SCHOOLS reporting cases of influenza A (H1N1) among their students have increased Monday, but the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) both said they are on top of the situation.
As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, four more schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) joined the list, according to DepEd-National Capital Region Director Teresita Domalanta.
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The four are De La Salle Greenhills (high school) in San Juan, Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong, and St. Bernadette School and Southridge International School (Grade IV), both in Muntinlupa.
"We have already confirmed the cases in these schools," Domalanta said, adding that school authorities have ordered the suspension of classes to ensure the safety of the students.
Earlier, authorities ordered the suspension of classes at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) School of Medicine as well as the Nursing and Rehabilitation after a student at the College of Medicine and Surgery tested positive for A (H1N1).
UST secretary general Rev. Isidro Abano said the school has cordoned off the Saint Martin de Porres building, which houses the Colleges of Medicine and Surgery, Nursing, and Rehabilitation and Sciences, until June 29.
He said satellite offices of the three colleges will be opened in an adjacent building.
According to Abano, the UST has started an information drive about influenza A (H1N1) inside the campus.
St. Paul's College in Makati City has likewise suspended classes for 10 days starting Monday after many of its students exhibited flu-like symptoms.
Makati City Health Officer Maria Lourdes Salud welcomed the announcement following reports that the city has six confirmed cases of A (H1N1).
She clarified, however, that there is no confirmed case of A (H1N1) at St. Paul's Makati.
On Sunday, Adamson University in San Marcelino, Manila declared suspension of classes for five days due to a confirmed case of the dreaded virus. Their classes will resume on Thursday.
In Cainta, Mayor Ramon Ilagan suspended classes at the Karangalan Elementary school for 10 days starting Monday, after two students out of 43 suspected cases tested positive of the virus.
The local government has also ordered the release of P5 million in calamity funds to be used for the purchase of anti-flu vaccines, face masks, alcohol, and other equipment.
But Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the increase in the A (H1N1) cases could be traced to better reporting and response system among schools.
He said safety measures are already in place to prevent the virus from further spreading.
At the same time, he called for greater public vigilance and awareness of the virus.
Ched Chairman Emmanuel Angeles echoed Lapus's statement and said they are in constant coordination with the management of colleges and universities, which have reported positive A (H1N1) cases among their students as well as with the health department.
The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed Monday afternoon that a 49-year-old woman from Manila who earlier tested positive for the virus has died of congestive heart failure.
As of June 19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a total of 44,287 cases of the illness, with 180 deaths, from 90 reporting countries. (AH/Sunnex)