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Flu cases minimal in county

An early flu season has caused several surrounding area schools to see high absentee rates and, in some cases, even close their doors to combat the spread of the virus.

For Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS), however, student’s absence for the flu have been minimal, according to the School Superintendent Robbie Mason.

“We are starting to see a few isolated cases, but not any numbers to cause alarm,” Mason said. “We are still around 10 to 12% absenteeism in our schools, but this percentage includes absences for all reasons, not just illness.”

Mason further said parents are doing a great job of keeping their children at home when they begin to show symptoms and/or receive a flu diagnosis.
CCPS is currently combating the spread  of the virus by deep cleaning student desktops, doorknobs, handrails, and other areas with disinfectant more frequently.

According to Director of Piedmont Health District Dr. H. Robert Nash, as of Friday, Feb. 7, about 6% of the population in the Central Region, which includes the County of Charlotte, has reported cases of the flu.

“Last week we saw 8% of emergency room visits statewide were related to the flu,” Nash said.

Nash says part of the reason this flu season seems particularly rough has to do with the two types of the flu the area has seen and the timing of each type.

According to Nash, this year’s flu season began five weeks earlier than last year, and the primary strain of the virus seen in early December was the B Victoria strain.

“We haven’t seen this strain since 1993, so those born after that year were hit particularly hard because they have never been exposed to B Victoria,” Nash said.

In the past week, the Piedmont Health District has seen the Type A strain take over.

“We are still at widespread levels,” Nash said. “But the numbers are starting to come down. I think we are on the upswing of things getting better.”