Swine Flu Shuts Down Two Schools

Two Vacaville schools shuttered

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 8:04 AM PDT
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Swine Flu Shuts Down Two Schools

Jodi Hernandez

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School's out at Vacaville Christian High School and nearby Browns Valley Elementary School. But no one is celebrating, because the closures due to a flu outbreak and renewed fears of the H1N1 virus.

A first grader at Browns Valley died Sunday, and tests Thursday afternoon confirmed she had contracted the H1N1 flu strain. Solano County health officials recommended the closure of the school.

Separately, Vacaville Christian CEO Paul Harrell said his school's board made the decision to shut down because of a high number of flu cases and a bad ventilation system. The school has 1,200 students.  At least 43 of them already have the flu. Lots of teachers are sick as well.  District officials say a third of the staff is reporting flu-like symptoms.

Harrell called the school "a petri dish."

Timing could have been worse.  Homecoming was last week.

The sickness comes at a time when thousands of parents across the Bay Area try to get their children vaccinated before the flu comes to their neck of the woods.

 NBC Bay Area found one clinic in Orinda that has a some supply of the H1N1 vaccine. Summit Pedriatric got 700 doses which is not enough for their 3,000 patients.

Before you grab the kids and jump on Highway 24 toward the Caldecott, note all of these doses are spoken for.

If you think that kind of desperation is far-fetched, consider this true story:  A mother in Kern County refused to pull over for speeding because she was on her way to a clinic that had a small supply of the vaccine. Police chased her all the way to the doctor's office with lights and sirens blaring. That woman got her shots, as well as a costly moving violation.

Also Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the release of up to half of California's emergency stockpile of specialized masks so health care providers can protect patients and themselves from the spread of the H1N1 flu.

California's H1N1 response team said it decided to begin deployment of the masks to prevent shortages among health care workers, particularly at hospitals. 

"California has been preparing for a flu crisis for a very long time and with this action we are taking another step to ensure that we are able to fight the spread of flu pandemics like H1N1," Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement.

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