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Empire kids back in school after bout with flu

EMPIRE  Schools in Empire were back in session on Monday after students and teachers took the day off on Friday due to flu.

Superintendent Vicki Davison said the number of students absent Monday morning was in the "normal" range after spiking last week. On Thursday, after more than 20 percent of students at Empire Elementary missed school for the second day in a row, Davison made the decision to cancel school on Friday. A number of teachers and their family members also were sick with flu and flu symptoms like sore throat and stomach ache, prompting Empire to close and plans for thorough cleaning of school facilities over the weekend.

Davison said she was hopeful that routines would get back to normal this week.

Flu remains a concern in Stephens County, however. According to the Oklahoma Department of Health, the current rate of flu hospitalizations in Stephens County is higher than the state's rate, which exceeds the national average. Nationwide, the flu hospitalization rate last week averaged 31.5 cases per 100,000 people. In Oklahoma, the rate stood at 36.5 per flu per 100,000 residents. The current rate recorded for Stephens County was 44.9 hospitalizations per 100,000.

Other counties in the area with rates higher than the state's average included Tillman (66.5 hospitalizations per 100,000); Jackson (35.2); and Grady (54.9). The county with the worst case of flu reported in the state last week was Johnston County, with a hospitalization rate of 136.6 cases per 100,000.

The Lawton Constitution

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