As the number of swine flu cases declines across the state and nation, Yale, too, is on the mend.
Reversing its previous policy enacted last fall in response to the H1N1 influenza scare, Yale University Health Services announced Monday that students who experience flu-like illness no longer have to isolate themselves, and meals will no longer be delivered to these sick students.
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“We are back in routine flu care mode,” YUHS Director Paul Genecin said Monday.
The change in YUHS policy follows a decline in flu-like cases since Jan. 4, Genecin said. He said in October that the number of swine flu cases among students would be unclear because YUHS asked any students who showed flu symptoms to stay in their rooms rather than get tested for the swine flu.
Despite the YUHS policy in the fall advising students who exhibited flu symptoms to isolate themselves, by now many students have already recovered from the flu or have been immunized, so there is no longer a need to isolate sick people, Genecin said. As of Monday, 941 undergraduates and 1,044 graduate students had been vaccinated against swine flu, he said.
Now, YUHS recommends that students with flu-like symptoms stay indoors as much as possible, get plenty of rest and drink adequate fluids, according to an e-mail sent to Silliman College students from their master, Judith Krauss.
In addition, the masters of Calhoun and Saybrook colleges and the Timothy Dwight College master’s assistant informed students in those colleges of the YUHS changes in e-mails Monday.
Though there is now a large supply of swine flu vaccine at YUHS, there is no more seasonal flu vaccine left, Genecin said.
According to the Connecticut Department of Health, the number of flu-related emergency room visits statewide, which includes cases of swine flu and seasonal flu, has been declining since December, dropping from 15 percent to 5 percent of emergency room visits. Since Aug. 30, there have been 131 emergency room visits because of flu-like illness in New Haven, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.
The number of reported cases of flu-like illness is also declining nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reported Friday. Nine of 10 regions in the country saw a decrease in flu-related doctor visits during the week of Jan. 10, and no states reported widespread flu activity in the same time period, according to a weekly report from the CDC. The agency also reported that more than 60 million people, or 20 percent of the total population of the United States, have been vaccinated for swine flu.
While flu cases are declining across the country, flu activity is still expected to continue for months, according to the CDC.
The CDC says people who suspect they have swine flu and experience shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden dizziness and severe vomiting should seek immediate medical attention. According to the YUHS Web site, the H1N1 vaccine is now available to anyone who wishes to receive it.