A private school in North Texas closed its campus this week to some of its students following an apparent flu outbreak.
Greenhill School located along Spring Valley Road in Addison canceled classes Thursday and Friday for students in grades seven through 12.
School spokesperson Kerry Shea issued the following statement to NBC 5:
“Greenhill School closed classes in grades 7-12 on Thursday October 27 and Friday October 28 due to excessive absences due to flu-like illnesses among students. The decision was made taken in consultation with Dallas County Health and Human Services in an effort to reduce the possible spread of infection and allow sick students time to rest and recover.”
She said she didn’t have the number of absences but said the number was “high”.
The campus has nearly 1,300 students, according to its website. The school will be open to all classes on Monday, Shea said.
A DCHHS spokesperson said several factors are considered by schools facing outbreaks, including situations where teachers are also sick.
There is no truancy threshold used by officials to determine whether to support a school closure.
“Since the school presented several flu-like cases in several students, the decision was made to close the school and it was done directly by the school district and the school directly,” the doorman said. word of the DCHHS, Christian Grisales.
The county’s latest weekly flu case report shows the total number of confirmed cases remains low in the county, 3.1% for the week ending Oct. 15.
This week, Parkland Hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Chang, told NBC 5’s Bianca Castro that nearly 20 people were being treated at Parkland for the flu.
“It’s low compared to some of the high years before COVID, but it’s actually the highest number since COVID, so we certainly expect this season to ramp up very soon,” Chang said.
With COVID-19 cases rising slightly with the start of the school year and the number of young RSV respiratory disease patients increasing, health officials say closures like Greenhill’s could happen anywhere .
“The first thing is going to be prevention,” Chang said. “Flu. There’s a shot. Go get it.”
HOSPITALS SEEING AN INCREASE IN PATIENTS
A health alert from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday evening warns of a large spread of the flu in the Lone Star State.
On Thursday, Cook Children’s reported that its emergency room and urgent care facilities were overwhelmed with patients who tested positive for influenza and other respiratory viruses.
“We’re seeing numbers that I’ve never seen before,” Dr Maxie Brewer said.
In the emergency department, staff treat 500 children a day, or on average one child every two minutes.
The pediatric ICU is nearly full with about half of patients diagnosed with RSV. Others are testing positive for influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
“Right now we’re kind of seeing an increase in a few of them, which is causing more havoc because we have more patients getting sick and needing beds, unlike years when we didn’t. “We usually only have one virus that is primarily causing the problem,” Brewer said.
Also unlike years past, this increase came well before the holiday season with the number of flu cases already equaling those seen at Cook Children’s at the end of last November.
“As the COVID numbers went down, we stopped using our masks. We really weren’t separating ourselves that much. And so these viruses, because we were wearing the masks, really weren’t reaching the kids. And now that these masks are gone, this virus spreads easily,” she said.
According to the CDC, Texas is one of four states in the country already with a high level of respiratory disease.