LI health officials: No reason to close schools
More than three dozen Long Island residents have been sickened with the H1N1 virus, according to health officials but there are no plans to close any schools.
More than two dozen city schools are closed and there has been at least one fatality related to swine flu in the state. However, Long Island has not seen any severe forms of the illness. Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Humayun Chaudry says according to state and federal guidelines, schools aren't advised to close unless there are a high number of absences due to influenza-related illness.
?Every county is looking at all of the data sets - school absenteeism, what hospitals are seeing and what doctors are seeing - and taking that information and trying to make the right decision for public health,? Dr. Chaudry says.
Half Hollow Hills Central School District officials say around 8 percent of the students were absent Monday, up from about 6 percent normally absent this time of year. Parent James Goldberg says half his son?s kindergarten class is out sick.
?They touch. They hang,? Goldberg says. ?They play and when one gets sick they all get sick.? The father says he thinks they should close the schools.
Health officials say Suffolk has at least 19 cases and Nassau has 23 confirmed cases. The latest cases confirmed in Nassau County are students from Merrick, Plainview, New Hyde Park and Hewlett.
New York City health officials say they?re looking into whether the death of a 16-month-old boy Monday night was swine flu-related.