Thursday, April 30, 2009


As of early this week, local health authorities and public officials were keeping a wary eye on the swine flu problem and getting ready to act quickly in case the illness begins to pop up among Starr County residents.

As of Monday, April 16, cases of the illness had been confirmed in five states, including Texas and New York. The virus has been particularly virulent in central Mexico, with well over 1400 confirmed cases and more than 100 human fatalities in that area.

As of Monday, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) was reporting 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States.

Over the weekend, all schools and two district facilities in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, located just northeast of San Antonio, were ordered closed for the time being after two cases of swine flu were confirmed among district students, along with several other possible cases.

As of Monday, no confirmed cases of the illness had been reported in the Rio Grande Valley.

On Monday evening, however, KRGV-Channel Five was reporting that RGCCISD officials and health authorities had made the decision to close Veterans Middle School for the remainder of the week because of two potential swine flu cases among students at that school.

On Monday morning, Starr County Emergency Management Coordinator Gene Falcon emphasized, “We’re trying to focus on screenings and prevention at the hospital, doctor’s clinics, and schools. We’re focusing on basic things like telling people to stay away from large crowds, avoiding contact with sick people, and washing hands with soap and alcohol-based substances.”

Falcon explained, “People should stay home if they’re sick…People should avoid touching their eyes, face, nose, and mouth.”

Falcon indicated that individuals can call 1-888-777-5320 to gain access to more information about swine flu.

Falcon concluded, “If people suspect they are sick and can’t avoid crowds, it is suggested they wear a mask.”

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