Bay Port student dies of complications from flu and strep B

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HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) – A student at Bay Port High School has died from complications caused by a mixture of Influenza A and Strep B.

According to the Howard-Suamico School District, Ava Schmidt died on Wednesday. She was a freshman at Bay Port High School.

The district sent the following letter to the school community:

“Dear HSSD family and staff,

It is with deep sadness that we are sharing with you the news of the death of a student at Bay Port High School.

Ava Schmidt, a freshman at Bay Port High School, died today, Wednesday, December 21, of complications from influenza A. Ava is the daughter of Mike and Katerina Schmidt and the sister of Gabby, a seventh-grader at Bay View Middle School . Katerina is a teacher at Forest Glen Elementary School.

The District respects the family’s request for privacy during this difficult time and is focused on providing support to those affected by Ava’s death.

School counselors and school social workers are available to help our students and staff cope with this loss. To meet student needs, staff will be available in Bay Port or by calling 920-662-7000 on Thursday mornings (regardless of the potential impact of weather on the school day). Classroom teachers in Bay Port, Bay View and Forest Glen will share an age-appropriate message with students Thursday morning about this news. We encourage you to discuss this message with your child at home this evening.

We have some suggestions (linked here) that may be helpful to you as you discuss grief and death with your child. Additionally, Hospice Unit is a non-profit grief counseling organization that will support Ava’s classmates and our students as needed in the coming days, including during winter break.

If you have any questions about your child’s reaction to this loss, please contact us.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ava’s family.”

A GoFundMe has been created for Ava’s family🇧🇷

Ava was the second pediatric flu patient to die in Wisconsin this season.

DHS announced the first pediatric flu death earlier this week. They said the child lived on the west side of Wisconsin.

A pediatric death is defined as anyone under the age of 18.

DHS encourages everyone six months and older to get the flu shot. Initial data show that the vaccine is compatible with current strains. Vaccinations can prevent or reduce the severity of flu symptoms, protecting not only you but those around you, and this is especially a concern with more holiday gatherings coming up. Two out of three people in Wisconsin have not received a flu shot.

“These numbers are several percentage points lower than what we had last year and it’s very disappointing to be honest with you. And this is again one of our meetings, going through the media, it’s really emphasizing the fact that we need to vaccinate people. We need to do what we can to stop the spread of the flu. And we’ve unfortunately seen what complications can lead to during this particular case, in this particular child,” said DHS flu surveillance coordinator Tom Haupt.

You can find information about flu shots by calling 877-947-2211 or visiting https://www.vaccines.gov/ site on the Internet.

Local health officials say people should also try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and RSV.

All three diseases have the potential to be serious for young children, immunocompromised people and older adults.

CLICK HERE for Wisconsin respiratory virus reports.

DHS recommends these additional steps to stay healthy this season:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Stay home and away from other people if you feel sick.
  • Avoid being around other people who are sick or have flu-like symptoms.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and encourage children to do the same.
  • Wear a high-quality mask around other people to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.
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