The New Mexico Department of Health announced Thursday that a 5-year-old girl from Rio Rancho and an infant from Roosevelt County died as a result of H1N1 influenza, also known as “swine” flu. The Department of Health also states that the children didn’t have chronic medical conditions.
Trinity Olivares, who attended Rio Rancho Elementary, died last Monday. She was the daughter of Michael and Danelle Valdez Olivares. A rosary was held for her last Friday at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, followed by a Mass of Angels.
“She was a gorgeous little girl, a wonderful little girl,” said Suzanne Harper, principal at Shining Stars Preschool, where Trinity was a student for one year.
“We feel really bad and we will miss her,” Harper said. “She was one that helped build the adobe house — she was a really nice little girl and worked with our volunteers — that house will always be there.”
In fact, Harper said, what has been known as the Sensory Garden on the school’s campus will have its name changed to the Trinity Garden.
“Our sympathies go out to the families who are dealing with the loss of their children,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD. “These tragic events should remind all New Mexicans that flu can be a serious and sometimes deadly disease.”
Rio Rancho Public Schools spokeswoman Kim Vesely said a letter was sent home to parents at Rio Rancho Elementary and an automated call went out to parents in the entire district Thursday night.
“We’re terribly sad and our hearts are breaking for the family,” Vesely said.
The letter that was sent out to parents from Rio Rancho Elementary Principal Barbara Bruce stated, “The student was a wonderful, bright child from a wonderful young family. We are heartbroken at their loss and express our condolences to the family.”
The letter goes on to state: “While the death of this child is a tragedy for our schools and community,
deaths from the flu are not unexpected in this year or in any year. In an average year, 36,000 people worldwide die from complications related to flu. Most, but not all, of the people who succumb to this disease have
underlying health issues that contribute to its severity. In this respect, the H1N1 flu behaves very much like the regular flu.
“As we advised parents on Sept. 20, the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting widespread flu-like illness in New Mexico. In Rio Rancho, we continue to see a higher-than-normal absence rate in schools throughout the district. This is a positive development in that it indicates that parents of ill children are keeping their children home when they are sick.
Vesely said the district is following normal cleaning procedures.
“Our custodians are on alert to make sure our
bathrooms are well stocked with soap and towels,” she said. “They’re making sure the desks and door knobs are
wiped down routinely. These are routine proceduresduring any cold or flu season.”
I wish someone would educate the educators on what the meaning of airborne transmission is.. Is it the Air, or the Borne, that you do not understand?