Grand County spared worst of area flu cases so far |

Grand County spared worst of area flu cases so far

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, CO Colorado

With reports that a significant percentage of school children in Summit and Routt counties have flu-like symptoms and early-season colds, health and school officials in Grand County remain alert.

Kremmling’s West Grand High School Principal Phillip Bonds said his school has seen a small increase in absences in the past two weeks, but it may be attributed to hunting season as well as a variety of ailments, he said.

Kremmling Memorial Hospital and its family practice clinics in both Kremmling and in Granby are seeing increased numbers of influenza-like illness and cases of influenza type A, according to statements released Tuesday, with some cases hospitalized due to the flu.

“But most people are recovering from home, following the recommended self-care treatments,” according to the hospital.

St. Anthony Granby Medical Center’s Dr. Tim Bohlender said he hasn’t yet seen a “big concentration of numbers that are thought to be H1N1,” dubbed swine flu. The clinic has had patients test positive for Influenza A, but hasn’t had a positive in the past month, he said. Some patients are coming into the clinic with mild influenza-like symptoms, but forego testing.

Attendance Secretary at Granby Elementary School Kris Makowski said the school is experiencing the “regular ebb and flow of sick kids.”

At Fraser Valley Elementary, Attendance Secretary Donna Barnes similarly said, “Kids are getting sick the normal amount,” with some stomach viruses, sore throats and common colds. She noted that some illnesses, such as strep throat, are spreading earlier in the season than normal.

The East Grand School District sent out a memo to parents on Sept. 24, informing them of the school’s efforts to monitor and prevent H1N1 as it works closely with the Grand County Public Health Office.

With help from parents keeping children home who experience flu-like symptoms, it is the hope of the Public Health Office and school officials that Grand County can avoid school closures this school year.

According to the Public Health Office, the H1N1 vaccine is due to arrive in the next two weeks and will be administered to people prioritized for being at high-risk of contracting the virus. The same vaccine will be made available to the rest of the public in November or December.

Meanwhile, the regular seasonal flu vaccine is still available at clinics.

“Generally, (the seasonal flu and what’s guessed to be H1N1) is still a mild illness,” said Public Health Nurse Brene Belew-LaDue. “But for those who have underlining conditions, it still can be severe.”

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail