Reports of probable and confirmed cases of swine flu have closed at least 14 schools across the Bay Area as educators and public health officials continue monitoring the virus' spread through the region.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has 30 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. The CDC has confirmed 286 total cases in the country.
Schools in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Clara County were closed today to guard against the potential spread of the disease among children and their families.
In Santa Clara County, Rucker Elementary has reopened after a suspected case tested negative, according to public health officials. However, Branham High School, Ruskin, Challenger, and Delphi elementary schools remain closed, according to Belinda Quesada with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Two preschools, Elan Esprit and Sunshine School, are closed because they are located next to closed elementary schools.
The county is still awaiting test results for four probable cases of the virus, Quesada said.
Contra Costa County has reported eight probable cases of the H1N1 virus and closed five elementary schools: Brentwood; Coyote Creek; Highlands; Shore Acres and Lone Tree.
In Alameda County, Malcolm X Elementary School is closed and county officials know of two confirmed instances and one probable case of the virus, said Alameda County Public Health spokeswoman Sherri Willis.
The new probable case is an adult, but Willis said health workers are examining a 26-page printout of test results for about 50 additional specimens and should have more information later today. So far the county has sent in about 120 specimens for testing, she said.
In Marin County, public health officials reported this morning they will reopen Bahia Vista Elementary School in San Rafael after a potential H1N1 test turned out negative. Tamalpais High School remains closed.
San Mateo, San Francisco and Solano County are reporting probable cases, and four confirmed in San Francisco, but no school closures.
Officials say the number of swine flu cases is still evolving. In a briefing this morning, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC said his agency expects "ongoing hospitalizations and additional deaths" across the country as the disease spreads.
He advised people "not to let your guard down, but not to overreact."
Simple measures like washing hands, coughing into sleeves instead of hands, and staying home when you feel sick are the most effective guard against the disease, he said.
So far in the U.S., one infant in Texas has died from the H1N1 virus, according to the CDC. Like the seasonal flu, this strain can have a mild to severe effect on humans. Symptoms are similar to traditional human flu, and include fever, cough, body aches, chills, sore throat and fatigue, according to the CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending a 14-day closure for schools that have students with probable cases of the swine flu.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell is working on a system that will allow people to easily check the status of school closures.
In addition, O'Connell said he plans to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for an executive order to modify or push back dates for certain standardized tests because deadlines for the exams are approaching.