MONDAY, Nov. 2/09 (Continued)


SENIOR = EESS 50-35 over CECI; JUNIOR = EESS 48-20 over CECI


(From Laura McLachlin, Director of Health Protection Dept., Elgin StThomas Health Unit in response to questions submitted)

The majority of Elgin County schools have seen an increase in absenteeism related to influenza like illness.  It is not unusual to see school absentee rates climb at the start of a flu season, be it seasonal flu or the current pandemic flu.  It is very typical to see influenza predominantly in children first and then to see it spread to adults and the older populations.  School absentee rates have been a good barometer over the years to provide some early warning that flu season is upon us. The absentee surveillance information we are receiving from schools this year is much more extensive and comprehensive than other years.  School absentee rates need to be divided between absences related to illnesses such as influenza and other respiratory illness commonly seen at this time of year, and absences for other reasons. In the voluntary parental reporting of children being absent with symptoms of influenza like illness I would estimate that approximately 11% of children attending schools in Elgin County have been absent with influenza like illness over the last couple of weeks.  Our normal threshold of concern is about 10%.  It is likely that many, but not all, of the absences due to influenza like illness are related to the H1N1 flu virus.  A good link for self assessment of influenza illness is now up and running at –

In terms of the long line ups at our first clinics last week, the lineups were significantly shorter by the end of the week.  I cannot safely predict how long the lineups will be in Aylmer this week.  Many people from East Elgin have come into St. Thomas clinics already.  I suggest people plan on needing about one hour minimum to get through the registration, immunization and recovery phase.  We will be in Aylmer for two consecutive days this week which may help to spread out the crowds a little.  I hope people are not deterred by a line up as it actually does move along quite nicely.  We have increased staffing at the clinics and we do not anticipate extending the hours at this time.  Given the recent reporting of vaccine supply shortages in the next week, we will continue to provide immunization for high priority groups only.  This includes people under the age of 65 years with chronic health problems, health care workers, children between the ages of 6 months and up to five years, pregnant women, and people who provide care to someone who cannot be vaccinated, such as parents of a newborn under the age of 6 months.


Aylmer – Aylmer Police report that the Hallowe’en weekend was mostly uneventful; a complaint about some eggs tossed and a rocking chair (apparently unoccupied by either someone dead or alive!) stolen from a porch being the main items the police dealt with.


(See previous posts on this topic. Schools were asked about absenteeism and preventative measures)

1-Summers Corners (Principal Avril Saunders-Currie):

“Given the time of year and the busy lives of our students i.e., doctors and dentist appointments and family obligations, as well as the change in season, our attendance has been as expected.  We cannot say that all absenteeism is flu related.

To answer your second question, we are following the protocols as directed by the Board to keep our school community informed with communication sent home and other directions for flu prevention such as posters in various locations, new liquid soap dispensers, and alcohol based hand sanitizers placed in the main office and the library.”

2-Springfield Public School (Principal Marina Lee)

“We have experienced an increase in absenteeism among students and staff reporting flu like symptoms.  The Thames Valley District School Board, along with other school boards, have been providing local public health authorities with detailed attendance records from every school across the district. Parents can assist by identifying whether their child has flu-like symptoms when they call the school attendance line to report an absence. However, parents are not required to do so. Parents have been very diligent at keeping children home if they are feeling ill. We take direction from professionals at the Elgin/St. Thomas public health unit. We have sent out communications from the Board as well as the public health unit on the latest information about H1N1, including symptoms and prevention. You are invited to visit our board webpage for further information at The Board has installed liquid soap dispensers in all washrooms and in all classrooms equipped with sinks. The Board installed hand sanitizers in well-supervised areas such as the main office and library. Staff from the public health unit have visited the school to demonstrate proper handwashing techniques to our Early Years students and a poster issued by our Board outlining “5 Simple Steps to Keep you and Me Healthy” has been placed throughout the school to provide further information. Staff are also reviewing flu prevention practices with students.”

3-Port Burwell Public School (Principal Tina vanderWallen-Howey):

“During the week of October 26th we had a lot of students and staff away with flu like symptoms.  Attendance has improved this week.

Hand sanitizers are available in the main areas of the school.  Teachers have spoken to their students about coughing into their elbow or sleeve and the importance of washing their hands.  Notices have been sent home regarding H1N1 and its prevention.  A letter from Bill Tucker, Director of Education, regarding H1N1 is included in the month’s newsletter.”


-A RIDE program was conducted on October 28 in conjunction with the Elgin OPP on Talbot St East, 300 drivers were stopped and 4 headlight warnings and an insurance offence were issued.

-A 35-year old Malahide male was arrested for Breach of Court and Probation Orders after he was seen in the vicinity of his former common law wife’s property on Forest St. last night contrary to court directives.

-Police are looking for a male suspect, believed to have fled the province, after an Aylmer man discovered that a new credit card he had ordered had already been activated by a male he was allowing to live with him. Although the credit card had not been used, the victim found that several personal cheques were also missing and $600 had been cashed and $100 in cash was also missing.


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