Summit student’s flu death touches close to home
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – The death of Bryan Pineda Rosas, an eighth grader at Summit Middle School, was mourned county-wide Thursday, with many students wearing white to school in his memory.
Pineda Rosas, 13, was found unconscious at his home Wednesday died late that day at Breckenridge Medical Center. According to a joint statement from the Summit County Public Health Department and Coroner Joanne Richardson, he tested positive for Type A flu this past Friday. Ninety-nine percent of positive Type A flu-test results are currently thought to be H1N1 influenza. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday; results haven’t yet been released.
Though rumors about swine flu have been circulating, Summit County Public Health Department spokeswoman Michelle Wilson asked the community to stay tuned for more accurate information as it’s released to local media.
“At this point we can’t say the virus has changed in any way, shape or form,” Wilson said. “We expect deaths during typical flu seasons, however tragic. Until autopsy results are complete, we won’t be changing what we’re doing.”
Public health officials said this week that 11.5 percent of local students were absent from school earlier this week due to illness. About 6 percent of sick students reported flu-like symptoms, and 5 percent said they had symptoms involving a sore throat and gastrointestinal problems. Both sets of symptoms have reportedly been connected with the flu.
School district spokeswoman Julie McCluskie said the district is in close communication with the Summit County Public Health Department, and is working hard to communicate with families and students on what to do to prevent the spread of flu. A letter was sent out explaining the death to parents in both English and Spanish.
“We’re taking their direction as well as the State Department of Public Health on what we should be doing,” McCluskie said. “We are not closing school at this time, but we are closely monitoring student absenteeism, and we’ll make decisions with public health’s guidance about what is best for the schools’ kids.”
In the wake of Summit County’s first flu death of the season, locals Thursday were reportedly doing things like buying hand sanatizers and disinfectants, said staff at Safeway in Frisco. One Safeway employee said flu shot appointments were already scheduled into next week.
Helping Bryan’s family
Summit Middle School staff and students are currently collecting note cards and letters for the Pineda Rosas family, McCluskie said. She also said that students, including the SHS soccer team, took it upon themselves to dress in white to honor Pineda Rosas. Students were taking donations for the family at Thursday’s lunch.
“I think both of those activities speak to character, compassion and concern for Bryan’s family,” McCluskie said.
McCluskie additionally said memorial service information for Pineda Rosas isn’t yet available. She will release any information about a memorial service as she receives it.
Pineda Rosas was a boy scout, and Boy Scout Troop 188 of Silverthorne has set up an account at Alpine Bank to assist with the financial aspects of Pineda Rosas’s death, such as a funeral and medical expenses. The account is named “For the Benefit of Bryan Pineda” C/O Troop 188. Deposits for the family can be made at any local branch or mailed to Boy Scout Troop 188 C/O Jennifer Pierson, 498 Vail Circle, Dillon, CO 80435.
“Bryan was a wonderful boy who everyone liked and respected,” said Rae Anne DeBonville, the wife of troop leader Mark DeBonville. “We all just absolutely loved him and are in total shock. … He will be sorely missed.”
La Nueva Mix, the local Spanish radio station, will also host a benefit for the Pineda Rosas family at Shag in Frisco Saturday. The benefit starts at 9 p.m. DJ Erick, as well other Spanish radio DJs, will be the hosts.
According to radio DJ Erick Ayala, Compa Chava, the manager and a DJ from La Nueva Mix, will also be there.
“We’re inviting everyone to come help,” Ayala said.
The Boatyard restaurant in Frisco is also taking donations for the family.
Symptoms of H1N1 “swine” flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, but people with swine flu have also reported runny nose, nausea, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea, said the Centers for Disease Control. Swine flu symptoms appear to be similar to the seasonal flu, and younger people may be more susceptible to the virus. People with flu symptoms should stay home at least 24 hours after all symptoms have ended. People with mild symptoms are advised to stay home and call their doctor rather than going out in public and possibly spreading the virus. For more information on the flu, visit http://www.flu.gov.
Robert Allen contributed to this story. Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.