Swine flu cases confirmed in Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Swine flu cases confirmed in Honolulu

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Bill Gallo Bill Gallo
Kelly Brown Kelly Brown
Michelle Hebert Michelle Hebert
Amanda Woodwell Amanda Woodwell

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -  Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, has now made its way to Hawaii.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday morning, there are three confirmed cases on the islands.

They all live on Oahu. Two of them are adults and one is described as a school-aged child.  The encouraging news is all three have recovered.

With this latest development, the CDC says it continues to be vigilant.

These are the first confirmed cases of H1N1 virus or swine flu in Hawaii.  Now folks in downtown Honolulu are all taking this in stride and they say it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Downtown Honolulu is one of the busiest places on the island.  Now that Hawaii has three confirmed cases of swine flu, public places like this could be a breeding ground for the H1N1 virus.

"I don't think we have anything to worry about in America," said Kelly Brown, who is a student at Hawaii Pacific University.  "I think we are a very scared country and we always kind of panic in certain situations but I don't think we should."

Now that swine flu or the H1N1 virus is here in Hawaii, what should you know when you're out in public places?   Experts say the most important thing to keep in mind is to maintain at least three to six feet between you and someone else, especially if they're coughing and sneezing.

"If you feel like you're getting sick, please be sure to stay away from others," said Bill Gallo, CDC's senior management official.  "You don't want to go to school.  You don't want to go to work.  You want to stay home until after you get better."

The CDC Tuesday morning reversed its recommendation that schools close for up to two weeks if a student comes down with swine flu.

"I think as time has gone on, they found that maybe the severity that was initially speculated about is not quite there," said Gallo.

Still, the outbreak has forced people to focus more on personal hygiene.

"I wash my hands a lot more now, like 20 times every hour," said Amanda Woodwell, a Honolulu resident.  "No, but I wash my hands a lot now."

"I just really start thinking about what you put in your mouth, like your hands, watch where they are, like what you touch," said Michelle Hebert, who also lives in Honolulu.

But the CDC warns the worst may not be over.  This is a fluid situation, and changes can happen any minute.

"What I'm hearing from the experts is that we still don't really know yet," said Gallo. "There's a lot we need to learn from this outbreak."

Once again the advice is take necessary precautions as you would do during normal flu season, like washing your hands on a regular basis and staying away from people who cough or sneeze.