28 students sent home sick, hospital implementing flu restrictions in Hamilton County

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 4, 2016)--  This flu season is relatively mild compared to last year, but this week we are reminded of just how dangerous the illness can be.

In just the past week, the number of flu deaths doubled in Indiana. There have been 19 deaths this season, including 6-year-old Jenna Mosier from Henry County.

Despite glimmers of Spring with a taste of warm weather on the way, we are still in the thick of flu season. Students at Riverside Intermediate School in Hamilton County were hit hard this week. 28 students were sent home Thursday with a stomach virus and other flu like symptoms.

"OK, this is an unusual day a lot of kids are going home. Am I going to be next? That's what I was thinking about all day when six kids were gone out of our class. And I was like I think I'm next," said student Steven Unger.

Deep cleaning of the building was done Friday, and even the buses were wiped down. Now, parents are keeping a close eye on their kids, watching for any symptoms to show up.

"I just wondered if I would get a phone call about my child and if he would be sent home too," said parent Shannon Jones.

Jones says she was pleased with the school's response and the notification that was sent to parents. Meanwhile, the county health department is monitoring the situation.

"A variety of symptoms of children being sent home-- so nothing has jumped up at this point that points to anything in particular. Whether it's a stomach virus or influenza or some other type of illness, we haven't gotten any information that would narrow that down," said Hamilton County Health Department Administrator, Barry McNulty.

Also in Hamilton County, Riverview Health will implement flu restrictions beginning Monday. They released this statement:

"Riverview Health has seen an increase in flu cases in Hamilton County throughout the last few weeks. Due to this increase, we will implement temporary visitor restrictions beginning Monday, March 7 to help protect patients, families, staff and the community from unnecessary exposure.

"Those restrictions include no visitors with flu like illness, fever or cough. No visitors under 16 unless arrangements are made. And no visitors outside of your immediate family, partner or significant other. As for the parents they're being urged to keep their kids home from school if they're showing any symptoms."