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Loomis is swine flu free — for now

Residents should continue to take preventative measures
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Loomis, and other Placer County residents, can breathe a short sigh of relief. So far, they have been spared from the swine flu. “We have had no cases of swine flu,” Anita Yoder, Placer County spokeswoman, said Monday. However, it’s best not to be too relaxed about the illness that has stricken people nationwide and throughout the world. The California Department of Public Health reports 69 confirmed cases of people having contracted the H1N1, or swine flu, virus. “The best thing is for people to follow commonsense precautions of washing your hands and avoiding sick people,” Yoder advised. That’s exactly what retired engineer John Gant, of Loomis, said he does. “I wash my hands to protect myself from the flu that comes every year,” Gant said. He is also a believer in flu immunizations. “I’ve taken a shot since 1958,” he said. Gant said he hasn’t changed any of his plans to avoid crowds and exposure to swine flu. Neither has Denise Bahr, a Del Oro High School senior. “The outbreak was far away from us. There’s nothing to be scared about,” she said. Retired nurse Marsha Canales, of Loomis, isn’t concerned either. “What are you going to worry about?” she asked. Carolyn Nichols, Loomis Union School District assistant superintendent, said Monday she is pleased the district schools have been free of swine flu. “Our school community is doing great by hand washing and keeping healthy. Everyone’s being diligent, and we’re just very, very pleased,” she said. Sarena Fairrington, an administrative assistant for the district, said student attendance in the district has been normal. Daily attendance records for the week of April 27 through May 1 show a total of 296 absences due to illness district-wide. During the same period in 2008, there were 242 illness absences. These figures do not include Ophir School and Loomis Basin Charter School, which were added to the Loomis district last year. STAYING HEALTHY There are simple precautions that can be taken to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of disease: • Cover your cough: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash. • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to avoid spreading germs. • If you are sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with other people. • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.