STAWELL has been hit by an influenza outbreak with cases that appear to be more severe and longer-lasting than in previous winters.
Eventide Homes remains in lockdown, due to a number of Eventide Homes residents having reported influenza flu-like symptoms.
Almost 30 per cent of the residents in the 100 bed hostel have been affected by the illness and a number of staff members have also been affected, which highlights the risk when dealing with contagious diseases.
Clinical and Lifestyle Manager Ms Erica Bostock said the hostel was following government advice.
“As guided by the Victorian Health Guidelines, we have increased hygiene measures and isolated affected residents,” she said.
“We would appreciate and encourage Visitors and Family members to limit visits during this period.”
Stawell’s schools have also been hit by the outbreak, with both staff and students spending more time absent than was normal with the common cold.
Stawell Secondary College principal Nick Lynch said the situation was ‘crazy’ but had not reached the level seen in Ballarat, where some schools had about half their students absent on a single day.
“It’s affecting staff and students indiscriminately,” Mr Lynch said.
“The thing we have noticed is that compared with last year it is actually taking a lot longer to get over it.
“I’m not a doctor, obviously, but that suggests to me that it is more severe. The longer absent time period is the critical factor here that suggests people are getting quite ill.
Mr Lynch said the school was doing what it could to prevent the spread of the flu.
“We’re having sheltered rooms for lunchtime for the students who wish to be inside, and we are ensuring that basic hygiene is maintained,” he said.
“That is having soap in the toilet and tissues available, that kind of behavior so that we can minimise the spread of germs.”