Schools, senior care centers battle influenza

7:55 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The people most at risk to come down with this season's influenza strain are the elderly and young children. It's why metro area schools and senior care facilities are taking extra precautions.

"We have a large complex with multiple activities going on," said Duane Larson, campus administrator at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington. "We do not have an outbreak in our community, but taking care of our seniors is a significant concern."

Two cases were confirmed at the center last week and staff at the senior living facility acted swiftly. Signs are in place in high traffic areas alerting visitors and residents to be vigilant and to wash hands.  Staff are also stepping up cleaning techniques, wearing masks in some areas, and asking family members not to visit if they're experiencing signs or symptoms.

"We also did some isolation techniques like delivering food to their rooms and limiting public activities," says Larson. "We've even asked large groups of visitors to reschedule."

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 28 nursing homes have seen outbreaks of the influenza in early January. An outbreak is described as a facility seeing three or more cases.

At Providence Academy in Maple Grove, school nurses make sure students, staff, and parents are advised.

"We put out a message to stay home if you're sick, cover you're cough, and wash hands." says Maureen Murphy, the school's nurse. "Also, don't share drinks. You can spread the flu 24 hours before you have symptoms."

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