H1N1 cases almost doubled since last week

St. Thomas health officials reported 60 cases of H1N1 Wednesday, almost double the 32 cases reported last week.

Madonna McDermott, director of the Student Health Service and Wellness Center, published the figures on the university’s pandemic planning Web site.

According to McDermott, the number of new cases range between one and 13 per day, and the majority are from students who do not live on campus. McDermott added that no distinct clusters of cases have been noted.

On-campus flu clinics ran for several days at St. Thomas’ Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. The H1N1 vaccine is expected to arrive in Minnesota in mid-October and will be offered to students once it arrives. But some health officials fear that not enough H1N1 vaccine will arrive in time for Minnesotans.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he’s “afraid too little vaccine is going to get here before the peak hits.”

Students are urged to continue measures such as diligent hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing and staying away from sick people.

Students experiencing typical H1N1 symptoms can self-report their illness at the pandemic planning Web site.

Brent Fischer can be reached at bafischer@stthomas.edu