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Placer County hospitalization for H1N1 rising

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Hospitalizations of H1N1 flu patients are up in Placer County as health officials continue a school vaccine program to fight the spread of the disease among the young. A total of 40 Placer County residents with H1N1 flu have been hospitalized since mid-August. The number has risen each week over the past month, the latest Placer County Department of Health figures show. The median age for those hospitalized is 33. Hospitalizations continue to be low in relation to a disease that is considered by the Centers for Disease Control to be widespread in California and in all but five of the other 49 states. Eight H1N1 hospitalizations were recorded last week in Placer County, up from six the week before. Previous weeks had five and four hospitalized H1N1 patients respectively. The number of deaths from H1N1 flu did not increase. Three people have died in Placer County since the first report of the flu in Placer County last April. Health officials continued to provide free vaccine at schools last week, where absence levels two to three times the norm for this time of year are being reported. A total of 8,409 students had been vaccinated by last Thursday. Another 12,000 students at those schools had not being vaccinated. In the Auburn area, clinics have been completed at Newcastle, Bowman, Auburn Elementary, Rock Creek, Sierra Hills, Weimar, Skyridge, E.V. Cain, Colfax Elementary, Colfax High and Foresthill schools. With the Thanksgiving break, Placer County community health clinics director Mark Starr said that the focus will shift temporarily to vaccinating emergency first responders. When school returns next week, clinics will resume at Ophir, Loomis, Silverado, Antelope Crossing and Creekview Ranch schools. Older students at high schools will be targeted the week of Dec. 7. Clinics are to be held at Granite Bay, Oakmont, Roseville, Woodcreek and Antelope high schools. Placer High School in Auburn will hold a vaccination clinic the week of Dec. 14. Chana High students will also have a chance to be vaccinated at that event. Del Oro and Rocklin high schools will also have clinics that week.