Contact: Mark Salley
Director, Office of Communications
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
For Immediate Release, Sunday, May 3, 2009
DENVER – Today the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported two additional confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the state. Both are in Jefferson County. Neither of the newly confirmed patients required hospitalization and are recovering.
“The new cases are not unexpected, and do not change the state’s approach to the H1N1 flu outbreak,” said Chief Medical Officer Ned Calonge.
The state currently is awaiting CDC lab confirmation on six additional suspect cases of H1N1 virus. These numbers will continue to change as more specimens are received and evaluated. The four confirmed cases are in the following counties: Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson (2).
The new cases are:
- A middle-school aged male from Jefferson County who recently had traveled to an affected area in the U.S.
- A male in his 20s from Jefferson County.
“Of the two new confirmed cases both had possible exposure to travelers having visited Mexico or a part of the country where H1N1 is known to be circulating,” said Calonge. “People who experience influenza symptoms should stay home for seven days after onset of symptoms or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer,” said Calonge. “We are working closely with public health officials in the county where these new cases have been confirmed.”
School Closure Guidance
CDC has recommended that affected communities with laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 virus infection consider activating school dismissal and childcare closure interventions. These community mitigation interventions are meant to be flexible so that local public health authorities, working with their partners in a given state or community can use these tools based on the local situation.
School dismissal and childcare closures are an important part of a comprehensive, layered mitigation approach aimed at reducing disease transmission during the 2009 H1N1 virus outbreak in the United States. According to CDC, school districts must work closely and directly with their local and state public health officials to make sound decisions and implement strategies in a coordinated manner.
CDC’s guidance states that goals of these strategies are to slow the spread of the disease in a community to
- decrease the number of people who get sick from this virus in a given community, thus reducing the “surge” on healthcare systems, and
- reduce the total number of people who get ill.
As public health officials in the United States learn more about this emerging virus, CDC will be reviewing these findings on a daily basis and issuing updated guidance.
The best things for people to do to protect themselves from viruses are:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs.
- Avoid others with respiratory illnesses.
- Stay home if you are sick.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, and the state health department is asking people to be alert for changes in its guidance as it learns more, available on the department Web site at www.cdphe.state.co.us.