Two of four new swine flu cases originate in Palolo Valley - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Two of four new swine flu cases originate in Palolo Valley

William Hauki William Hauki
Charles Naumu Charles Naumu
Ezekiel Hanohano Ezekiel Hanohano

By Leland Kim - bio | email

PALOLO VALLEY (KHNL) - Four new cases of the swine flu have been confirmed Wednesday morning, bringing Hawaii's total to ten, according to the state department of health. Two of the victims, a secondary level student and an elementary level teacher, are from Anuenue Elementary in Palolo Valley.

The department of health says there are no plans to cancel classes.

"The only time we might consider closing a school is if obviously if there was a huge outbreak going on in the school, or the facility were so affected that there weren't enough adult staff to care for the children," said Dr. Sarah Park, the state's chief epidemiologist. "So if there was anything that would compromise the safety of the kids as well as the adult staff at the school, then we might consider a school closure."

Again, the advice is to practice good hygiene habits and wash your hands regularly. If you have a fever greater than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and are coughing or have sore throat, experts advise you to stay home, and notify your primary care doctor. That's the advice given to students and staff at Anuenue Elementary.

Both the teacher and student are at home, recovering from their bout with swine flu, but folks we talked to say they are concerned this is in their neighborhood.

Three hundred fifty students attend Anuenue Elementary in Palolo Valley. The department of health announced Wednesday morning that a student and a teacher here have the H-1-N-1 virus. William Hauki's son attends Anuenue.

"I'm kind of shocked to know that it's here and he goes to this school," he said. "I just dropped him off this morning. I'm totally shocked about it."

School officials say they are taking every necessary precaution to make sure the rest of the school stays healthy.

"There's no major changes to school or department of education policy right now," said Charles Naumu, Anuenue Elementary's principal. "And we will monitor the situation along with the department of health as we are monitoring attendance records along with other records to be sure that our students are safe and families are safe."

This new case of swine flu at Anuenue even has neighbors concerned. In all about 175,000 students attend Hawaii's public schools.

Ezekiel Hanohano lives right next door to the school.

"It's kind of scary. My daughter, she plays right there in the yard," he said. "Just try to keep her away from the school, I guess. Keep her away from the kids playing by the fence."

School officials say they will make sure there are plenty of soap and paper towels stocked, and keep parents informed of what's going on. For now, some parents say that's good enough for them.

"So you'd continue letting your son go to school here?" asked KHNL.

"I would, yeah," said Hauki. "He would definitely come here. Yeah, definitely."

As far as the other two new cases of swine flu, one is a military spouse recovering at home and the other is a Maui resident who contracted the virus in Washington state. That person is recovering there before heading back home to Maui.

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