The flu might be on the rise in Ellis County, information from the county health department and area clinics indicate.
Hays USD 489 Superintendent John Thissen said Thursday while the district has not seen high incidents like those that caused Oakley USD 274 and Greeley County USD 200 to close schools this week, the district closed the Learning Center, 323 W. 12th, for Friday due to staff and student illnesses.
“Overall we’ve done pretty well, but we’ve had some days,” Thissen said, noting Hays Middle School and Lincoln Elementary have reported high numbers of illnesses in the last couple of weeks.
Ellis County Health Administrator Kerry McCue said while compared to last year, numbers of flu cases at the health department and a couple of clinics he checked with are not as high, that might be starting to change.
“In the last week or maybe even two weeks, we’ve really started seeing more, so we think maybe it might be a little later starting this year than it was the previous year,” he said.
“We don’t know if the maybe the flu shots are a little more on target this year or exactly why that could be, but we are seeing kind of an uptake in the clinics,” he said.
Influenza A seems to be more prevalent this year, he said.
Several large events in town, including the state 3-2-1A wrestling championship and a kids basketball tournament, will bring in many people from different areas of the state.
Oakley, where schools were closed Wednesday and Thursday due to staff illnesses, will bring six wrestlers to the state tournament. Coach Dylan Campbell said while his team members have felt a little under the weather, they are all expected to compete in Hays.
“They haven’t been able to practice as hard as they normally would, but they’re all getting better,” Campbell said.
Campbell said he’s advised his wrestlers to stay away from people with the flu and drink plenty of fluids.
McCue also advises people practice basic good hygiene — wash hands often or use sanitizing hand gels, and cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing.
It’s also not too late to get a flu shot, he said.
“We still have flu vaccine at the department, so if you haven’t got your flu shot, please come and get it,” he said.
The Ellis County Health Department is at 2507 Canterbury and can be reached at 785-628-9440.