7 more Coloradans test positive for flu | VailDaily.com

7 more Coloradans test positive for flu

DENVER, Colorado ” Seven more Coloradans have tested positive for swine flu, bringing the state total to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colorado Department of Public Health officials confirmed the number and say more positive tests are expected Wednesday.

Details about the newest patients are not yet available, said Mark Salley, a department spokesman.

The Department of Public Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ned Calonge, says the number of cases reported is “just a snapshot of the cases” that exist in Colorado because many people who contract the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, do not suffer symptoms serious enough to visit a doctor.

“We’re really urging people not to come in” unless they have suppressed or compromised immune systems, Calonge said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the swine flu virus had turned out to be milder than initially feared, but schools are still taking precautions, even as federal health officials recommended Tuesday that schools with reported cases remain open.

But in Colorado, Excel Academy Charter School in Arvada and Park Lane Elementary School in Aurora remained closed Wednesday after students there tested positive for the swine flu earlier this week. Park Lane planned to reopen Thursday.

Calonge said the virus could be affecting a disproportionate amount of young people because “many of us who are a little bit older may have been exposed to circulating H1N1 — there was swine flu in the 1970s.”

Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Corrections is suspending all inmate visits for at least a week as a precaution against swine flu.

Corrections officials say there are no confirmed cases of the flu in the state’s prison system, which houses about 23,400 inmates. But DOC Executive Director Ari Zavaras says the decision to stop inmate visits was made after consulting with Colorado’s chief medical officer.

Attorney visits, parole board hearings and clinic appointments are still being allowed. Corrections officials say they will consider next week whether to resume allowing all visits.