Prison visits suspended in California over N1H1 flu fears

Sacramento BeeMay 3, 2009 

SACRAMENTO — California authorities on Sunday suspended all visits with inmates until further notice after an inmate at a prison in Imperial County, on the border with Mexico, came down with a suspected case of the N1H1 flu.

At the Officer of the Receiver for California Prison Health Care Services, spokesman Luis Patino said Sunday that an inmate in Centinela State Prison in Imperial County was diagnosed as probable for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu.

"The inmate and his cellmate have been isolated, Patino said. "They remain at the prison."

George Kostyrko, spokesman for the state Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said visitations at the state's 33 adult prisons, 6 youth facilities - including two in Stockton - and a small number of community-based facilities would be suspended until further notice.

The suspension of visits came as a northern California school district reversed its plan to close a junior high school for at least a week after health officials reported that a suspected case of the flu turned out to be something else.

The Davis Joint Unified School District had announced Friday that it intended to shut down Holmes Junior High School based on advice from state health officials. But on Sunday, health officials said the student didn't have swine flu afterall and the PTA quickly circulated a message that school would resume Monday morning.

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