April 30, 2009
Cold Spring, MN USA
DISTRIBUTED FROM SCOTT STASKA, ROCORI SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Wednesday Evening
After consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Governor's office, we have learned that the results of the sample testing have not returned from the Centers for Disease Control. At this time, they are not expected back until either very late tonight or still sometime tomorrow.
Because of the delay in hearing information, we are going to continue to operate with the precautionary direction we took today. Classes at the ROCORI Middle School site will not be conducted tomorrow, April 30, 2009. We will have classes at ROCORI High School, Cold Spring Elementary School, Richmond Elementary School and John Clark Elementary School, but we will NOT conduct classes at the Middle School.
In conversation with Sister Sharon at St. Boniface, the logistical questions involved in our shared programs (lunch, physical education and music) have also encouraged the closing of the St. Boniface site for Thursday, April 30.
We really do not have any additional information to report because the testing process at the CDC has not been completed. All of the information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health indicates that our focus and concern is still contained to the Middle School and that, as a district, we are able to continue to operate our other sites. We still have not had anything identified more than AN INDIVIDUAL from the Middle School site and that, based on their information, the issue should be contained to the Middle School setting.
I know that the entire issue is frustrating and disconcerting. If there were any ability to provide more specific or detailed information, it would help all of us. Unfortunately, in working with a situation like this, it is my understanding that the Department does not, and cannot, provide the level of detailed information about someone involved in a disease investigation. Our best steps are to continue to be proactive, to exercise preventive efforts, and to continue the path we have started.
When we receive any additional information, we are committed to sharing that with you. At this time, however, we operate with the Middle School (and St. Boniface, as outlined) closed on April 30, 2009.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we journey together with the state of Minnesota on this path.
Scott R. Staska
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS RELEASE LATE LAST NIGHT
Rocori Middle School and St. Boniface Elementary School will remain closed
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan conferred with Rocori School District Superintendent Scott Staska and St. Boniface Principal Sister Sharon Waldoch late today. Out of an abundance of caution, they agreed to keep both schools closed until the test results from the CDC are known.
The Minnesota Department of Health also announced today that it has established an H1N1 novel influenza hotline for the general public. Phones will be answered from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-657-3903.
The lab specimen was submitted to the CDC early this morning to be tested for the H1N1 novel influenza virus, also referred to as swine flu. The individual is expected to make a full recovery and did not require hospitalization.
MDH is characterizing the case as “probable” – meaning that the MDH lab has confirmed the virus as type A influenza, but the strain cannot be identified using lab tests available to MDH.
The individual was linked with Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring, which shares some facilities with St. Boniface Elementary. Although any risk to students or staff is regarded as low, the two schools were closed voluntarily by local officials after consulting with state health officials.
At least 91 laboratory confirmed cases of the illness have now been reported in the U.S., most of them in New York, California and Texas. The disease is responsible for the death of a toddler in Texas.
MDH officials are reminding people that they have a role in controlling the spread of infections like influenza. Stay home if you’re sick, cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and limit your contact with people who you think might be sick.
If you have traveled within the past week to Mexico or other areas where H1N1 novel influenza is circulating, and you develop fever along with other flu symptoms, call your health care provider. Tell them about your symptoms and travel history.
For more information on novel influenza please visit the MDH Web site at www.health.state.mn.us or contact your healthcare provider.