Mackay Daily Mercury

Flu cancels sports day

THE Scots PGC College has postponed its two-day athletics carnival scheduled for this weekend after more than 30 students were absent this week with flu-like symptoms.

Principal Michael Harding said the step was a “precautionary measure” to stop the further spread of the flu, but stressed there was no cause for concern despite reports of a confirmed swine flu case in the Warwick area.

“There are about 30 or 40 students away at the moment and I would suspect this is more than usual for this time of year,” Mr Harding said.

The athletics carnival will be rescheduled to a couple of weeks' time.

“Running around in the cold wind would not be ideal,” Mr Harding said.

He said there were no suspicions of any cases of swine flu at the school and was unaware of any students being tested for the virus, but was prepared to take directions from Queensland Health should the need arise.

“We will be advised by Queensland Health of any steps to take should they become aware of any cases but until that time we are not concerned,” Mr Harding said.

Meanwhile, the Daily News has been made aware of at least one more local case of swine flu, but Queensland Health last night refused to release figures of any confirmed cases specifically for the Warwick region.

When questioned about The Scots PGC College cancelling their sports day due to illness and a breakdown of local cases, the Daily News was met with a generic response:

“Wide-scale community social distancing measures such as cancelling mass gatherings are not part of the 'Protect' response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (Human Swine Influenza),” the Queensland Health response read.

“Community and major events as well as travel and tourism generally should continue unrestricted.

“However, people who are vulnerable to serious complications from influenza should reconsider their attendance at such events or any proposed travel as contact with large numbers of people can increase the risk that they come into contact with the infection.”

Queensland Health went on to say parents should keep children at home if they were sick with flu-like symptoms.

“If children are sick it is advised they are kept away from school and other events such as socials and sporting carnivals.The response continued that local or district figures of people with human swine flu were no longer being reported.

“Since the implementation of the 'Protect' phase measures, laboratory testing has been targeted to vulnerable groups and moderate to severe cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection - therefore, the number of confirmed cases is a reflection of cases tested and is not a reflection of the number of cases in the community.”

In Queensland, as of yesterday 73 people confirmed with human swine flu were in hospital with 28 of those in intensive care.

As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases for the Darling Downs-West Moreton region was 395, but an update on the Queensland Health website on Tuesday read “in line with Commonwealth Government practice, Queensland will no longer be reporting numbers of cases”.

Earlier this week Queensland Health said there was no immediate plan to reopen the swine flu clinic in the former Oaks nursing home at Warwick Hospital but it remained an option if there was a sharp spike in local cases of the disease.

More information on swine flu is available from 13 HEALTH (13 432 584), the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au/swineflu/ or the Commonwealth Swine Influenza Hotline on 1802007.



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