The following is a statement from the Westfield Board of Health:
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has received a report regarding the death of a Union County juvenile and are investigating it as a suspected flu death. While this case is still under investigation, it is important to keep in mind the following steps you can take to avoid the flu:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough;
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth - germs spread this way;
- Stay home from work or school when you are sick.
Residents are encouraged to contact their private physician for guidance if they suspect they have the flu. Those who have the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine) except to get medical care. For more tips on what to do, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm.
While the Westfield Regional Health Department has exhausted its supply of the flu vaccine, there are pharmacies offering the flu vaccine. To find one, go to: Find a Flu Shot Locator . The Westfield Regional Health Department recommends calling the pharmacy first. People can also search online for a local urgent care center. Urgent care centers often have physicians and nurse practitioners on staff who can administer flu vaccine.
Parents who have difficulty locating vaccine for children under 18 may be able to access vaccine at local pharmacy walk-in medical clinics. Pharmacists cannot vaccinate anyone under 18 years of age: however, CVS Minute Clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who may be able to vaccinate the preschool/childcare population. Consumers should access the CVS Minute Clinic website for locations and detailed information about the populations these clinics serve:http://www.minuteclinic.com/.
This story was updated at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday to include comments made by Westfield High School Principal Peter Renwick.
Westfield school district officials confirmed the death of a Westfield High School student Thursday morning.
Westfield schools spokesperson Lorre Korecky issued the following statement on behalf of the district: "The High School was notified today by a family member of the off-campus death yesterday of one of our students. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family, and we respect the privacy of the family at this very difficult time."
A source told Patch the student, believed to be a male freshman, died from complications from the flu but the district had not confirmed that at press time.
"My heart goes out to the student’s family and friends," said WHS Principal Peter Renwick. "Our teachers and counselors are ready to provide support and guidance to classmates as we grieve this loss together."
When asked for additional details, Renwick said any further information released would come through the superintendent's office.
Patch will update this story as information becomes available.