Update No. 28 - Duque Issues Guidelines On Influenza A(H1N1) Response Levels In Schools; 2 New Cases Confirmed Today

H1N1 UPDATE NO. 28Secretary Francisco T. Duque II today brief the media on the Influenza A (H1N1) Response Level System in Schools that will guide the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the decision to suspend classes in relation to H1N1 in the Philippines.

The Response Level System consists of four levels of actions by school administrators based on the national and local situation of confirmed cases and ongoing transmission of H1N1 in the school or cummunity.

"At this time, there is no compelling reason to suspend the opening of classes on Monday, June 1. We only have 16 confirmed cases so far and they are all confined in healt hfaciliteis.  Three have been discharged and have fully recovered.  There is no sustained community level transmission of H1N1 anywhere in the country,"Duque said.

Secretary Duque clarified that the decision to suspend classes is on a case-to-case basis according to the guidelines set by the DOH.

Based on the DOH recommendations and assessment of local conditions, the suspension of classes within a school can be announced by the school administrators concerned if there is already one or more confirmed case of H1N1 (Level 3). AT Level 4, where there is already community transmission, DepEd, CHED and TESDA officials can announce school closure of one or more schools in the affected area.

Prior to creating the School Response Level System for H1N1, the DOH has already issued an interim guideline for school administrators to prevent and control the potential spread of the novel virus in schools. (This Guideline can be accessed at the DOH Website at www.doh.gov.ph)This outlines the steps and preventive measures which must be implemented within school premises which include educating students on H1N1; promoting handwashing, proper cough etiquette and good hygiene among students; ensuring the availability of facilities for hand hygiene and sanitation; organizing infection control teams; and reporting of increasing incidence of influenza-like illness among students, faculty and non-teaching staff.

“We reiterate our appeal to students coming from vacations in countries affected by H1N1 to observe self-quarantine for 10 days or at least 24 to 48 hours after symptoms have resolved if they are ill. We also call on school administrators to give these students special consideration and help them catch up with their missed lessons,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, the DOH today reported two more confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1). One is a 51 year old female and a 21 year-old male who both had a history of travel to the US and arrived in Manila on May 26. Both are Filipinos.

Since May 1, 2009, the DOH has monitored a total of 240 CUOs. Of these, 16 are positive A(H1N1) cases, 19 have pending laboratory results, and 205 are negative for A(H1N1) and have been discarded. There are 29 new Cases Under Observation (CUOs) today.

In their latest report, WHO reported 2,120 new cases and 4 deaths. The new deaths were from Canada, Mexico, and the USA. There are now a total of 15,510 cases and 99 deaths (CFR = 0.6%) from 53 reporting countries. New countries who have a confirmed Influenza A(H1N1) case were Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Slovakia, and Uruguay.