H1N1 flu death is county’s sixth

THURSDAY, NOV. 5, 2009

Students may be on the mend, absentee rates show

A woman in her 20s died of swine flu Tuesday at a local hospital, the Spokane Regional Health District said Wednesday.

She is the sixth Spokane County resident to die of the virulent strain of influenza, also called H1N1.

The woman had underlying health conditions, said Julie Graham, health district spokeswoman. The district doesn’t release identifying information about swine flu victims.

Besides the six county residents, two others – a baby flown in for treatment from Franklin County and a woman visiting Spokane – died in Spokane County. Kootenai County health officials have reported one flu-related death.

Absentee rates at schools have begun to drop, Graham said, suggesting that fewer children may be sick with the flu. That may be a result of hygiene efforts such as hand washing, vaccinations and the return of kids who have recovered. Hospitals also have reported a slight drop in the number of influenza patients.

Vaccines have been arriving in greater numbers this week at regional health care providers following a nationwide shortage due to production problems.

The health department has appointments available at a vaccination clinic Saturday at the Spokane Valley YMCA. Because of a scheduling glitch, the district reported earlier that the clinic was full.

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