of absences from Patrick Henry High School due to probable flu.
- The district said that so far all COVID-19 tests have been negative, but found that several students tested positive for the flu.
- A source familiar with the situation told NBC 7 that there were hundreds of cases and nearly half the school was affected or absent.
The San Diego Unified School District has confirmed that there have been hundreds of absences from Patrick Henry High School due to probable flu, they announced Wednesday.
The district said that so far all COVID-19 tests have been negative, but found that several students tested positive for the flu. Typical signs and symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever and other upper respiratory infection symptoms, the district said.
A source familiar with the situation told NBC 7 that there were hundreds of cases and nearly half the school was affected or absent.
Nearly half of the school is affected or absent, according to a source familiar with the situation, reports NBC 7’s Jackie Crea.
“Unfortunately, we anticipated this would be a difficult flu season, and alongside COVID-19, other respiratory viruses are also making a rapid comeback,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy director of public health. “If you haven’t already, now is the time to get your flu and COVID-19 shots to get the extra protections offered by vaccines.”
NBC 7 spoke with a parent who said his freshman was homesick.
“We tested for COVID-19. We took him to the doctor and all that and thank goodness it’s not COVID-19 but still, something is happening, kinda scary,” said Luis Olivares. “When we dropped him off at school this morning, I could see the difference in the traffic. There was no traffic to drop them off. And the parking lot doesn’t look so full. So it’s just crazy what’s going on.
The county reports that no hospitalizations have yet been linked to the school’s illness investigation, but local hospitals, including Rady Children’s Hospital, have noted a recent increase in ER visits due influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a common respiratory virus. virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. The county is evaluating the possibility of other schools reporting similar outbreaks.
Rady Children’s Hospital said it recently saw an increase in emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms.
San Diego County reported a total of 304 lab-confirmed flu cases last week, bringing the total for the season that began July 3 to 1,082. This time last year, the county had reported 200 cases of flu.
Influenza vaccine, COVID-19 primary dose vaccines and bivalent boosters are widely available across the region. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against both viruses every year.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for immunity to develop. The CDC also says people can get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, including a booster dose. The COVID-19 vaccine does not work against the flu and vice versa.
Final data for the 2021-22 flu season is still pending and will be available later this year.
During the 2020-21 flu season, 848 cases of influenza were reported in San Diego, including two deaths. During the 2019-2020 flu season, more than 20,700 cases of influenza were reported and 108 San Diegans died from the flu.
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