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Swine Flu Spreads, More Schools Close

By WNYC Newsroom

May 19, 2009

The front steps of I.S. 238, the Susan B. Anthony Middle School, after one of the school's assistant principals, Mitchell Wiener, 55, died of complications related to the H1N1 swine flu virus over the weekend, the city's first fatality related to the outbreak, and the nation's sixth. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The front steps of I.S. 238, the Susan B. Anthony Middle School, after one of the school’s assistant principals, Mitchell Wiener, 55, died of complications related to the H1N1 swine flu virus over the weekend, the city’s first fatality related to the outbreak, and the nation’s sixth. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Twenty-six schools in New York City have been shut down because of swine flu concerns. For the latest information on how swine flu is affecting New York City’s public schools, you can visit the Department of Education web site and a list of schools is provided at the end of this post.

New York health officials are looking into the death of a 16-month-old toddler who was taken to a Queens hospital with flu-like symptoms. Elmhurst Hospital Center said the little boy had a high fever when he was brought in last night.

On Sunday, a public school assistant principal, Mitchell Wiener, became the city’s first swine flu death. Hospital and city officials say complications other than the virus probably played a part in Wiener’s death. But his family has said he suffered only from gout, a joint disease.

The city is increasingly encouraging people in certain health categories to get medical help – and even go to the hospital — if they think they have swine flu. For weeks, Mayor Bloomberg and health officials discouraged most people from heading to emergency rooms. But following the flu death of Wiener and the possible flu death of the 16-month old, Bloomberg says people shouldn’t be shy about getting help.

“If you have an underlying medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, and you have a fever with either a cough or sore throat, see your doctor immediately for medical treatment.”

Health officials say they are assembling a statewide system for tracking sick students amid the H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak. This follows concerns raised by Governor Paterson who’s worried about the lack of a centralized system that could help detect flu cases earlier.

Mayor Bloomberg announced his selection of Dr. Thomas A. Farley – a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and expert in public health policy – as the city’s new head of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mayor Bloomberg announced his selection of Dr. Thomas A. Farley – a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and expert in public health policy – as the city’s new head of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Swine flu is also spreading at Rikers Island. Mayor Bloomberg says there are four confirmed cases of the virus at the prison complex, and at least four more probable cases. The mayor says authorities can’t evacuate the jail, but steps are being taken to try and prevent the illness from spreading.

“It is in some senses easier to control because obviously the prisoners can’t leave, on the other hand it’s also a confined area where we really don’t have the choice to move people to areas and ask them to stay home.”

Public schools closed (according to the Department of Education)

* IS 238Q - reopening Friday, May 22
* PS 16Q - reopening Friday, May 22
* P255 (located at PS 16Q) - reopening Friday, May 22
* IS 5Q - reopening Friday, May 22
* JHS 74Q - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* PS 107Q - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* MS 158Q - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* IS 25Q - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* World Journalism Preparatory (located at IS 25Q) - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* PS 233 (located at IS 25Q) - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* IS 318K - reopening Tuesday, May 26
* PS 19Q - reopening date TBD
* PS 32Q - reopening date TBD
* PS 209Q - reopening date TBD
* P9 (located at PS 209Q) - reopening date TBD
* P.S. 130
* P.S. 35
* Merrick Academy Charter School

Private and charter schools closed:
* Holy Family School
* Horace Mann School
* Our Lady of Lourdes School
* San Demetrios School in Astoria (Reopens Tuesday, May 26)
* South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts in Mott Haven (All three locations reopen Tuesday, May 26)
* St. David’s School
* St. Joseph School
* The Child Legacy School on Roosevelt Island

Comments

Comment from Providencia
Date: May 19, 2009, 9:57 am

I was watching the news last week when Mayor Bloomberg misinformed the public in references to the swine flu not being a problem by that statement youngerst think parents are over-reacting when we parents tell our children of health hazardous precautions . Yes we do have a problem that even a blind individual can see. Mayor Bloomberg needs to stop the “shu!shu” thing and keep it real with society.

Sincerely ,
Providencia Lopez NJ

Comment from julio
Date: May 19, 2009, 1:25 pm

Check http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ for reliable information.

Comment from Jesse
Date: May 20, 2009, 2:48 am

I am one of the New York “unreported cases” of someone who was quarantined for over a week & treated for the swine flu. By “unreported” I mean the hospital could/would not test me as the CDC does not allow testing a healthy 36 year old woman who had not been in Mexico. According to my MD., in order to be tested you must be in a high health risk health category: HIV/diabetes, 65+, or under 10. I was also told the testing is inaccurate and therefor not worth it. To this end, I am not a statistic. Mayor Bloomberg says “people shouldn’t be shy about getting help”, which is a far cry from what he told NYer’s last week. Those in New York (as of May 18th) who have 102+ temps with flu are simply told NOT to go to the hospital. Why should they if they’ll not be tested and therefore not receive treatment? Yet, this 3 week flu that I am experiencing has exacerbated my VERY MILD asthma to the degree that I can’t walk two blocks without having an asthma attack and I’ve been to the ED 3 times already for this. I can not stand long enough to cook dinner. For the record, until 3 weeks ago I was a highly active full time student. If you have the flu, do not believe the statistics & get help.

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